Deo’Vion “Bop” Tucker gears up to play basketball at Mercer

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Deo’vion Tucker, known more commonly as “Bop” has been a leader for the Troup boys basketball program the last several years and the recent graduate will be hard to replace. His dynamite play at the point guard position sparked the Tigers’ offense to life time and again. While his time leading the Tigers has come to an end, Tucker’s basketball journey is just getting started as he prepares to play at Mercer University starting in the fall.

“I took an unofficial visit to Mercer last season, and it felt like a loving and welcoming environment,” Tucker said. “They gave me a full tour of the campus and the dorms and everything, and it just felt like home.

“I bonded with the coaches instantly there.”

Tucker has come a long way since he earned the “Bop” nickname as a child because of his affinity for “Baby Bop,” a character of the hit children’s show Barney. As he got older, he dropped the baby part, but the nickname “Bop” stuck.

Tucker was not a day one starter for the Tigers. He had to earn his starting position which also came with a little luck. When some veteran players on the team went down with injuries during his sophomore season, Tucker stepped in and never let go of the reins.

“It was the middle of my 10th grade year when a couple of seniors went down, and I had to step up and be the best leader I could be,” Tucker said. “I was a little nervous at first, but it was exciting.”

Tucker is a crafty point guard, who looks to get his teammates involved but can also create his own offense with his quick footwork and lightning-quick release.

“I feel like my strengths on the court right now are my IQ and play style,” Tucker said. “I’m not a regular point guard. I can facilitate for the team, but I can score and be a playmaker.”

Tucker has been a point guard his entire life, and enjoys the responsibility of running an offense. 

After spending the last couple of years as a leader for Troup, Tucker plans to take all of what he has learned at Troup to the next level.

By far the most influential player for a Tigers team that struggled some this season, Tucker stayed even keel through it all. 

“For me, it was all about keeping my teammates together,” Tucker said. “As a leader, I wanted to make sure that they were in the right place mentally and physically.” 

Troup’s boys basketball team did not do a lot of winning when Tucker was in the fold, but it was through no fault of his own. He was often the only offensive spark on those teams. 

Despite people telling him he would have more success at LaGrange, a transfer was never an option for Tucker. Troup felt like home to Tucker, and there was no chance that his mind was going to change.

“I’ve always been a Tiger at heart,” Tucker said. “I grew up watching Troup basketball, baseball and football games. My mom and a lot of family members went to Troup. I always wanted to go to Troup.”

Despite a coaching change heading into his senior season, Tucker’s game did not suffer in the slightest. Instead, his game was elevated as new coach Jairo Gay completely trusted him to run the offense. Tucker was first on the team in scoring with over 12 points per game and assists with nearly three a game. 

Even though Tucker’s time in blue and gold has ended, he is looking forward to seeing the program return to form.

“I can feel the program is starting to turn around,” Tucker said. “They are learning the coach’s system, and you can see that we started playing better last season.”