Tuba City native propels Del Norte team to state playoffs
When Ronson Begay moved from Tuba City to the big city of Albuquerque, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
He lived his entire young life on the Navajo Nation, but was ready for a change, so he and his mother packed up their things and headed east.
“I wanted to try something new and get off the reservation, to explore,” he said.
His exploration led him to Del Norte High School, where he became a standout basketball player on the basketball team.
In just two seasons, Begay, the only Navajo on the team, found a place with the Knights and helped them to a Final Four finish in the 2017 U.S. Bank State Basketball Championships at the University of New Mexico WisePies Arena also known as The Pit.
Begay said he never dreamed taking the risk to play basketball in the city would lead him to The Pit. Del Norte had the No. 13 seed and fell short to No. 1 Roswell, 77-46.
“We had a lot of upsets throughout the bracket and I’m proud of how we played,” he said. “Last year I was a starter and we made it to the first round, but we lost to Roswell.”
Begay had only five points in the game, but put in significant minutes.
Del Norte first-year head coach Jeron McIntosh said Begay saw a lot of game time this season.
He said Begay was still running for the cross-country team when the basketball season started, so he didn’t know of him. However, everyone did and made sure the new coach was aware of Begay’s athletic talents.