Terrell Stoglin scored more points, 2,911, than anyone in the history of Tucson boys prep basketball. But it wasn’t until he led Santa Rita High School to the 2010 state championship that he was able to put it in proper context.
“This feels like heaven,” he said on Feb. 27, 2010, after Santa Rita held off Amphi in a tense finish at the Toyota Center in Prescott.
For Stoglin, it was a case of heaven can wait. Santa Rita had lost state championship games in 2007, 2008 and 2009 before beating Amphi in his final high school basketball game.
He then went to Maryland and led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring, averaging 21.6 points per game as a sophomore, before leaving the Terrapins and turning pro.
Stoglin, who is No. 87 on our list of Tucson’s Top 100 Sports figures of the last 100 years, turned pro and then some. Now playing under the name Terrell De Von Stoglin, has played in the following 14 countries:
Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. He once scored 74 points while playing for Sagesse Sports Club in Lebanon.
In a Q&A last week, Stoglin gave his thoughts on what has become a unique pro basketball journey:
Are you playing as well now than at any time in your career?
A: “I would say yes, and it’s because of the inner peace that I have now. Basketball used to be who I am. Now it’s what I do. With that comes peace. If I lose, I don’t think I’m a failure now. I’m not concerned about, ‘Who’s gonna like me? Are they still going to scrutinize me? Can I go to the NBA?’ I just play my game and leave it at that.”
Even though you’re not searching for validation, how does it feel to know that — coming up on 10 years as a professional — you’re still improving and making headlines?
A: “At the end of the day, it does feel good. Being a competitor, you have to have ultimate confidence. So if you make a certain shot or you’re really putting it on a team, you say to yourself, ‘I put in the work. This is what I’m supposed to do. I deserve this.’ There were a couple of games where I had five points at halftime and couldn’t make a shot, and then I end up with 40. It’s all persistence and heart.”
Of all the countries you’ve played in, which did you most enjoy?
A: “They all have significance and I was there at different parts of my life. I’ll say Lebanon because my son, Azier, was born there. He was born in Byblos.” (Azier is now 5 years old and plays youth basketball in Tucson.)
“Italy is the place where I’ll always have memories of understanding that I’m not in the U.S. That’s when it hit me. They don’t even sell fettuccine out there. They laughed and said it’s an American thing. Just all those small things that let you know this is really different living.
“I was in Varese, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. Switzerland was about 10 minutes away from my backyard, 30 minutes away from Milan. It was gorgeous. There were times I would be driving and I would pull over my car, stand outside and just soak it all in. Like, ‘No way.’”
Which one had the best, top-flight competition?
A: “I’ll have to say Greece. Athens, Greece, my first year, that was like ‘Welcome to manhood, kid.’ I would tell the ref ‘That’s a foul!’” They’d just say, ‘No, it’s not. Man up.” Greece, any place in Africa, like Egypt, and also Venezuela. The players were very physical and fast. That’s a deadly combination.”
How often are you able to get back to Tucson?
A: “During COVID, I was based in Phoenix and Tempe to work out with other pros. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we would all get together and play at Inspire. (Former ASU standout) Ike Diogu actually sets that up for us. We’re up there with (former Arizona center) Loren Woods and other guys who get together and play.
“Loren Woods was my teammate in Bahrain. I told him, ‘Bro, I used to go to your games when you played for the UofA and I was a child.’”
You’re back in Morocco now. What’s next for you?
A: “I’m looking forward to what this next year brings. Every day is a new challenge. In this industry, you could be up one day, down the next. You could get a phone call and your whole life changes. I have no say in that. I never get too high, never get too low.”
Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at 520-573-4362 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @ghansen711