Hazard Zet Forward: Damian Chong Qui

Damian Chong Qui may not be a household name.  In fact, he may not even be a name most college basketball fans are familiar with.  Although Chong Qui stands at 5’8, a below average height for the modern day basketball player, his story shows how big a person he really is and why more people need to hear it.

Damian grew up in Baltimore, a city known for its high violent crime rate.  When Chong Qui was only four years old, his mother, Lisa Brown, was murdered.  This left his dad, Edward Chong Qui alone with a son to raise.  Edward decided to bring Damian to Trinidad to visit his side of the family for a year.  However, Edward’s family wanted Damian to stay while Edward went back to the States, but Edward refused to leave his son.

Edward and Damian returned to Baltimore; this is when Damian’s love for basketball took off.  Damian became very invested in the game after his father played in multiple leagues around the city and Damian came to watch all of his games.  Paired with this, Damian’s X-factor was his relentless effort to get better.  Although he was almost always the smallest guy on the court, Damian’s passion and hard work put him above his peers.

When Damian was just twelve years old, he went through a second tragedy during his young life.  His father was shot seven times in the back, causing him to be paralyzed.  Now, a young, motherless Damian Chong Qui was required to look after his father.  Although this proved to be hard for Damian and his grandmother, they learned to persevere and eventually implemented this new obstacle into their everyday lives.

Standing at 4’9, high school freshman Chong Qui earned the starting gig on his high school’s varsity team.  He retained this varsity role in all four years of his high school career at McDonogh High School in Owings Mills, Maryland.  Although he grew almost a foot during high school, college coaches were slow to recruit Damian.  Being 5’11 was nowhere near what most colleges wanted their players to be.  However, Chong Qui got his chance as a walk-on recruit for Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

This year, Damian Chong Qui led Mount Saint Mary’s to their first March Madness appearance since 2017, where they fell to Texas  Southern 60-52.  Although Damian is looking to transfer out of being a Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineer, his impact and story have made him a school legend.  From the start, Damian had huge odds stacked against him.  However, he is yet another example of what it means to “Hazard Zet Forward.”  Chong Qui overcame numerous difficulties and hardships before he was thirteen years old that most people won’t ever experience.  However, he persevered and succeeded in following his dreams to play basketball on the collegiate level.