It has been a while since hearing the name DJ Horne. We first got a chance to watch Horne in action way back in 2016 at Leesville Road, as he and Jalen Benjamin were teaming up on the court. We then got a chance to watch him in action at Cary High School and then at Trinity Christian, both places in which he thrived.
He averaged double-digits at both schools and always seemed to help his team in the win column. One of the last moments we got a chance to watch Horne was at the John Wall Invitational, where he was named to the all-tournament team. Rick Lewis had this to say after his performance.
“The Illinois State signee simply had a superb all-around game, but his defensive intensity down the stretch was key. No matter the game, no matter the setting, DJ Horne will bring effort, energy, enthusiasm, and emotion to the game and take it a step further, he’s just a winner on the court.”
Now, he is bringing that same mentality and winning attitude to Illinois State.
As a freshman, he was named to the MVC All-Freshmen team after averaging 8.7 points per game, scoring in double-figures in 14 games last year early on.
Now, he is stepping up as a leader on the court as a sophomore, as the 6’1 guard from Raleigh is averaging over 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. In speaking with Jim Benson, a sportswriter from The Pantagraph (who covers Illinois State basketball), he has seen growth in his game from last year in which he played more point to where he is now, getting a chance to show more of his scoring ability.
“DJ was moved to the point last year on a full-time basis for the first time in his career,” Benson told Phenom Hoops. “He had ups and downs like most freshmen. More is expected of him this year from a scoring standpoint and he won’t be on the ball as much to facilitate that. He’s struggled a bit early this season but had his best game against Chicago State with 22 points. Illinois State needs DJ to be a consistent scorer during MVC action to reach its potential.”
“DJ has gotten stronger with a full year of weight program under his belt,” Benson continued when asked about his growth. “He’s able to get inside the lane easier this year and needs to do that more in order to get space from defenders on the perimeter. With several newcomers in rotation, DJ and the Redbirds are still learning how to play with each other with a limited preseason and no scrimmages/exhibitions.”
Horne has really exceeded many expectations that were set upon him even back in the day but you can chalk up another HoopState prospect making an impact at the college level.