Malibu High Sharks basketball player Dean Furlong will be dribbling, passing, and shooting on the college hardwood next fall.
The 6-foot-6 senior wing player announced he will play college basketball at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Furlong said becoming a member of the Gryphons men’s basketball team fulfills his objectives on the basketball court and educationally.
“Academics are a really big focus for me, and I think Sarah Lawrence meets a lot of my needs,” he said. “Sarah Lawrence is a great academics school and has a great reputation around the country. An opportunity to go there for school is amazing.
“On the basketball side of things, my family and I made a connection with all the coaches. We like what they are trying to build there as a program, and I wanted to be a part of it moving forward.”
The Gryphons are a NCAA Division III team that compete in the Skyline Conference, a group of 12 colleges in the New York metropolitan region. The Gryphons finished their 2021-22 season in February with a 8-17 record.
Furlong helped lead the Malibu High basketball team to a 17-7 record this season and semifinal berths in two CIF postseason tournaments. He was selected to the All-Citrus Coast League’s first team and named to the All-CIF Southern Section team last month.
Throughout the season, Malibu coach Richard Harris said Furlong and senior Cameron Nwede were Malibu’s top players. He called Furlong the Sharks’ best playmaker and defender.
Perhaps his favorite time as a Malibu basketball player, Furlong said, was senior night his junior year. His friends and teammates a grade ahead of him were being honored and it was the first time since the start of the COVI-19 pandemic that Malibu had fans in the stands of its home gym. Then senior guard Armen Santizo swished seven 3-point shots en route to Malibu’s win over Hueneme.
“To see him accomplish that was such a special moment for me,” he said. “To be able to see the group I had grown up with and looked up to as a kid get their moment in the spotlight was great. That night was really special for me.”
Furlong’s father Larry Furlong was Malibu’s head coach during his freshman and sophomore seasons and an assistant coach the past two campaigns. The younger Furlong will always cherish the time he spent wearing a Malibu uniform.
“To have that opportunity play with the kids I grew up with and play for Coach Harris and my dad, is such an honor to look back on and see how blessed I have been,” he said.
Furlong has played basketball since he was a fourth-grader. The now 18-year-old said it is hard to count the amount of nights he spent in the gym alone working on his skills, but noted he has a lot of work to do in order to be successful in college basketball.
“The work isn’t even close to done yet, I have a lot ahead of me,” he said. “There is a lot of shooting and a lot of eating and working to get my body right is the main thing going forward. There are a lot of guys with skill that graduate high school and they aren’t ready to compete at the next level because their physicality is off.”
Furlong said he wants to win a lot in college, be a good teammate, a leader, and graduate with a degree in hand.
“I want to do what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I want to put my all into something and know that I got back what I put in.”
Furlong is ready to play on a college court.
“It’s something I had love for as kid and to be able to continue that into early adulthood is an honor,” he said. “It’s something I’m excited for but I know going to college is a huge step going forward. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m excited for it.”