Senior graduate student, Deshaun McFadden is not only a familiar face in the arena, but also on the football field. The current Fortnite player is not only a Esports competitor. He also serves as a graduate assistant coach for the first year football program on campus. Originally recruited to play for Coach Hester and the Bulldogs, Deshaun has since then stepped into the coaching role. “Being able to sit back and watch it now is just giving me more love and appreciation for the game” said McFadden.
Deshaun began his college football career at North Carolina A&T, where he led the Aggie’s freshman core in receptions with 8 catches and 1 touchdown in 2016. His longest reception came against Florida A&M on October 29, 2016 when he had a catch for 20 yards in a win over the Rattlers 42-17.
Following that, McFadden move back home to Rock Hill, South Carolina, and attended Winthrop University before transferring to Barton to continue his career in football. With having ties to Coach Hester when he coached at North Carolina A&T, McFadden sat down with Hester and discussed an opportunity to serve on the coaching staff while he completes his masters degree in Business Administration.
The 23 year old has enjoyed his experience since stepping foot onto Barton’s campus. “Once I got here my first semester, I knew I would stay because of how much I liked everybody I was meeting” said McFadden.
McFadden was first introduced to video games when he was 11. He remembers playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare with is cousin and immediately being hooked. “A lot of people don’t understand when you play it, it’s more than just playing a game,” said McFadden “because a lot of funny stuff happens on the game.”
While McFadden competes on the esports team he hopes to change the image of not only the esports team but esports in general. “A lot of people think if you’re on the esports team you’re just a game, but as you can see myself and others on the team are athletes too.” said McFadden.
Deshaun not only enjoys competing competitively for the Bulldogs, but he also enjoys watching some of the top streamers perform on platforms like Youtube and Twitch and then trying to recreate what they do in the game.
As for outside of Esports, McFadden enjoys working out and staying in shape, while also hanging out and enjoying time with friends. As for his plans after graduation, McFadden plans to become a facility or event coordinator at a university while also still coaching football in his spare time.
Barton College runs deep through the Thompson family. Gardner Thompson the son of alumni and former professor Nancy Thompson, is currently in his third year at Barton and actively involved around campus. The President of Alpha Sigma Phi and member of the League of Legends team are some just to name.
Not only is Gardner familiar with Barton College, he is also not a stranger to Wilson, North Carolina. Growing up in Cary, North Carolina for majority of his life, he was very accustom to the suburbs of Raleigh. However, for his middle school years, Thompson lived in Wilson while his mom attended Barton and earned her Bachelors in Nursing in 2012 and later her Masters in 2015.
Originally wanting to pursue a career in computer programming, Gardner had to move on from that dream because he had his eyes set on attending Barton and they do not offer the major. He then decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer. He is currently working on a Business Law major with a minor in Political Science. After graduation, Thompson has plans to apply to UNC law school and practice Malpractice law.
As for Esports, Gardner has been with the program from the beginning by joining the team via a walk-on spot. The current junior has been participating in Esports since his early high school days at Panther Creek High School, where he competed in Team Fortress 2 and Counterstrike. Thompson explained how much it means to be apart of a competitive team and to have the opportunity to compete collegiately. “Not many people can say they are on a team, none the less a team this organized.” said Thompson.
Since the construction of the new Esports arena on campus in 2019, many players like Gardner himself have been able to take full advantage of the nations top collegiate Esports arena. ” It’s really good to see, especially in a place like Wilson. ( on Barton College Esports arena) Where you would not expect it.” said Thompson.
As for the impression Gardner wants to make on the program, “More of a mainstream respect for the program.” said Thompson. With the Esports team still being young, guys like Gardner hope to pave the way to make Barton a house hold name in the Esports industry.
However, next year he intends to not compete competitively and take on a staff role. Which will include helping out with recruiting, video broadcasting of matches and streams.
John-Christianson Newkirk or as most call him “JC”, is a junior from Clayton, North Carolina. The current biology major and psychology minor, is just impressive on the sticks as he is in the classroom. “I love class and I love studying.” said Newkirk. He also noted how his work ethic and skills are the same in esports as it is in the classroom.
His plans for after graduation have been something he has dreamed of since a little kid. He plans on going to medical school and becoming a Thoracic Surgeon that will specialize in the chest, lungs, and heart. “I’ve always had a thing about saving peoples lives” said Newkirk. The current 2k team member is a hands on person and enjoys helping his community any chance he gets.
Newkirk just recently finished runner up in the Conference Carolinas NBA2K Championship, where each Conference Carolinas school hosted their own qualifier for the winner of each to compete in the Championship bracket against other schools. Newkirk made his way to the Championship game where he faced off against number one seeded Belmont Abbey’s Deante Shackleford and ended up dropping the game to him.
“It was exciting and upsetting at the same time.” said Newkirk. He explained how Shackleford was able to have first pick of teams and chose the Milwaukee Bucks, in which Newkirk was wanting. “I got exploited with the one player I was going to exploit him with” said Newkirk. Referring to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Newkirk was disappointed when Shackleford chose them.
Outside of the classroom and Esports, Newkirk enjoys roller blading and playing basketball. He attributes roller blading and listening to music as a way to relax and clear his mind. As for his music choices, they are a wide variety. He enjoys listening to classical music, rap, and African music.
Newkirk’s love for 2k came when he bought a ps4 and saw NBA2K 16 in the store for free. He began to play against his friend, however, met an online friend named Tiv. He attributes much of his competitive practice and skills to Tiv because he had become a competitive rival of his. “If I didn’t meet him on there I do not know where I would be in 2K.” said Newkirk. As for moving forward Newkirk plans on expanding his basketball knowledge to help him out on the sticks.
Familiar face of the program and League of Legends player, Mitchell McKittrick, is one of the most dedicated players to have come through the program thus far. The first student NACE (National Association of College Esports) representative in Barton College’s Esports program history is only one of many achievements McKittrick has tackled. The freshman from Apex, North Carolina is one of the leaders on the League of Legends team and is excited about his opportunity competing for the Esports program. “It is a growing industry and just being apart of it is tremendous.” said McKittrick.
Mitchell plans on pursuing a career in the Esports industry wether that is becoming a professional player or staying connected in the industry some how. He is an Art and Design major with a concentration in Graphic Design and also earning minors in Math and Honors.
McKittrick was first introduced to League of Legends in high school where he joined his high school Esports club and was later introduced to the game by the teacher running the program. What attracted him to the game so much was it’s originality and “replay ability”. “I thought I would try it and I got hooked.” said McKittrick. Different from the first person shooter games and typical fighter games, the strategy and uniqueness was what attracted him to the game.
However, before Mitchell hopped onto the PC platform, he was playing games on the Wii and Xbox like Super Mario Bros and Super Smash Bros. That then led to him to buying a PC and playing games like Team Fortress 2 and Brawlhalla.
Outside of Esports, Mitchell enjoys socializing with friends and teammates and has enjoyed the opportunity to meet new players and people through the program. As for what type of legacy he leaves behind, he hopes to keep growing the program. “I’m not the only working as part of a team, but also helping to expand the team and grow interest in the program.” said McKittrick.
Are you a student at Barton College and play NBA 2K21 on the Playstation 4?
Well Barton College, Conference Carolinas and Mainline have all partnered to create the Conference Carolinas NBA 2k21 Championship that will begin on March 1 at 5 p.m., with the championship taking place on March 6.
The championship winner will receive a Conference Carolinas NBK 2K21 Championship logo shirt and trophy.
All Conference Carolinas schools will host qualifier tournaments with the winners moving on to represent and compete in the finals with the semifinals and finals being broadcasted live.
Registration for the event ends February 28, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. In order to compete in the tournament, you will need three things. Be a registered student of a Conference Carolinas school, Playstation 4 NBA 2K21 and an active PS plus membership.
Conference Carolinas Tournament Schedule:
Day 1– March 5th
Round of 16 5 pm
Round of 8 6pm
Quarter finals 7pm
Day 2– March 6th
Semifinals- 4 pm – 6 pm (broadcasted)
Finals- 6 pm – 7 pm (broadcasted)
Match settings- Standard lobby settings
Best of 1- Single Elimination
Difficulty- Hall of Fame
Game Style- Standard
Time limit- 5 min for qualifier games & 7 mins for Conference Carolinas finals games
Nicholas “Nick” Guerriero is no stranger to the small town feel that comes from attending Barton College. The third year senior is from a small town called Shelby, North Carolina, which is located less than an hour outside of Charolette. Transitioning from Shelby to Wilson was not a drastic change for him, “Coming to Barton I feel like I stayed in that element.” said Guerriero.
Guerriero is currently wrapping up with his bachelors degree and is majoring in Exercise Science, where he has plans to pursue a job with physical therapy. However, before that happens, Nick plans on attending an in state school to earn a masters or doctorate degree. “Going into my masters or doctorate or whatever I decide to choose, I want the school that I go to to be a big school.” said Guerriero.
Since arriving to Barton in the fall of 2018, Nick has been apart of the dominate Barton College Swim team and was able to help them to two Conference Carolinas Championship seasons (2019, 2020). The 6’1 senior is a scholarship swimmer that competes in the long distance freestyle and breast stroke for the Bulldogs. Not only does Nick get it done in the pool, but he is also also getting it done in the classroom by earning multiple deans list.
As for Esports, Nick competes on the League of Legends team, where he has been apart of the program since the start of it in 2019. “I love that people take it competitively and that they are always trying to improve.” said Guerriero.
Nick was first introduced to video games when he begin playing Motorcross Maddness, which is an early 2000’s racing game that featured races like baja, stunts, enduro, supercross, and motorcross. Nick’s mom could be considered the pioneer of streaming because of the massive amounts of CD’s they have stored at his home from when he was younger. “My mom used to love filming us. So we have just boxes of boxes of CD’s from where she would film us playing video games.” said Guerriero.
Since 2013 and season 2, Nick has had a huge passion for League of Legends. First being introduced to the game when he bought a laptop to play video games with his brother who did not have the urge as much to play League. However, he has used this game as an escape from reality and time to spend with friends. “Not something I revolve around, but it is something that I love doing that relaxes me.” said Guerriero.
Outside of Esports, Nick enjoys being social and meeting new people. “I’ve always been a social person.” said Guerriero. Also admitting that this pandemic has been a struggle for him when trying to enjoy something like meeting new people.
As nothing is set in stone beyond graduating this spring for the senior swimmer, “I’m just trying to take opportunities as they come,” said Guerriero. “I’m trying to go into something, whatever it is, and build upon it.”