Q&A: Kapolei three-sport standout De’Zhaun Stribling

Three-sport athlete De'Zhaun Stribling of Kapolei is focusing on playing in the Polynesian Bowl this week. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

North Carolina. South Carolina. California. Florida. Kapolei Middle School.

The journey of De’Zhaun Stribling is only beginning, even though a close friend, Ikari Stokes, advises Stribling to choose Hawaii over San Jose State.

Stribling had big season at wide receiver for the Hurricanes with 64 catches for 872 yards and nine TDs. His focus this week is the Polynesian Bowl.

“I’m ready for the competition against all these big names. The level it’s at means a lot. The bowl itself is big. A lot of prestige. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Very interesting,” Stribling said.

Stribling, who also plays basketball and is a high jumper on the track and field team, sat down for a chat with Hawaii Prep World on Saturday. He was featured in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read by clicking here.

De’Zhaun Stribling
Kapolei football, basketball, track and field
6-2, 190, Sr.

Fun fact: Stribling’s uncle is former pro wrassler Don “The Rock” Muraco.

Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Steve Smith
For football, it has to be Steve Smith. I like the way he played. Growing up, I always watched him. Really rugged guy. He was special.

Team: Carolina Panthers
I grew up in North Carolina a little bit, near Raleigh. I miss it sometimes. My dad’s part of the family is over there.

Food at home: pasta
My mom (Aisha) makes it. She makes pasta, the thick noodles, and she makes the cream sauce and puts shrimp in it. I kind of make it, but she makes it good.

Food eating out: ribs
At Big City Diner, the guava ribs. The last time I had it was October-ish.

A hobby, not really. I work out a lot.

Movie: Star Wars, Rogue One
That’s tough. I’ve seen this seven times. It was on Netflix for awhile.

TV show: The Boondocks
It’s on Adult Swim. It’s about two African-American kids. It’s really funny. They incorporate what’s happening in the real world. They had an episode about “Breaking Bad” and the how the hair-growth things are bad for you.

Video game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Especially during winter break, every day. But now I don’t get a chance to play except on Sundays. On the basketball team, everybody plays. Fortnite is broken. It just makes me too mad. I stopped playing early summer and when I came back, everyone was better. It’s hard to get back into it. I’m ItsRuZa. Search me up.

Music artist: J. Cole
My favorite song has to be “Neighbors.”

Teacher: Mr. Cronin
My English teacher. He’s just a real standup person. He’s very straight-up. If you need help with anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can go to him. He’ll help you out. And he comes to all of of my games for basketball, to come and support, so that’s pretty cool.

GPA: 3.0 (cumulative)
Second quarter, I got 3.5. First quarter, I got 3.3.

Class: Engineering
It’s pretty fun. We have to think of real-world problems and brainstorm ideas to fix them. We did transportation and building bridges that can hold more weight. We built a 2×2 bridge out of wood and our teacher walked on it. It was me and my friend, Micah Fonoti, our kicker. It was solid.

Place to relax: Any pool

Not really.

What mom (Aisha) says that I can’t forget
She always tells me, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets punched in the face.” She doesn’t play around. She’s very strict, but she’s very loving and very caring. She wants the best in everything.

What dad (Carlos) says that I can’t forget
There’s a lot of things. He says, ‘Don’t set the field on fire.’ We were visiting him in South Carolina and we bought a lot of fireworks from a store. It was a back country house. There was a little hill and our fireworks went up and exploded, and it fired into the a big wheat field. The whole field was on fire. We were trying to put it out with little cups of water. We had to call the fire department. There was 50 yards of burnt grass and wheat.

What do your coaches say?
(Wide receivers) Coach Jeremiah (Cockheran) always says, “Are you a man or are you a mouse?” Me and him, it was more like a a brother relationship than a coach and player. He understood the things I would ask him. He can still run routes so he could show me.

How does sports affect your daily life?
All my sports work together. Football season helps me get bigger for basketball so I don’t get pushed around. Basketball season with all the jumping, it helps me with high jump for track. Then track season, the speed work helps with football.

Middle and elementary schools
I went to Kapolei Middle School and Angieer Elementary School in California.

Youth teams
I played for the Tierra Santa Cougars (Pop Warner) team in California. I played running back. I was really small at the time so I’d run away from everybody. When we got here in sixth grade, I played for the Kapolei Islanders and I played quarterback. My seventh-grade year, I played for the Ewa Beach Sabers and that’s when I moved to receiver. Freshman year, we were pretty much stacked everywhere on JV, so since Ikari played slotback, I played receiver. He taught me a lot. Coming with the plays, I didn’t understand the plays, the secondary route reads, what coverages. He taught me a lot of things. I was really small, too. I was more worried about getting jammed. Freshman year, I was 5-6, 150ish. I was shorter than him. I didn’t grow until my sophomore to junior year. I ran track (Hawaiian Breeze) and in high school, I started playing basketball.

I’ve traveled to South Carolina for a camp, North Carolina for the Wake Forest camp. I went to San Diego State last summer, too. I went to UCLA for an unofficial visit. I went to Florida for the Adidas (7v7) tournament. In Florida, it was really crazy. Everybody’s built like you. Everybody’s fast like you. They had this one guy who was 6-3, a corner, the best in the nation.

What’s something you do that might surprise people?
I’m good at writing stories (for English class).

Time machine
I’d probably go talk to Martin Luther King Jr. I would see what inspired him and how does he have the courage to stand up when nobody else does. Probably talk with him eating lunch or dinner somewhere. I’d talk to him for as long as I can.

Bucket list
I’d want to go to Dubai. It seems amazing. England seems like a very fun country, probably just London, do all the basic tourist stuff.

History and background of your name
My mom came up with De’Zhaun Ryan. I don’t know what it means. I don’t think she knows, either. It was right before I was born. My first name was supposed to be Demetrius, but it became my middle name. The reason it’s a ‘z’ is my mom wanted to make it French, that’s why there’s an apostrophe. And Ryan is my dad’s middle name.

The Striblings are from Chicago. That’s where my grandfather is from. My mom’s dad is from Chicago. My dad is from North Carolina. My grandfather was in the military and met my grandmother here. They met here. I haven’t been to Chicago.

Shout out to Ikari. Good person. Helps me a lot with everything.


  1. ILoveHawaii January 14, 2020 1:42 pm

    So much talent on that team. So much talent.

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