6:00 AM ET
INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner gave a sarcastic chuckle. It was the kind in which you couldn’t tell if he was offended by the question or if it was a sympathetic laugh.
“Yeah, I was pretty good at basketball,” he said matter-of-factly after the chuckle.
When you see Buckner in street clothes, he doesn’t look like a football player. At 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, his physique is more like that of a power forward than a defensive lineman who tosses aside offensive linemen to get to the quarterback.
Buckner was the Hawai’i Gatorade Player of the Year in basketball in 2012 after averaging 12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks and winning a state championship during his senior season at Punahou School in Honolulu.
But the thought of pursuing a basketball future ended two years earlier. He suffered an ankle injury on a dunk when he was pushed in the back and landed awkwardly on another player’s ankle. The injury was severe enough that Buckner couldn’t make a trip to the mainland before his junior season to play in an AAU tournament in Las Vegas, where many of the top college