It was an exhaustive search, reaching out to someone from each and every high-major program in search of the ultimate unicorn: the one player completely devoid of social media.
I discovered Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson doesn’t have Twitter and has fewer than a dozen posts on Instagram, but the ‘Cats freshman has Snapchat. Ohio State’s Andre Wesson only uses Snapchat. Arizona State’s Remy Martin’s lone social media account is with Instagram. UCF’s Aubrey Dawkins removed himself from Facebook and Instagram, but has a Snapchat account, also. Facebook is Utah guard Parker Van Dyke’s lone social media outlet.
I thought I had finally discovered one: DePaul’s Max Strus.
I got him on the phone and he said he’s never had Twitter or Instagram, but does use Snapchat — only to communicate with those he actually knows.
“It’s a fake world I don’t need to be in,” Strus said of his lack of desire to be posting to the world. “I don’t see the point.”
But his presence on Snapchat still eliminated him from consideration and contention to be the most unique college basketball player in the country.
Honestly, I was losing faith that this one college hoops player existed. Even Texas big man Jericho Sims, who is about as reserved as it gets, was on Instagram. He has only posted seven times, but that still kept my search alive and well.
I’m told that Collin Sexton didn’t have any social media until he left Alabama. If only I had thought of this idea a year ago.
“Good luck with that,” multiple coaches responded when I told them about my search.
“Like a needle in a haystack,” added one.
“You’ll never, ever find one,” guaranteed another. “Not in this day and age. All these kids want attention.”
Then I finally found him: Stanford’s 7-footer Keenan Fitzmorris.
Not even Snapchat to hook up with girls.
I won’t lie. I’d never heard of the Overland Park, Kan., native who spent three seasons at St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kan., before taking a prep season as a senior at New Hampton (N.H.).
I got Fitzmorris on the phone and first wanted to make 100 percent certain he didn’t have any social media. He told me he signed up for a facebook account as a high school freshman, but never used it. He also tried Twitter for a brief period in high school, tweeting only inspirational quotes, before deleting the account as well. Then he thought about Snapchat, signed up, and then deleted it within an hour.
Then I quickly had to know the answer to THE QUESTION.
“For me, I think one of the most valuable things it compromises is focus,” Fitzmorris said. “I have goals, and I don’t want it to take away from my focus. I’m a big goal-setter and I have lot of things I want to accomplish.”
“Life without social media is distraction-free,” he added. “It frees your mind and allows you to really self-reflect, to have that quiet time to really see who you are as a human being.”
Fitzmorris hasn’t yet played a minute of college basketball. He decided to redshirt after arriving at 204 pounds and has bulked up to 227. He doesn’t just want to play in the NBA, but he wants to be one of the best players in the league.
“I’m actually one of the 7-footers who loves basketball,” Fitzmorris said. “I know some 7-footers get pushed into it, but I love basketball.”
Fitzmorris said he grew up in a household in which TV usage was low, and he and his siblings were often found reading books and playing sports outside. He would draw and write and he played just about every sport. His mother, Maria, played on the Peruvian National Basketball team for a dozen years, and also was a member of the Peruvian Junior National volleyball team. His father, Michael, played pro ball in Peru and Sweden.
His older sister, Audriana, is a junior volleyball player at Stanford who doesn’t have any social media, either.
“It’s definitely a challenge to stay up with my friends,” Fitzmorris said. “But I’m able to do it though Facetime, calling them and texting. All my friends understand I don’t use it.”
“It’s been effective for me,” he added. “I’ve got some great friendships with no social media.”
Fitzmorris hasn’t decided on a major yet, but he’s already got no shortage of ideas: Maybe neuroscience or psychology, or even business.
“I’m an open door,” he laughed.
Stanford coach Jerod Haase described Fitzmorris as a big-time shooter with length who has a high upside on the court, but he has been even more impressed by his freshman’s maturity off the court.
“Keenan is a true scholar-athlete and a great representative of Stanford,” Haase told Stadium. “His love of learning is real and he uses other avenues to gather information than social media.”
“He is well-rounded, humble, and motivated,” he added. “Keenan will do big things on and off the court and we all will will be reading about him on social media.”
But one thing that we won’t be doing is seeing him on social media anytime soon. Fitzmorris has no intention of giving up the title of college hoops’ social media unicorn.
“I’m still shocked,” he said after being informed of his distinction within the college hoops ranks. “I definitely feel the pressure now.”