Ashton Troutman of Uwharrie Charter Academy goes up for a shot against Trinity last season. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record).
ASHEBORO – Ashton Troutman returned to the Uwharrie Charter Academy boys’ basketball team and pretty much picked up where he left off.
After spending a few months as a transfer at The Burlington School, Troutman decided to finish his high school career where it began.
“It was just a lot (of reasons), nothing basketball related,” Troutman said of coming back to UCA. “I just had a good three years at Uwharrie and I missed what was going on. I was missing my home and my family.”
In his fourth game this season, Troutman reached a milestone. He scored his 1,000th career point Friday night in an 83-64 loss at Richmond County. The milestone basket – a contested layup in traffic – was part of his 34-point outburst.
Troutman, a 6-foot-8 post player, was the centerpiece of UCA’s Piedmont Athletic Conference Tournament championship last season. His return could shake up the PAC’s projected pecking order, though he’s the only returning starter for the Eagles.
He transferred to TBS, which is the two-time defending Class 2-A state champion in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, in an effort to expand his exposure and see a different level of competition. TBS school plays a schedule with national flavor.
Troutman was involved in fall competitions with TBS, but his return to UCA came before official games and thus his eligibility wasn’t affected.
Troutman, already the school-record holder for points, had 15 points in the Eagles’ season-opening 77-33 loss to visiting Chatham Charter. Three days later, he poured in 32 points – all in the first half — in an 85-37 romp past Bethany Community. He racked up 24 points in a 45-33 loss last week at Southern Guilford.
Troutman had planned to commute from his Asheboro home to Burlington, but that became too taxing and he began living with a family of another TBS player.
“I just got tired of living up there,” he said.
On the court at TBS, which sometimes has college coaches and scouts representing recruiting services attend practices, Troutman was part of a low post pairing with highly regarded Ty Outlaw.
“I was in the starting lineup,” Troutman said. “I had gotten a lot better with all the workouts. We just made each other better.”
He has been recruited by a variety of colleges. Some of the exposure might wane, but college coaching staffs will know where to find him.
“I was getting the looks I wanted,” he said of his time in the TBS program. “It’s a risk (coming back to UCA) that I’m willing to take.”
Troutman, who averaged 20.9 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, said his relationship with UCA coach Brad Monroe, who has been with the Eagles throughout the player’s career, remained strong even with the brief transfer. He said the coach has been supportive of each move.
“He has always got the best out of me,” Troutman said.
The Eagles will need plenty from their senior standout, who faces double- and triple-team defensive tactics.
“It’s a lot like last year,” he said. “We’ve got a couple shooters. I know how to get others involved.”
The 1,000-point plateau was a nice marker, something he had considered for several years. He has been UCA’s leading scorer in each of the last three seasons.
“Since my freshman year, when I realized I could put up points like I could, I knew I really would like to do that,” he said of the 1,000 points.
Troutman’s scoring numbers would be higher if not for the COVID-reduced schedule in his sophomore year and missing three games with an injury last season