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Eric Peterson, Published May 15 2013

New RedHawks player guarded LeBron James in high school

Fargo - Ronnie Bourquin played basketball against a “king” his senior year in high school.

Bourquin was the point guard for Canton (Ohio) South, which made it to the Division II state semifinals in 2003. That’s when he clashed with a highly regarded senior from Akron – LeBron James.

“I got to guard him,” said Bourquin. “Back then he was the best player on the floor and even today he’s the best player on the floor.”

These days, Bourquin wears baseball spikes instead of sneakers. He’s slated to play third base this summer for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, who start their American Association regular season today at Laredo (Texas).

“He’s sure handed,” said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic. “We need his glove there because I think there is going to be contact against us. We’ll strike out our share, but we’re not going to strike out tons so we need him to be there.”

Bourquin’s Canton South team lost to the powerful St. Vincent-St. Mary team, which was led by “King James,” now a star with the Miami Heat. James scored 19 points and had six assists in a 71-46 victory against Bourquin’s team.

The 6-foot-3 Bourquin led Canton South with 13 points and added three rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“You couldn’t predict quite what he’s done back then,” Bourquin said of LeBron. “To say that you’ve played against one of the best players in the NBA, that’s pretty cool.”

Bourquin played three sports in high school. He was quarterback and safety for the football team and played third base and shortstop on the baseball team.

A multi-talented athlete, Bourquin decided to play baseball at Ohio State University.

“It wasn’t until college really where I started concentrating just on baseball,” Bourquin said. “If I was going to play beyond college, baseball was my best opportunity.”

Bourquin played three seasons at Ohio State before he got drafted. The Detroit Tigers picked Bourquin in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Bourquin played the past two seasons with the St. Paul Saints, posting solid offensive numbers.

Last summer, Bourquin batted .284 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs in 95 games with the Saints.

“He’s just a good solid player,” Simunic said. “He knows what’s at stake. He comes to play.”

Bourquin lives in Canton in the offseason with his wife, Jamie, and two kids, ages 6 and 3. The couple is expecting another child in September.

Bourquin said the plan is for his family to join him in Fargo for the summer.

“It’s stressful being away from your wife and kids,” Bourquin said. “When they are here, it will take some of the pressure off. … It makes it a little more enjoyable that they can enjoy it with me as well.”

While playing for St. Paul the past two seasons, Bourquin said F-M is a team and organization that he respected.

“I want to have fun and try to win a championship,” Bourquin said. “I think we have a good team here that is very capable of doing that. … I still love to play the game and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com