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Trey Drechsel is transferring to Grand Canyon University. //

Photo by Mathew Roland

Dante Koplowitz-Fleming The Western men’s basketball team will be without this year’s two leading scorers and incumbent starters next season. Both junior Trey Drechsel and sophomore Daulton Hommes will be transferring to play basketball elsewhere. Drechsel committed to Division I Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, and Hommes committed to Division II Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. After Western’s crushing one-point loss to Saint Martin’s University in the first round of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament on March 2, it will have to account for a combined average of 33 points per game from the two players. The Vikings will also have to find a way to replace 64 percent of the team’s total minutes played. Apart from Drechsel and Hommes transferring, Western will also lose Drew Magaoay to transfer and Deandre Dickson, Brett Kingma, Brad Wallace and Blake Fernandez are not listed on next year’s roster.
Coach Tony Dominguez said the recruiting process has yielded players he’s excited about but that Western is still trying to finalize its roster. As far as expectations go, Dominguez said it was too early to tell. “You never know,” Dominguez said. “We’re putting together a good team that we think will compete for a championship, but you just never know because it is a brand new team.” The Vikings will bring back Trevor Jasinsky, who averaged 10.1 points and was fourth in total minutes with 28.9 minutes per game average. “Trevor Jasinsky is definitely a leader,” Dominguez said. “Siaan Rojas is somebody that played a lot last year that was very effective. I’m sure those two guys will be major minute guys. We’ve got Tyler Payne who was a point guard that was kind of stuck behind those guys and he’ll have an opportunity to play.”

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Drechsel and Hommes had similar roads leading them to Western. Both were undersized in high school and didn’t experience their growth spurts until late into their high school basketball careers. Each suffered a devastating injury right at the beginning of recruitment season. This led to both players being under-recruited and disregarded by larger schools. But, both Drechsel and Hommes were given an opportunity at Western, and they capitalized on it. While Drechsel was by no means finished with his poor injury luck he broke his foot three times while at Western he played his first full season last year and was named First Team GNAC All-Conference. Hommes, after redshirting his freshman year, has put together two impressive seasons, culminating in a team high 18.1 points per game while shooting a blazing 54.6 percent from the field. “I’m very proud to have had those guys in our program,” Dominguez said. “Both did very well in their time here and were very good representatives of the program. I’m excited for their next chapter.” LEAVING WHATCOM COUNTY
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Daultom Hommes is transferring to Point Loma for his junior season. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics
Hommes’ transition from Western to Point Loma will be significant for him, as he’s spent his entire life playing basketball in Whatcom County. Hommes attended Lynden Christian High School, where he lettered his sophomore year. During the summer before his junior year, with the anticipation of a big season on the horizon, Hommes tore his ACL in his left knee. The injury forced him to sit out the entire season, and put a lot of pressure on his final year. The first day of the next summer going into his senior year, Hommes tore the same ACL. His last game in high school would be from his sophomore year. “I was looking for a local school that would take a chance on me,” Hommes said. “I didn’t expect to get any scholarships out of high school since I hadn’t played in two years, but Coach Dominguez told me that I could be a preferred walk-on.” After redshirting his freshman year and a 6-inch growth spurt, Hommes was ready to play college ball for Western, almost four years after making his last basketball start. Because of his history as a point guard, Hommes can do a lot of things well that big men usually struggle with. “I’ve grown up handling the ball, playing a lot of point guard. That transition from being a guard to being more of a wing I think really helped me,” Hommes said. “I had those ball skills, I knew when to pass, when to shoot.” And pass and shoot he did. In his first season at Western, Hommes started 31 games, averaged 12.5 points per game while shooting 56.7 percent, led the team with 6.6 rebounds and finished third on the team in assists. He was a GNAC Honorable Mention his first year at Western. Hommes contributed from the get-go and hasn’t stopped since. Last season, Hommes added to his resume. He led the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game while shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 44.6 percent from three. But Hommes isn’t content with just being a scorer. “One thing I want to improve in my game is being able to create my shots and create more shots for others,” Hommes said. “And I want to become more of an all-around player on offense and defense.” He wants more assists, steals and blocks, too. Hommes said despite his success at Western, he knew he needed to leave Whatcom County in order to keep growing. “I felt like I’ve kind of been in my comfort zone, not leaving Whatcom County. I think that making the move to San Diego will get me outside of my comfort zone, to push me to become better in all areas of life and in basketball,” Hommes said. At Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego, Hommes will join a squad coming off of an NCAA DII West Regional playoff loss looking to take the next step. Ryan Looney, the Sea Lions’ head coach, previously coached seven seasons at Seattle Pacific University, was named GNAC Coach of the Year and guided the Falcons to the NCAA DII Tournament. “I’ve always heard good things about the system [Looney] has, and the basketball culture they have at Point Loma. I just think I fit in with the style of play there really well,” Hommes said. “What I want to do is just go into there and find a way to win. I got to do whatever I’ve got to do to win. The coaches have made that clear, I think I’ll be able to help the team in a lot of ways.” Point Loma will be returning their six leaders in minutes per game, so Hommes will have to find ways to contribute and earn playing time. That’s something he isn’t worried about, he said. “Even though this transition has been really hard for me – leaving a lot of friends and family behind, saying good-bye to a lot of people who have done a lot for me – I don’t want to leave on a negative vibe. I just want to be grateful and thankful for everyone who’s done stuff for me,” he said. Hommes added that for him, basketball is about his future, too. He hopes to coach or be an athletic trainer some day, and he believes this is just the natural progression of his basketball career. He added that he has no regrets about his time at Western. “It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, to make this big change. But, I’m excited to continue on my basketball journey, and get ready to take my game to the next level. I’m really grateful for the opportunity that basketball has given me as well. To play in front of people, to inspire people, to be a mentor to little kids,” Hommes said. “I’m just thankful for the platform this game has given me.” DESTINED FOR DIVISION I
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Trey Drechsel average 14.9 points per game for the Vikings, good for second on the team. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics
Going into his senior year at Cedar Park Christian High School in Woodinville, Washington, Trey Drechsel was ready to get noticed during recruitment season. He had grown from a 5-foot-9 freshman into a 6-foot-6 soon-to-be senior, and was ready to show Division I schools he was a player they needed to have. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get the chance. On the first day of recruitment season after his junior year, Drechsel went up for a dunk and came down with an avulsion fracture on his pelvis when his hamstring flexed too tightly, and his muscle was torn clean off of the bone. Because of the injury, Drechsel said he was vastly under-recruited out of high school. “I’m a pretty confident kid. I always thought I was a mid-to-high level Division I player,” Drechsel said. Unfortunately for Drechsel, his injury problems didn’t stop in high school. In his three years at Western he missed 26 games due to injury. Drechsel said that adversity helped him become the player, and individual, he is today. “Honestly, I felt like I’d never faced adversity. But once I got to college, man, it was like, you become a man, you become a person and have to face things on your own,” Drechsel said. “It was just one thing after another. I broke my foot three times, my mom almost passed away two weeks before the season, my house flooded. It was just one thing after another.” Drechsel said he considered quitting basketball in the midst of his injury-riddled college career. One of Drechsel’s self-professed biggest assets in basketball is his creativity, and while injured he tried to find other outlets for it, including drawing and writing. “I tried all those things, and they didn’t give me that same feeling of, ‘This is who I am, this is how I can show people my creativity,’ and those types of things. So for me, basketball is that,” Drechsel said. So he kept playing. Recovery, practice and anticipation finally led to Drechsel having a full, healthy college season. And he made it count. Last year, he tallied a career high in scoring, minutes per game, field goal percentage, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. He was named First Team GNAC All-Conference, GNAC All-Academic and was a two-time GNAC Player of the Week. Prior to each season, Drechsel said he writes down a list of goals. Before his sophomore year, he had an elaborate list of goals he wasn’t able to accomplish because of a foot injury. “This year I just put down one goal and it was to play every game,” Drechsel said. “It was cool because I saved those goals and at the end of the year I was able to look back at my goals from my sophomore year and compare it to what I did this year and I was able to accomplish every single goal. It was a really good feeling.” Drechsel said playing Division II ball was necessary because of his injury, but was never something he saw as his ceiling. He explained that he sees Division II players in three ways: Players who are lucky to be there and just want to play basketball, players whose talent matches Division II and lastly the players who are there because of their circumstance or because of factors outside of their control. Drechsel sees himself as being in that third tier. “For example, I look at Daulton Hommes, and that kid is not a Division II player by any means. You look at what happened to him in high school, he had two injuries and wasn’t able to get recruited,” Drechsel said. ”He was vastly under-recruited, that’s the only reason that dude is Division II. He’s easily a Division I player.” And with his transfer to Division I Grand Canyon University, Drechsel will get to live out his goal of making it to the highest level of college basketball. Grand Canyon lost in the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament last year to No. 1 seeded New Mexico State. The winner of that game received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, another goal on Drechsel’s list. “They have two really talented big men and then two really athletic wings, and they just kind of need a point guard to facilitate and run the show and be aggressive and be creative,” Drechsel said. “Creative in terms of getting those guys to their spots and getting to my own spots when I need to be there.” Drechsel hopes his creativity will set him apart at the next level. “Especially at the Division I level, you have to be creative to be great at basketball. For me, that’s my niche. I like to play free, I like to do some unorthodox things,” he said. “That’s my advantage over someone that’s a little more athletic or a little quicker, I can kind of outsmart them or be a little more creative.” Drechsel will join a squad coached by three-time NBA all-star Dan Majerle. “That is one competitive dude, that’s probably one of the main reasons I went there. You could feel how competitive he is, he wouldn’t want to lose at anything,” Drechsel said. “You play ping pong or something and you could tell it would be something where he wouldn’t accept losing, and that’s something that matched up with my personality to a T.” Part of that competitive personality inside Drechsel has made the decision to leave Western difficult on him. He said it’s tough for him to leave behind his friends and teammates, especially when people see it as him quitting on the team or the coaches. “It’s a hard decision whenever you leave something because people are going to say what they want to say, but I made this decision for me with my best interests,” Drechsel said. “It’s been hard, that perception that I don’t care anymore or that something wasn’t good enough, as opposed to me just wanting to push myself to a different experience, that’s been hard.”

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