COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Writing his own chapter

Dustin Triano transferred to Western Oregon from Gonzaga.

Dustin Triano transferred to Western Oregon from Gonzaga.

MONMOUTH — Basketball is more than a hobby in the Triano family.

It’s a way of life.

Jay Triano played at Simon Fraser University, where he broke or tied 11 school records and played for the Canadian National Team from 1977-88. After retiring as a player, Jay worked as a color commentator and director of community relations for the then Vancouver Grizzlies. He has served as an assistant coach, and later head coach, of the Toronto Raptors, an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers, and is currently the interim head coach for the Phoenix Suns. He’s also coached the Canadian National Team two different times.

His son, Dustin Triano, is looking to write his own basketball chapter with Western Oregon’s men’s basketball team this winter.

As Jay Triano worked his way up the ranks, Dustin got a front-row view of life of an NBA coach and a glimpse into the lives of players.

“Ever since I was born, I’ve been around basketball,” Dustin said. “When he started at the Grizzlies, I would go to games when I was 5 or 6. It’s something I’ve always been around. I’m a competitive guy. I found I liked to compete in basketball. I would say it was never forced on me, but I found I shared the same love for basketball as my dad.”

Dustin saw firsthand the travel schedules, the time commitment and the dedication it took to play basketball at the highest level.

“Ever since I picked up a basketball, I’ve wanted to play for as long as I could,” Dustin said. “I remember wanting to play in the NBA and keep going as far as I could take it.”

Dustin has carved out his own path. Prior to transferring to Western Oregon, Dustin was at Gonzaga during its run to the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game last season.

He was looking for a chance to go to a program where he could find more playing time and a place that had a winning tradition.

“It came down to when I was at Gonzaga, we won a lot while I was there,” Dustin said. “When I met with coach Shaw and met the guys, I had the sense that these guys wanted to win and compete. That’s what I like. I think basketball is more fun while you’re winning and competing every day.”

Dustin has appeared in all eight of Western’s games, averaging 5.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 17.9 minutes per game of action.

“Whether it’s on the court, in the classroom, or on campus, the first thing that stands out about Dustin is his maturity,” WOU coach Jim Shaw said. “As a player, in addition to being an elite-level shooter, Dustin always brings a great attitude and understanding of the game to any situation.”

Jay has supported Dustin’s decision to transfer.

“I just want him to have fun and enjoy the game,” Jay said. “He’s been so fortunate to be in a Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and a Final Four. Now he gets a chance to play and contribute while working on his masters. These are times he will never forget.”

As Dustin works to carve out his role with the Wolves, he’s loving every moment.

“It’s just fun,” Dustin said. “On game days, you just want to compete and win.”


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