If Dominic Waters could do it all over again, he says he would not stray the nearly 3,000 miles from his hometown. The Portland native initially decided to attend the University of Hawaii after a standout career at Grant High School in Northeast Portland.
If Dominic Waters could do it all over again, he says he would not stray the nearly 3,000 miles from his hometown.
The Portland native initially decided to attend the University of Hawaii after a standout career at Grant High School in Northeast Portland.
“I would come to Portland State in a heartbeat, no doubt about it,” Waters said.
An Oregon First Team All-State player in 2005, Waters felt that playing in Hawaii and competing in the traditionally stronger Western Athletic Conference was his best choice.
“I would play about 20 minutes a game there, but I wasn’t happy,” Waters said. “You shouldn’t be somewhere where you’re not happy.”
In those seasons, the Rainbow Warriors were a combined 35-24, good for fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the WAC, while Waters averaged 13 minutes a game and nearly five points, mostly as a backup.
Back home in the Rose City, Waters joined a growing list of players that had to sit out their first year after transferring to Portland State due to NCAA rules.
Over the last three years the Vikings have relied heavily on several talented transfers—Jeremiah Dominguez, Jamie Jones, Phil Nelson and now Waters—who all spent a season on the bench fully knowing that they could never play, regardless of the teams needs.
Waters said that it was tough to watch from the sidelines last season because of the success that the team had.
“It was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. Just watching the team and seeing all the success they were having made me work harder during the summer to prepare for this season,” Waters said. “Hard work always pays off.”
The work seems to have most definitely paid off for Waters and his teammates this season. He leads the team in points, assists and three-point percentage.
Despite the fact that some athletes at the college and pro level do not enjoy playing in their hometown with close proximity to friends and family, Waters said he has been enjoying the experience.
“I like it a lot,” Waters said. “I feel no pressure out there, I just block it out and have fun.”
Waters’ vocal on-court demeanor has had a powerful effect on the Vikings this season, as his constant chatter with teammates on both ends of the floor helped him establish a leadership presence from early on this year.
“Dominic does a good job of leading by example,” said men’s basketball head coach Ken Bone.
Just over the midway point of his first season wearing his hometown colors, Waters has already turned in some memorable performances.
On Jan. 4, he lit up Northern Arizona with a 41-point game that helped the Vikings defeat the Lumberjacks in quadruple overtime.
The remarkable performance tied for the second finest performance in the program’s history, but was particularly unique because Waters came off the bench as he has in just about every game this season.
“I wish I would have gotten that point to be at the top [of that list],” Waters said proudly. “But my teammates did a great job of finding me with the ball and we ended up winning the game, which was the most important thing. If we would have lost that game, it wouldn’t have meant anything.”
Despite the fact that he comes off the bench for the Vikings, Waters has teamed with either senior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez or senior shooting guard Andre Murray to provide a potent scoring attack.
“Dominic and Jeremiah display a true passion for the game,” Bone said. “They both just show a love for the game.”
Bone admitted he has thought about regularly starting Waters, but feels that he is best suited for being a key reserve.
“I really like him coming off the bench,” said Bone. “He brings energy and intensity when we need it.”
At this point in his Portland State career, Waters revels his role in coming off the bench.
“Every player wants to start, but I’m needed to come off the bench and make an impact,” Waters said. “It is what the team needs me to do right now.”