SIOUX CITY — Dom Drent wasted little time getting to know the basketball scene in the city in the summer.
Drent, an East High School senior, moved to Sioux City from Le Sueur, Minnesota, and when he arrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, he entered himself in an AAU league hosted by The Arena Sports Academy.
That experience has allowed him to have a swift start to his senior year with the Black Raiders, and Drent is this week’s Metro Athlete of the Week.
Drent joined the Arena Basketball Club, and it served one main purpose. He wanted to get to know the players he was going to play with and against.
“Playing ball down here instead of not playing ball at all, it definitely really helps,” Drent said. “I’m around a lot of people who love to play basketball, and I love that. Getting to play with the local players is also really fun to get to know them.”
Drent also got to play alongside his current East teammates along with getting to know them when he went to open gym workouts inside the Black Raiders facility over the summer.
East coach Ras Vanderloo got to meet Drent in-person at an open gym, and Vanderloo’s first impression of the 6-foot-2 guard were the little things that make a good player.
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“He appeared to shoot the ball very well,” Vanderloo said. “He moved well, he was athletic. That’s what makes good players. And then to add in all the stuff. He’s got that basketball, little knack about him and savvy and all that. Add that to being able to shoot the ball, and his work ethic is very good and defensively he’s very good.”
Drent took on the challenge of guarding the opponent’s best player while at The Arena, and that carried over into the season.
Drent takes his defense seriously. He’ll pour himself into the scouting report that the Black Raiders’ coaching staff creates for the team, and Drent will watch film on players he’s expected to guard to find the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
Take last Friday night, for example.
Before the matchup against West, Drent read what the scouting report said on Wolverines sophomore Keavian Hayes.
Drent studied Hayes on paper and on film and noted that Hayes didn’t like to shoot from the perimeter. Hayes preferred to get to the rim.
With that being known, Drent sagged off Hayes, wanting him to take deep shots instead of attacking the paint. Hayes scored 19 points on Friday night against the Black Raiders, but Drent made the Wolverines guard work for all of them.
“I want to make sure my opponent scores as little as possible or not at all,” Drent said. “Defense is not just a single person. I do get beat, and I want to limit the times I get beat. Being able to bother a defender and making them uncomfortable, that’s what I like to do.
“Defense is always something I’ve taken pride in,” Drent added. “Even back during my junior year, I always took the best guy on the court and sometimes I’d get a little break. That kept me prepared for it. I’ll continue to take pride in my defense.”
Vanderloo said that Drent is the Black Raiders’ best defender.
“I mean, when you have a young man out there that takes the defense end seriously and has the ability to play it, it just, it makes your team better. And then when he’s doing it, it’s contagious, and it makes everyone around him better. So when he’s in the game, which is a lot, our defensive effort is better.”
Drent also has a goal on the offensive end of the floor.
Entering Tuesday’s game against North (which finished after Journal press time), Drent needed 50 points to get to 1,000 career points.
When Drent was a sophomore, he started averaging 17.0 points per game. During that time, he started doing the math, and he realized that he could get to 1,000 points by his senior year, if he kept up on the scoring pace.
“That’s when I started scoring in varsity,” Drent said. “I realized that I could make it possible. As the junior season went on, I still put up those numbers. I knew by doing a little bit of math and looking forward to the future, I could do it.”
Between his sophomore and junior year, Drent was searching for his confidence. He was changing roles to be more of a point guard.
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Drent needed to bring the ball up the floor, and needed to be more comfortable with the ball in his hand while finding ways to score.
Then, before this season, Drent wanted to develop his outside shot. He knew that DaVares Whitaker was going to be East’s point guard, and with Whitaker’s ability to attack the paint, Drent needed to be ready to shoot if Whitaker kicked the ball out to him.
“This year, I just need to be a secondary option,” Drent said. “I need to hit those 3s. Also, when DaVares needs a break, I need to handle the ball as well as he does. Defensively, I need to be the best defender on the court.”
Drent has an average of 15.3 ppg in the five games for the Black Raiders. The Black Raiders senior has made 50 percent of his shots, and he’s made 39 percent of his 3-point shots.