Dirks, the NICL West Division’s Outstanding Player as a senior at Gladbrook-Reinbeck, is a freshman walk-on for the Bulldog basketball team.
He was used to a bit more action in high school, averaging 16.8 points per game and 4.3 rebounds in his senior year. Dirks ended his prep career with 1,000 points.
So far, for Drake, he has no points in seven game appearances totaling nine minutes.
“It’s a great experience,” Dirks says. “I knew it would probably be like this,” he added, admitting that he fully expected to see little game action.
Nonetheless, he has worked hard on his game in practice. He says he is having a great time helping get the team ready to win.
The pace of the college game and its physical nature are the two things Dirks mentioned when asked what he had learned so far.
It is said that the game, any game, goes very fast in the beginning and begins to slow down as a player acquires experience.
“The first day, it seemed like a hundred miles an hour,” he says. By this time in the season, though, he adds, “It is starting to slow down.”
He is learning to be a better player, working on being a better shooter and not turning the ball over.
Whatever frustration Dirks might feel by being the last man in is lessened by sharing in Drake’s success.
“It is always fun to win,” he says.
The best part, though, may be the rapport the Drake team seems to have among themselves.
“We get along really well,” Dirks says. And it shows every time the Bulldogs play.
It may be a case of the speed of the boss is the speed of the gang. Coach Keno Davis obviously likes his guys and they like him. He doesn’t yell at his players on the sideline, he coaches them.
“It is a lot of fun playing for Keno,” says Dirks, using the head coach’s first name like all the players do. Because three coaches are Davises, they are all referred to by their first names — Keno, Chris or Rodell. No word on how the players refer to Dr. Tom Davis, Keno’s dad and predecessor as head coach.
Can Tyson Dirks succeed as a walk-on for Drake? He has only to look on the floor to see two more one-time walk-ons, senior Adam Emmenecker and junior Jonathon Cox. Both have been Missouri Valley Conference players of the week this season.
Emmenecker and Cox probably watched from the end of the bench their first year, too.
Contact Rick Deines at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org