By Esteban Ramirez
The clock was ticking down and fans at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas looked on as junior guard Dedrick Basile hit the biggest three-pointer in CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball history giving the Roadrunners their first Western Athletic Conference title.
That shot gave CSUB its first berth into the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
However, the journey for Basile to get to that shot was not an easy one for him.
Basile grew up in Houston, Texas but it was a hard childhood for him and his family.
“It was rough,” Basile said. “We went from my house, to my grandma’s house, to my daddy’s house. It was just a rough childhood.”
At one time, he and his family went a month without lights.
Right before he came to CSUB, Basile’s house burned down and he came to Bakersfield with only the bags he had from Trinity Valley College.
“It was tough on my family and for me to be where I’m at right now, is really a blessing from God,” he said. “My momma was left with nothing. It was really devastating for us and to be doing what I’m doing now, I know it makes my momma happy.”
CSUB head coach Rod Barnes said Basile is a special person.
“He comes from a tough background but you wouldn’t know it if you were around him,” Barnes said. “He’s very appreciative and thankful for everything that has been given to him as a result he has been rewarded for it. That’s why he’s a special young man and why he has helped our team to be very good.”
“He’s come from a tough situation, so he has seen some bad things and he’s seen some really good things, and he has been able to make it. Not only has he survived it, he is starting to thrive. That’s who he is and that’s the beauty of the thing for me,” Barnes said.
Basile said that growing up in Houston a lot of people wanted to be basketball players but others chose different routes from him, while he kept sticking with the game of basketball.
“Some people went to the streets, and I just chose the basketball route,” he said.
He added that his biggest inspiration to play the game of basketball was to provide a better future for his family.
“I always wanted to buy my momma a new house,” he said. “I always wanted to take care of her, so she is one of my biggest inspirations. I’ll do anything for her. She is the reason why I’m here right now.”
Basile said another inspiration of his was his former teammate from Trinity Valley College, Melvin Swift, who died last year.
“Everything I do on the court right now is for him,” said Basile. “I’m trying to make his name live on.
“When he passed, that really took a toll on me. It really still hurts to this day when I think about it. He’s one of my closest friends and I just go hard for him.”
He added that he gives a prayer for Swift before every game and Basile has his name on the back of his shoes.
He also honors his cousin Terrance Nelson, who died in 2011, by wearing the number five, which is the same number Nelson wore.
Basile went to Madison High School in Houston, which is the same high school former NFL quarterback Vince Young went to. Basile averaged 27.6 points per game and led the Marlins to a 21-11 record in his senior year.
He then went on to play at Trinity Valley College in Athens, Texas. After garnering Freshman of the Year honors, Basile put on a strong season his sophomore season by averaging 15 points per game and 7.5 assists per game.
“I just had to come a long way,” he said. “It has just been a long process that I would do the same way if I had to do it again.”
Basile said he and CSUB assistant coach Marc Hsu had been close since he was in 11th grade and that is what led to his decision of coming to Bakersfield.
“I’m so grateful that I got to come here,” he said.
He is averaging 12 points per game and a team-high 1.8 steals per game, but he stepped his game up in the WAC Tournament by earning the WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Award and averaged 12.3 points per game.
Basile said it hasn’t hit him yet how big his shot against New Mexico State was.
“It probably won’t hit me until I’m done with everything,” he said. “I’m just grateful for the shot and I’m just blessed. God really blessed me.”
Basile has been blown away with how much support he’s had from people in his hometown.
“I didn’t even know I had that much support at home,” he said. “It’s crazy. I always looked up to this guy, Tommy Mason-Griffin. Growing up where I’m from everyone watched him, and then now everyone is watching me. So, for it to flip like that, it’s crazy.”
After beating the Aggies 57-54 for the WAC Tournament championship thanks to his game-winning three, CSUB drew the 15th seed in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Roadrunners will play second-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in Oklahoma City today at 1 p.m.
Basile said he has some family and friends going to the game.
“It’s going to be nice,” said Basile. “Nobody in my family has ever gone this far, so it’s crazy to them. For me to make them happy, that’s my ultimate goal.”
He added that he wants the team to surprise everyone.
“I want us to be the Cinderella team and to shock the world,” he said.
Senior forward and roommate Kevin Mays said Basile is a great person to be around.
“I love that guy,” said Mays. “I’ll go to war with him any day of the week. He’s a silent assassin. He’s just ready to go, reliable dude and he’s not going to shy away from the competition or the big shot. He’s a good dude to have around.”