Through The Eyes

An Oakland Athletics site presented by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

A Legacy of my Own

By Trey Townsend

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

I’m ready to write my own story.

I know I’m just the kid that had both parents play basketball at Oakland University to some people. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about the legacy my parents left behind, and I always feel a sense of pride when I’m mentioned alongside them.

What can I say? It does feel kind of cool knowing I’m the next generation to play here. But I also want to be known for more.

Me coming to Oakland was a proud moment for my parents, but it was my decision. They’ve always wanted me to forge my own path. I was never raised to follow in their footsteps.

I can’t be my dad. I can’t be my mom. 

The only person I can be is myself, and hopefully, when it’s all said and done, I can look back proudly on my own accomplishments. My story is just starting to take shape, and I couldn’t be more excited to see where it goes. 

 

A flip-the-switch moment

In all honesty, I’ve always wanted to go to Oakland.

It goes all the way back to when I was just a little runt with a basketball in my hands. I guess you could say it’s in the genes.

The sport was just so fast-paced and competitive. Considering how competitive I am in pretty much everything I do, it was a no-brainer for me to stick with the game. I enjoyed watching it. I enjoyed playing it. I enjoyed everything about it.

I knew immediately I wanted to play at the next level, but there were never any certainties that I’d even get an offer. Oakland might have been the dream destination, but I was honestly open to any school that would give me a chance.

My phone wasn’t ringing off the hook with offers, and I just wanted to play basketball for as long as I could.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school when things really started to take flight. My school was playing another high school that had one of the top players (who ended up committing to Kentucky) in the country. We got beat pretty badly as a team, but I actually had a really good game against that player.

That was my flip-the-switch moment.

It was the moment when I realized I was capable of competing at the next level if I continued to work hard. It was the moment when all of my fears went out the window. It was the moment when I truly felt like I belonged.

That scrimmage changed my entire mindset by making a college career actually feel within reach. Not long after that game, Oakland started showing interest in me. That one moment flipped the script for everything that followed in my basketball career.

It’s pretty crazy when I think about it.

The second homecoming

I can’t even begin to describe the feelings that went through me when I was actually offered by Oakland. 

What is there to say when you fulfill a lifelong dream of yours?

I guess the first thing I could do is thank my parents for believing in me from the very beginning. They’ve always told me that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. I know some might brush that off as sounding too cliché, but I’m living proof to the contrary.

If you work hard, you can achieve anything.

Signing with Oakland kind of felt like a second homecoming. I’ve been around the campus pretty much my whole life attending games and youth camps. I kind of grew up here. Coach Greg Kampe also coached my dad when he went to school here. So he’s had a good relationship with my family for years. It honestly just made the entire transition to college so much easier.

But I do have to admit one thing: I was a little intimidated by the sort of playing time I got right off the bat. I was kind of under the impression that I wouldn’t really start playing until my sophomore or junior year. I figured they just wanted me to come in, work out, and get into the flow of things.

That jump from high school to college is such a big transition. You basically go from being the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond. All of the incoming players here are the best from their hometowns. So they’re either as good as you or better.

I used that as motivation to continue improving and evolving my game. I was just a freshman from a small pond, right? What did I have to lose?

I put in the work and eventually earned the starting role as a freshman.

Getting that opportunity showed me that I can compete at this level. It gave me the confidence I needed to push forward as a player.

 

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That jump from high school to college is such a big transition. You basically go from being the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond. All of the incoming players here are the best from their hometowns. So they’re either as good as you or better.

The end goal

My goal is to continue riding this rollercoaster for as long as possible.
I’m just thankful for the guys ahead of me who have been willing to lend an ear and give me advice. That kind of knowledge is invaluable, and I never take it for granted. My hope is to improve to the point where I can one day play professionally somewhere.

Yes, I know—that’s just about every player’s goal, right?

I just want to keep playing this sport for as long as I can. Don’t worry, my plan B option is in the works as well. I’m doing my best in balancing both school and basketball to eventually graduate and get a college degree.

But the most important thing for me right now is creating great memories.

I want to forge the sort of friendships with my teammates that last a lifetime. These kinds of opportunities don’t come around often, and I plan on taking advantage of every moment.

I want people to look back on my career and know that I left everything on the court. I want to be remembered as a great teammate and an even better friend.

That’s how I want my story to be written.

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