When it is 40 below zero in Fairbanks, it is still warm inside a gymnasium. At least that is the mantra that 2008 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Dominique Brinson has adhered to.
“Winters are rough but you stay pretty warm when you are inside the gym here,” Brinson said of playing college basketball at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It has been a lot of hard work. A lot of shooting, getting as many shots as I can, and practice, and studying, and then finding additional time for some more basketball work.”
All that work is paying off as the UAF senior guard, an accounting major, has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Red Lion Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday morning, according to a press release from UAF.
“I’m very happy for Dom,” UAF head coach Mick Durham said in a UAF media release. “He’s probably the hardest worker we have in the program and had a great summer. He loves to play, so it’s exciting to see him get rewarded for his play.”
Brinson scored 44 points, including a season-high 28 in last Saturday’s 89-56 victory against Western Oregon to lead the Nanooks (10-4, 5-1 GNAC) to a home sweep, which extended their winning streak to six games, with the last five wins coming in conference play.
Brinson shot nearly 62 percent (16-26 FG) for the week and drained nine three-pointers to finish the week 53 percent (9-17 3PT) from beyond the arc. In Saturday’s win, Brinson knocked down a career-best six threes while also tying a career-high with seven rebounds to go with six assists. He also netted three triples in Thursday’s 81-58 win over Saint Martin’s and finished with a game-high 16 points.
Durham credited Brinson as also playing backup point, being a defensive specialist, and the ability to get his shot going quickly in a game.
“Really it has just been finding confidence in practice and games,” Brinson said. “And the team is playing really well as a team, that allows everybody to relax and feel comfortable on the court.”
Brinson leads the Nanooks and ranks eighth in the GNAC in scoring with 15.0 points per game this season. He also ranks third in free throw percentage (.889, 40-45 FT), fifth with 2.4 treys per game and tied for 13th in three-point percentage (.415, 34-82 3PT).
“The big thing with Dom is we’ve been trying to get him to become a more consistent shooter, get his percentage up from a year ago,” Durham said. “He gained valuable experience last season as a junior in the GNAC.”
Brinson spends up to three hours a day in practice, finds additional time to shoot around and additional time to lift weights.
“My game stepped up after high school,” Brinson said. “I was always athletic, but scoring wise I didn’t really get that mind set until my first two college years. Hitting the weights has been key. I wasn’t the biggest guy in high school so it took a lot of work to get my size now.”
Brinson began his college career playing at College Of The Redwoods in Eureka California, under coach Rich Mendoza. Brinson was spotted at a team camp the Crimson Bears attended in Fairbanks which Mendoza taught at.
Two solid years in Eureka did no produce a lot of four-year college interest, so Brinson took a year off to hone his game. He contacted old coaches to improve his talent and find a home court to call his own.
UAF coach Durham saw tapes of Brinson and wanted the Alaska sharp shooter in his program.
UAF returns to action this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when the Nanooks face their in state rival Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (10-4, 3-3 GNAC) at the Patty Center.
“I am really looking forward to playing against Fossman,” Brinson said of UAA’s Haines alum Kyle Fossman. “It is a pretty exciting matchup. He is a hard working player and it is going to be a challenge for me to guard him.”
Brinson hopes to find an outlet for hoops after this season.
“I don’t see basketball ending for me,” Brinson said. “I would like to turn it into a career but really I am just focused right now to help the team make the conference tournament and, hopefully, the national tournament.”