Trio from same junior college now helping Seattle U men’s basketball exceed expectations

With Seattle U this season, you could say that good things come in threes. Specifically, the trifecta that played for a completely different team last year.

"There wasn’t a plan for all three, but it came together just right," Redhawks coach Jim Hayford said.

Nate Robinson, Emeka Udenyi, and Darrion Trammell all played for City College of San Francisco last year. They were a perfect 30-0 at the junior college before the pandemic ended a historic year. But not before Hayford decided all three could make their mark at Seattle U.

"Everybody said, ‘Seattle, they lost everybody, it’s gonna be a rebuilding year," Hayford said. "They have us fighting for an NCAA berth as we go into the end of the season."

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"We’re getting close to playing our best ball. We haven’t played it yet. But we’re getting close," said Udenyi.

Hayford recruited Robinson first. On future trips to the Bay Area, he fell in love with how hard Udenyi played. And then he marveled at Trammell’s performance off the bench in a hostile atmosphere on the road, and leading the Rams in scoring.

"Darien shut the gym down," Hayford said of Trammel’s 21-point performance at Yuba last season. "Everybody was hating them. He was feeding off of it, making and-1s. He was throwing threes in, and I was like ‘This guy doesn’t have any offers?’"

That’s when Hayford put the other two to work.

"I’m like, I want all three. I want all three," Hayford said.

"(Darrion) was like ‘Ah, I’ll think about it,’" Robinson said of his recruiting efforts with Trammel.

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"And I was like, ‘Come on man, there’s already two of us, one more and it’s good – you need five to play."

One year later, the three are roommates and have the Redhawks on the verge of completing the regular season with a winning record.

"That was definitely something that got me here - just being able to play with guys I already played with before, I feel like we could bring a winning culture up to Seattle," Trammell said.

And a chance to earn the Redhawks’ first berth into the NCAA Tournament since 1969.

"There’s nothing but love for them," Hayford said. "They’re all great guys. They believe in what we’re building and doing."

"I mean, it’s a dream. Like when you have a dream, that close, I feel like it makes you work even harder and really focus because it’s literally right around the corner," added Trammell.

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