Auburn, ME – The Central Maine athletic department is pleased to announce Dustin West, a 6'4" forward from Madison, Maine is transferring from the University of Maine at Augusta to Central Maine this year.
At UMA last year, Dustin averaged 10 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game. He also served as the team's co-captain.
Men's Coach Dave Gonyea explains, "Dustin comes from a small school in Maine where family is the center of life and relationships are important. He craves the team first concept and is willing to do whatever he can to fit into a program that promotes team performance over individual accomplishments. At CM, team chemistry is critical to our success and I think Dustin experienced that in his visit. He will be banging with the big guys fighting for minutes. With one year of college under his belt, I suspect he has an advantage over freshmen especially with his experience."
Dustin answered the questions below:
Why did you choose CM?
I chose to transfer to CM firstly because of the academic aspect. After meeting with Coach Gonyea and touring the campus, I immediately was introduced to the Criminal Justice program, and I was shown many of the benefits to completing my degree at CM. I also felt welcomed as soon as I stepped foot on campus. Whether it was Coach waiting happily in his office for me to arrive, or the people we saw around campus who were always smiling and happy to meet me, CM immediately felt like home.
I also made my decision based on the perennial excellence of the Men's Basketball team. Lead by Coach Gonyea, he has taken a two-year school and made their basketball program a force to be reckoned with. After talking in-depth with Coach regarding the overall philosophies of the team, and more intricately about the systems used and flow of the game, I felt I could be a very strong contributor for a team that works will with my personal style of play.
What did you like most about the campus?
Upon visiting CM for the first time, I was instantly greeted by many smiling faces who were excited to meet me, a few of whom even knew my name with no prompting from Coach Gonyea. It was nice to feel so welcomed to a place where I have no prior connections. Another thing that stuck out to me was how well kept campus was overall. The interiors of all of the buildings were just as clean as the exteriors, the faculty had a friendly and professional demeanor, and you immediately feel like a part of the CM family as soon as you walk around.
I was also very impressed by the apartments. Instead of a usual dorm room, the apartments are laid out like a suite, with 4 single-person rooms being joined together by a common living room, and an on-suite bathroom. As someone who is big on team chemistry, and becoming a family with my teammates, I instantly knew this would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about my teammates, and hang out with them off the court as well. I also think this is a great idea due to the availability of peers to help you if you need anything academically. If you share an apartment with someone in your class, you'll be able to communicate regarding assignments, study for tests together, and ensure you don't forget to do any simple homework assignments after a late practice or road game.
How do you think playing college basketball will differ from your previous experience?
Playing basketball at CM will be an excellent fit for me, and will differ from my previous college experience by providing me with an up-tempo game on a very deep team. I have never had the luxury of having 10 or more teammates behind me waiting for the opportunity to jump in and give it their all, so it will be a big change. I look forward to a roster with more players on it to keep the practices competitive, and keep everyone in it mentally when game time rolls around. I also like the idea that there will be pressure to perform well during games and practices, because if you're not performing well, somebody else will be giving their all trying to get your minutes.
What are you most looking forward to about attending and playing basketball at CM?
I look forward to finishing my degree, and building connections in the professional field that I can utilize upon graduation. I also look forward to making friends with my teammates, and forming a brotherhood that extends on and off of the court. Playing at CM will present me with a challenge with many people rarely face, and will give me an opportunity to play in an excellent program, under a Hall Of Fame head coach.
What do you think you can bring to the team next year?
On top of my prior college experience, which consists of two years playing, one as a captain, at UMA, I think that I bring many of the intangibles the team looks for. I bring hustle during games and practices, and I'm a very competitive person, so I will push those around me to be the best they can be. I am willing to work hard, and while I want to be the best player I can be, my primary focus is finding a way to help this team win games as we look toward a National Championship run.
I also bring motivation to the team. After breaking both of my wrists my senior year of high school, I was told I'd never be able to play basketball again. I fought my way back through months of physical therapy and working out-- and was given a chance to play again. I'm very grateful that I'm able to play the game I love, and I'm motivated to keep working to be the best player I can possibly be, because there are people who have had career-ending injuries and did not receive the opportunity to come back and play, so I can't let my chance go to waste.
In terms of my tangible assets, I bring my personal ability to score, and create opportunities for other people on the floor. My shooting ability allows me to take very high percentage from anywhere on the floor while not disrupting the flow of the offense. This also forces defenses to keep a man close to me, which will open up the floor for the other four people on the court with me. I also look to create for my teammates often, and am constantly trying to find the highest percentage shot for the team to take.
Describe your basketball experience.
I have played basketball since I can remember. Growing up, my older brother of 10 years was one of the best players in the state, so I always had big shoes to fill. Being the shortest out of all of my siblings, it was a struggle to play the same post game that my oldest brother played, but I took his game and adapted it. This also taught me how to play outside, and made me a multidimensional player with the ability to create and score from anywhere on the court.
In high school, I played 3 years of varsity basketball, taking two trips to the Class C State Tournament, losing in the first round once, then hitting two foul shots to put us in a position to win, which we would capitalize on, after that. My senior year, we lost in a prelim game by 3 points.
Upon coming to UMA, I began the season coming off of the bench as the 6th man, but due to an injury to a starter, saw myself getting starter minutes as a freshman. With two seniors on the team who made themselves known as two of the better players in the conference, I quietly made my contributions, and studied them to see how I could improve. My sophomore year at UMA, I was named one of two captains, along with another sophomore, Noah Thompson. My sophomore campaign was a bit more pronounced than my freshman year, featuring a 27-point game against UMaine-Machias, where I hit 7 of my 10 3 point attempts.
What is your biggest strength in basketball?
My biggest strength is my athleticism paired with my knowledge of the game. While I'm capable of scoring when I need to, I am always looking to get the highest percentage shot possible, whether I take it or someone else on the floor does. I'm a very unselfish player, and my biggest goal is to find my role, and contribute to the team's success from that role.