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NCAA Tournament star's northwest connections helped prepare him for bright lights of March Madness

San Diego State guard Darrion Trammell played for Alex Pribble at Seattle University before leading the Aztecs to the Final Four.

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the college basketball world prepares for tomorrow's Final Four, one of the tournament's stars this year has roots in the northwest. It just so happens one of his former assistant coaches was just hired as head coach at Idaho.

The years long bond between Alex Pribble and San Diego State senior guard Darrion Trammell has helped prepare Trammell for the bright lights of March Madness.

Before he was knocking down the game winning free throw to send the Aztecs to the Final Four, Trammell received his first opportunity to play at a four year college from Seattle University and a coach he has known since he was eight years old.

"He used to come to our summer camps and I don't even think he was old enough to come to the camps at the time. He was just a little fireball just like he is right now, competing so hard every time he steps on the court," Pribble said. 

Trammell began his college career at City College of San Francisco and his previous relationship with Pribble helped go a long way towards the offer to play at Seattle.

"I have really followed Darrion's journey very closely all the way through high school through prep school through City College of San Francisco and his junior college career, so when the opportunity to recruit him to the four year level came, we jumped at the chance," Pribble said.

Trammell became the WAC's leading scorer in his first season at Seattle and continued to impress Coach Pribble with his insatiable work ethic.

"He is one of those kids that would hit the weight room, practice, have his individual session with a coach and then he would come back in at night to get shots up because he just could not get enough," Pribble said.

"It kind of wraps around to the message I was telling our current players at Idaho which is that if they put in the time and work, you never know what can happen. Darrion is a perfect example of that, he has kind of always been counted out as a smaller player on the court, but he trusts the work he has put in and that has led to success at every level," Pribble said. 

Following back to back first team All-WAC seasons, Trammell entered the transfer portal and landed at San Diego State. He credits much of his success to the help he received from Pribble throughout his life.

"We have a lot of family ties and ultimately (Pribble) was the reason for pushing me to Seattle U and give me that opportunity. I went there and he helped me a lot I.Q. wise and helped me understand the game offensively. He has just been a big part of my life," Trammell said.

The tight bond between Pribble and Trammell is evident in how excited both are for each other's futures.

"(Trammell) was a great player for us at Seattle University and that opened up some doors for him at San Diego State University and he ended up taking that team to the Final Four. I could not be prouder or happier for that young man," Pribble said. 

"Congratulations to (Coach Pribble) on getting the job at Idaho. I am definitely excited for him and what he has cooking for that school. He is definitely going to change the culture there," Trammell said.

Pribble and his wife Camille are expecting their first child this weekend, but he still says he will be glued to the television tomorrow to watch Trammell attempt to lead the Aztecs to their first national championship game in school history.

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