Trumaine Strickland felt a little homesick.
So, after playing his freshman men’s basketball season with Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia, the Tuscarora graduate decided to switch to a team located in his native Frederick County.
Strickland transferred to Hood College earlier this month, joining a program that had showed interest in the guard when he starred for the Titans.
“I wanted to get closer to home,” Strickland said. “Coach [Chad] Dickman reached out to me and we talked, and he accepted me.”
Dickman was interested in Strickland coming out of high school but knew the prospect hoped to play either Division II or Division I basketball.
“So when he ended up going to Alderson Broaddus, I wasn’t overly surprised,” said Dickman, who wished Strickland luck at the Division II school. “I kind of told him if it doesn’t work out, let us know and we’ll definitely be interested to talk again.”
Alderson Broaddus’s program went through changes by the time Strickland arrived as a freshman, including hiring a new head coach in Stephen Dye. Still, Strickland worked his way onto the Battlers’ varsity team and saw action.
The shooting guard played in 15 games, starting two, and averaged 3.6 points a game. His most productive game came against Seton Hill on Nov. 16, when he shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points.
Nonetheless, Strickland felt the pull to play somewhere closer to home, and a suitable team soon re-entered the picture.
As it turned out, Dickman knew Strickland’s Alderson Broaddus coach — Dye played for Alderson Broaddus when Dickman was an associate head coach at Wheeling Jesuit University. Back then, both of those schools played in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“As soon as I saw Trumaine’s name in the transfer portal, I reached out to my buddy who is the head coach there now,” Dickman said. “He had nothing but positive things to say.”
Dickman said Darryl Whiten, Strickland’s coach at Tuscarora, also helped connect Strickland to a college team in his native Frederick County.
“[He] was like, ‘Coach, I would love to make this happen, would love to get him to play locally,’” Dickman said.
He responded to Whiten, “’So would we. We need another ball-handling slash creator type of player.’ So, I think [Whiten] helped out a little bit as well.”
With the Titans, Strickland was Frederick County’s leading scorer his senior year in 2018-19, averaging 23.2 points a game.
What has he improved on since high school?
“I’ve been working on my catch-and-shoot and working to shoot off the dribble, trying to get more space in the offense and be a better passer, too,” Strickland said.
The 6-foot, 165-pounder also has been trying to get a little bigger.
Strickland joins a Blazers team that returns senior twins Mason and Evan Wang, who are both standout guards. While those two are expected to be team cornerstones, Hood’s guard-oriented lineup can never have enough players with Strickland’s ability.
Said Dickman, “I told Trumaine, ‘You’re going to walk into a situation where, are you going to start? Maybe, maybe not. We have two really good all-conference guards who are going to be seniors. But at worse, we’re still going to need you to play minutes.
“’And as a junior and a senior, the sky’s the limit for you because when those guys graduate, they’re leaving a huge hole of production for us,” Dickman added.
The Blazers were looking for a player of Strickland’s ability who can shoot and handle the ball. While the Tuscarora grad fits the mold of a combo guard, Dickman said his team’s style of play doesn’t pigeonhole players into specific positions.
And Dickman said Strickland wasn’t hounding him about how many minutes or points he’d potentially get this season.
“He understands that he’s going to work for everything that he gets, and that’s the type of guys we try to get now, and I think he’s going to fit in well,” Dickman said. “We’ll see what happens, but we expect him to definitely make an impact early on.”