So it turns out that David Trimble came out smoking during his freshman year at Seattle University.
Not exactly in the manner he had hoped for, but smoking nonetheless.
“I got a stick shift,” he said of the 2007 Subaru he drove in and around Seattle, “and I knew that with the hills there, you always put the parking brake on. Then one day I got in the car and started driving, and smoke started coming up.
“So I pulled over, turned the car off and called my mom. And she said, ‘David, I’m a hundred and fifty miles away. What can I do about it?”
It turned out that Trimble hadn’t completely released the parking brake, thereby causing the smoke. And no serious damage resulted from the thankfully minor mishap.
“When I talked to my mom later,” Trimble said, “she told me it was something we’d all be able to laugh about one day.”
For Trimble at least, the day turned out to be June 18. Home for a visit, he was in the Davis High School gym helping with a youth basketball camp headlined by former Washington standouts and current NBA players Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas.
“Fun to be back in the old stomping grounds,” Trimble said. “But I’d forgotten how hot this gym can get.”
For four consecutive years Trimble had helped elevate both the temperature and home team winning percentage in the Pirates’ cozy confines, especially during the 2011-12 season that culminated in the school’s second state championship.
And while the 6-foot-1 guard saw little action last winter for Seattle, he emphasized that the year was anything but wasted.
“It was my first time away from home,” he said, “and the experience was very valuable. You learn so much about just doing things, being responsible for yourself. No more mom and dad to lean on. So you come up against something and it’s like, well, I better take care of this myself.”
There was also a trip to China, which Trimble made with the Redhawks last August after enrolling in school. They played four games there, he said, one against what Trimble described as China’s Olympic junior varsity. An unforgettable experience, no?
“It really was,” he said, “I’m coming off the high of a state championship, and then one of my first experiences in college is going over there and playing. It was amazing. The culture’s different, obviously.
“Our last day there we went to the great wall, and then the next day I was home. It was the weirdest feeling — I’m like, ‘24 hours ago I was standing on the great wall of China.’”
On-court adjustments as a Redhawk, Trimble found, were no less dramatic.
“There’s an absolutely huge difference between high school basketball and basketball at that level,” he said, smiling and shaking his head. “Everything is so fast, from the pace of the games to the individual players. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming you have to take a step back and try to remember what you were good at.”
As a Davis senior, Trimble was in the thick of the action and usually the best player on the floor. Afterward he was named the state’s Player of the Year by the Associated Press and Seattle Times.
Last season he played just 79 minutes in 17 off-the-bench appearances (4.6 minutes per outing), averaging 0.4 points and 0.5 rebounds.
Then again, he was a true freshman playing at the NCAA Division I level. And he was hardly discouraged.
Asked if he expects more minutes next season, Trimble said, “Playing time isn’t something that’s set. Coach (Cameron Dollar) has always said that hard work will be rewarded with playing time, so that’s the approach all of us will take.”
Dollar, through four seasons with the Redhawks, is hoping to restore the program to its past D-I glory. His teams play home games on Elgin Baylor Court at KeyArena, after all.
Last season, Seattle’s first in the Western Athletic Conference, was rough for Dollar and his players. They finished 8-22 overall and were last in the 10-team conference standings at 3-15.
But the Redhawks listed only five seniors on their roster and just two were among the top seven scores. So better days figure to be on the horizon, and Trimble plans to be part of the upswing.
“I’ve always set goals, but my goals now are more long-term,” he said. “I like to chip away at things. Last year I wanted to get a little more involved in the rotation, and this year it’s to become more of a leader on and off the court. And I want us to come up with some more wins.”
Beyond basketball, Trimble is considering a career in physical therapy. He’s presently concentrating his studies on sports and exercise science.
But while there’s still hoops Trimble is all in, fully investing his considerable athleticism and competitive nature. He is playing in a Seattle summer league, and one can be certain that Trimble is crafting his game not necessarily to his personal liking, but toward what he deems the best interests of his team.
That rare quality was evident even when Trimble was a Davis freshman, and he carried it to a level unlike any I’ve seen in 39 years of covering prep sports.
“We played last night,” he said, “and won by eight. It’s pretty fun.”
It usually is when David Trimble is involved. Even if the parking brake’s still on.
• Roger Underwood can be reached at 509-577-7694 or at email@example.com. His Under The Radar Blog can be found at yakimaherald.com.