He’s with a new team, but Trevor Severinski still bleeds green.
His former high school coach with the Pitt Meadows Marauders, Rich Goulet, called him “the heart of our team the past two years.” He’s a player brimming with both ability and loyalty.
He has taken those qualities to the University of Saskatchewan, pulling on a Huskies’ green jersey, and giving his new CIS team all he’s got.
His new teammates appreciate the rookie’s hard work and positive attitude.
“He has fit in extremely well here,” said his new head coach Barry Rawlyk.
Severinski is averaging 14 minutes of floor time through his first half of a Canada West season (10 games).
“First-year forwards typically don’t get that much burn early in the season, but he has come in and shown some composure,” said Rawlyk.
The numbers have been modest: 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. But his coach expects Severinski’s role with the team to increase in the second half.
More than that, he has shown he can give his team a boost. In games against University of B.C. and the University of Victoria, Severinski came off the bench and knocked down a couple of big three-pointers. He refined his three-point shooting at Pitt, where he holds the school record for career treys with 175. His Huskies lost to UBC, who are ranked third in Canada, by a score of 84-81, but beat UVic 90-74.
Severinski got lots of time in those games, 26 and 25 minutes respectively, and had a solid stat line against UVic with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The challenge for him is what you would expect for a CIS rookie: “Everybody is stronger, faster and smarter – everyone can play the game.”
As young athletes progress they are regularly making jumps to the next level – from elementary to junior, from junior to senior, and then – if they are good enough – from high school to college or university. Severinski said going from high school hoops to Canada West has been the toughest transition yet.
“At first, it was definitely intimidating,” he conceded, back home for Christmas break, and reflecting on his start as a CIS player.
At six-foot-six, on a team in desperate need of some height, he has been thrown into the fight on the paint. It almost sounds like he’s joined the UFC.
“It’s a war down there, there’s elbows everywhere, and you’re butting heads all game long,” he said. “I’m an 18-year-old playing against 20 and 21-year-olds, and they are brick houses.”
Severinski is farm strong, but knew right away he had some work to do if he wasn’t going to concede a physical edge to his rivals. He turned himself into a gym rat – working hard on his core strength. Soon he noticed a difference in his ability to play inside, and his coach has seen it too.
“I’ve seen a metamorphosis in him already, with our training program,” noted Rawlyk.
Off the court things are going well. Severinski comes from a farm family, worked on the Davison Dairy Farm, and wanted to study agriculture at university.
“That’s the reason I’m there – they have one of the best agriculture programs in the country, and they wanted me,” he said.
He enjoys the media and public interest in the team, and the support that Prairie people give their athletes.
“In Saskatoon they definitely love their Huskies,” he said.
If there is any drawback to his new life in Saskatoon, you can’t get it out of Severinski. But his coach mentioned it.
“I understand the only thing that was a bit of a shock to him was the weather” chuckled Rawlyk. “I see you had a bit of snow recently too, but was it minus 33?”
After the holidays, as Severinski packed up his new toques and scarves and heads back to the Prairies, he returns with some valuable experience, a stronger player, and one who wants help get his team into the playoffs.
They are presently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the tight Prairie conference, with a 6-4 record, with 5-5 Lethbridge right behind them.
“I want to be a significant factor.”
“We’re as pleased as we could be, to have him,” Rawlyk said. “We see some great things for him over the course of his career.”
Severinski has circled an early second-half game on his calendar – Jan. 12 against the Trinity Western University Spartans, when he meets his old Marauders teammate Matt Blackaby, in front of their families and friends.
“That should be a good game.”