With the jarring abruptness of a final buzzer, his university basketball career was over, and it’s almost unbelievable to Trevor Severinski.
It ended a month ago in the final four playoffs, as his University of Saskatchewan Huskies lost in the Canada West semi-finals to the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
Suddenly, basketball is not the focus.
“It’s weird … not to be around the team,” he said. “Five years went by really fast.”
There’s a country song in there somewhere, he says.
One of the greatest players in the history of the storied Pitt Meadows secondary basketball program, he was a first-team all-star at the provincial finals, and played on a team that won the Fraser Valley championships in his Grade 12 year, 2012.
Longtime Marauders coach Rich Goulet called Severinski one of the best players he coached in his 40-year high school career. He was a kid with the size of a centre at six-foot-six, but was also one of the school’s best ever at three-point shooting.
That did not translate into immediate success at the CIS level, and he was coming off the bench for the first three years.
“The difference was huge. It’s more professional, and everything is a lot more serious,” he said.
Playing against CIS veterans is like posting up against a construction crane – big and solid. And everyone can shoot and pass.
This past year he has enjoyed starting the last half of the season, starting 15 games in total and averaging 28 minutes per game, while scoring 8.6 points per contest.
Severinski says the biggest difference between the rookie who joined the Huskies five years ago and the man who started this year: “Fire.”
“I started playing with more of an edge, and asserting myself,” he said.
He had put in the time in the gym, and could match up physically with anyone.
“You’ve got to get in there and mix it up.”
The highlight for him was in his third season, as the Huskies hosted the Canada West Final Four, and beat the UBC Thunderbirds in an “incredible atmosphere” in the final. They went on to the nationals in Toronto, and finished fifth.
He had offers from two B.C. universities, but having grown up working on a dairy farm, he chose Saskatchewan for its agricultural programs.
“Moving out here was a huge decision for me, but it helped me grow a lot.”
He said the biggest difference was in his day-to-day life as a student – with nobody to drive him to school or make sure his homework was done, he had to grow up fast.
“It’s all about self-motivation.”
Elite high school players in B.C. often dream about playing in the U.S., but Severinski said the CIS is a great level of competition to aspire to, and they can stay in their home country.
His playing days are not done, but they will be limited to “kicking around rec centres.”
His father Leroy and other family members have been local basketball coaches, and he’s kicked that idea around, too. There are fewer and fewer elite-level coaches involved in high school basketball in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows area.
“My mom [Darlene] always bugs me about it. She thinks I would make a good coach,” he said. “I love the game a lot.”
But he plans to take care of his professional career first.
Severinski emerges with a degree in agri-business, and said “with that, there’s tonnes of different opportunities.”
He could get involved in machinery or crop sales, or even farm financing. He plans to move back in with his family this summer, then “see where the job opportunities take me.”