June 19, 2010

Dearring following in Dad's footsteps

To say that the Dearring family is a basketball family might be an understatement.

Darren Dearring has been an AAU coach for 10 years. Five of those years, he's been a coach with the Net Gain 16U squad in Minnesota.

One name on his roster is very familiar: Riley Dearring.

His son.

"We have a good relationship and a close relationship so that when I tell him something he can trust me and he knows it's the right thing to do," Darren said of his son. "You have to know your child."

And Darren would know. Darren's dad was a top player in Racine, Wis., in his day and helped train him, much like he's now training Riley.

But that's not to say everything is the same.

"(The game has) changed tremendously and the kids are a lot more skilled," Darren said. "They have a lot more basketball. Back then, AAU was not as big as it is now. My AAU was time with my Dad. Now these kids play a lot more basketball.

"I don't know if they are better athletes, but they are definitely more skilled because they play a lot more basketball."

Last season as a freshman, Riley Dearring helped lead Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins to a state title. This year, though, Riley will be transferring to a smaller private school in Minneapolis (Minn.) DeLaSalle.

Which just happens to be his dad's alma mater.

"I'm looking forward to the history that DeLaSalle brings," Riley said of the move. "My aunt went there, my dad went there and hearing from them I've heard it's a great school and really close knit and everybody is a family there and I really like that. Hopkins was a big school and it was kind of easy to get lost in the shuffle."

Darren said his son's transfer has nothing to do with a conflict with the coaching staff at Hopkins or a lack of playing time.

"It wasn't about the glory, the limelight, the shine, or anything like that," Darren said. "It was about what was the best fit for him. I felt like the relationship between him and the school, and him and some of the players, just wasn't clicking, so I feel like this is the right situation for him, and it will help him in the long run."

Darren graduated from DeLaSalle in 1992 and feels the school will best prepare Riley both on the court and in the classroom.

"(DeLaSalle) really helped me academically," Darren said. "Riley is a good student and I think it would challenge him in a way where it will really push him academically."

On the court, Riley- who now stands 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds - is working on becoming a more consistent player as well as improving his jump shot.

While working out with his dad on the AAU team, he's been playing a variety of positions but is beginning to feel more comfortable in one particular role - as a point guard.

"When I run the point more I can move the ball and it opens my game up more," Riley said. "I can do a lot of stuff and I want to do."

Darren, meanwhile, said his son is playing well under pressure.

"People are going to try to put him in a box and say this, that, and the other, but as long as he keeps progressing and getting better he will be fine," Darren said.

Riley said he's also learned a lot about his game while being out on the road this summer.

"We saw some good players, some big players, some pretty athletic players," Riley said. "It's definitely been some hard work to try to play with those guys."

And while he's excited about his new start this fall, Riley realizes that he's come a long way.

"I think (playing at) Hopkins really helped me a lot," Riley said. "They gave me some of the confidence that I needed. I think playing with some of those players helped me improve and learn what I needed to do better."

And Darren couldn't be prouder of his son.

"You have to know your child," Darren said. "You have to let them fall, and help them up and get up on their own , and point them in the right direction.

"He is a better player than he was during the winter, and hopefully he will be a better player in the winter coming up here (to DeLaSalle)."



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