This was supposed to be Daulton Hommes’ year.
After the Lynden Christian Lyncs’ season ended with a heartbreaking tri-district tournament loss last season, missing the state tournament for the first time in three years, Hommes was going to return this winter from a torn ACL and lead LC back to the Yakima SunDome his senior season.
Hommes helped the Lyncs reach the Hardwood Classic both his freshman and sophomore year. He gave good minutes as a freshman, but as a sophomore established himself as a budding star.
He received interest from Pac-12 schools and had the ability to be one of the state’s premier players in any classification, LC coach Roger De Boer said. Now standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 220 pounds, it’s easy to see why Hommes could be a potential Division-I player.
Hommes never played his junior year after tearing his ACL during summer basketball practice the second weekend of June 2013. The loss was sickening to De Boer, who said Hommes is as good of person as he is a basketball player.
But instead of showing dejection, Hommes attended every practice and game, playing a support role for his teammates. He served as an inspiration for the club, knowing he’d get one more crack at ending his LC career the way he wanted.
“For him to stick with it and basically go through every practice and game with that injury not letting it hinder him being a part of the basketball family is something you really admire,” De Boer said in a phone interview. “Last year at least he knew senior year he’d be able to come back.”
Given how much sacrifice and commitment Hommes made to the team as a junior, what happened one hour into LC’s first summer practice this last year was unfathomable. It was a collective punch to the gut of LC’s basketball team.
“It was like being in a boxing ring and taking two or three big punches from a prize fighter,” De Boer said. “Gut-wrenching, awful. Not just because we were losing a great player, but because he had gone through so much since his junior year to come back. Everyone was excited for him.”
Hommes said he instantly knew he’d torn his left knee’s ACL again once he went down.
In times of extreme adversity, typically two options present themselves: one can take a self-loathing approach to his plight, or the other choice is trying to find the positives in a sorrowful situation.
Hommes’ reaction to having the back half of his high school basketball playing career wiped away has inspired his teammates, coaches and Lynden Christian school community, and has also shown what the senior is made of.
De Boer said Hommes, who is in contention to be LC’s valedictorian, has shown self-sacrifice and tremendous amounts of selflessness all while displaying how to properly handle adversity.
For the second straight season Hommes, by his choosing, has never missed a practice or game while serving as the team’s student assistant.
“It’s been hard, but the relationships that I have built with the coaches and players has been amazing,” Hommes said in a phone interview. “It’s just been awesome to stick along with the team through the last two years. It’s not the way I would have liked it to go, but it’s still been an awesome experience and just a different perspective on life and basketball at the same time.”
For the benefit of the team, Hommes has chosen to be around the sport he loves and to be constantly reminded he can’t play, but what an impact he’s made.
He a does a bit of everything at practice from operating the clock to participating in shooting drills to pulling players aside and explaining certain concepts. He’ll also gives important tidbits and nuggets to players, informing them of how they could do something better or different, De Boer said.
He offers a unique perspective during games, giving coaching advice from a player’s position.
“That’s the cool thing about it,” De Boer said. “He is willing to do whatever it is at practice to help his teammates. He could easily be at home instead or working, but he refuses. That is why he’s such an inspiration to our basketball family.”
And Hommes will be courtside when the Lyncs (16-8) open the Hardwood Classic against Naches Valley (15-10) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at Yakima’s SunDome.
While it’s reasonable to think being around a game Hommes can’t play would be troubling, he spins that notion by using his time around basketball as a healing process.
“I believe in my faith, and that has a lot to do with it and the decision I make to be positive each time I go to practice and step on the floor,” Hommes said. “Being around (the team) also brightens my day, looking forward to each practice and each game. It’s not just me bringing positive energy, but my team brings me up, and it’s just a joy to go along this journey with them.”
Even though Hommes won’t be making a difference on the court during this year’s Hardwood Classic, he’s still holding out hope he’ll be able to return to basketball and play in college.