By John D’Abruzzo
Brandon Domenick just wanted to play basketball.
As a redshirt freshman earlier this year at Division II Gannon University in Erie, Domenick realized he might not have too much time left as a player and decided to make a move in order to fulfill his goal of competing at the college level.
“Last summer, I got a concussion,” the 5-foot-9 guard said. “Right before this season, I got another one and it was my third one I had since I was at Gannon. Every one of them happened while practicing.”
After sitting out two months this winter, doctors gave Domenick the green light to return to court. He, though, believed he would need to go elsewhere in order to receive playing time, so he headed home to Lawrence County and transferred to Westminster College.
“I knew at Gannon I would have to split time with two other guys,” said Domenick, who transferred during Christmas break. “I also knew Westminster needed a point guard.”
“I figured I might not play forever, so I might as well play while I still can.”
After working his way into the Titans’ lineup, Domenick quickly became a key acquisition for Westminster. Through nine games, he averaged 6.2 points and 4.9 assists while logging in 29.4 minutes a game.
“The best part of Brandon coming here is that he really reminds me of myself,” Westminster head coach Kevin Siroki said. “He’s a hard-nosed guy who doesn’t take anything from anyone. He’s a leader and we’re already seeing that from him.”
“Coming in during the second semester, he got to know the guys and they know he’s a leader who will give everything he has every day. What I really love about him is that he’s only going to get better.”
A 2013 graduate of nearby New Castle High School, Domenick scored 840 career points as a four-year starter for the Red Hurricanes. During his senior year, he helped New Castle set a school record with 29 consecutive wins.
“They have a great program at New Castle,” Siroki said. “He knows about winning. The guys see him and see how he carries himself on and off the court.”
Domenick finished his high school career as New Castle’s all-time leader in assists (541) and 3-pointers (207).
“As a high school player, Brandon is everything you look for in a point guard,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “He’s just about perfect in every regard; he has a great handle of the ball, he’s an excellent passer and he can shoot.”
“His commitment to the game and ability to keep learning is off the charts. His work ethic is outstanding. He has experienced winning because he is a winner. He’s a great get for Westminster.”
Blundo, a former college player, transferred from Division I Monmouth University and finished his final two years at Westminster. For Domenick, it only made sense to contact his former coach and ask for advice.
“He told me it was the best decision he ever made,” Domenick said. “He knew how much I wanted to play and wanted to play as much as I could now.”
Blundo graduated from Westminster in 1995 and returned a decade later for a three-year stint as an assistant coach.
“I’m a Westminster guy and I have a strong allegiance to my alma mater,” Blundo said. “Kevin and Brandon are a match made in heaven. Brandon is a great student of the game and he’s only going to continue to learn and get better.”
Siroki also hopes the addition of Domenick may help in recruiting local talent. Domenick along with sophomore guard Tre Major, a Union High graduate, remain the only two Lawrence County products on Westminster’s roster.
“We want to start winning here and it’s only a matter of time,” Siroki said. “It’s a rebuilding process. We have guys who believe, and we’ll get there.
“We’re happy to have Brandon and we know New Castle basketball has a great following and they now have a chance to see him play closer to home.”
Against Washington & Jefferson College on Jan. 21, Domenick poured in four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points and seven assists to help Westminster earn a 92-50 Presidents’ Athletic Conference victory. The Titans improved to 5-12 overall and 2-6 against PAC opponents.
“We’re doing all the right things, but we need to stay on course to keep seeing the right results,” Domenick said. “In a lot of our games, we’ve been better than our opponents but didn’t see the right result.
“Hopefully, once we get on a roll, we’ll go from there.”