The old adage “hard work pays off” is a new reality this Cal State University Monterey Bay alum knows very well after shining at ’21 TBL Summer League
This is his turn.
This is Dylan Crane’s story.
Bakersfield, California — My foundation has always been rooted in God first and my family. I believe I was blessed with the best family in the world; full of love, great souls, wisdom, competitive drive, faith, and support.
There’s a closeness that I don’t feel anywhere else.
They shaped my character and keep me moving forward. Growing up with my grandfather as the Pastor of a church, possessing faith was a widespread theme in our household. I learned that all you need is faith the size of a grain of mustard seed to accomplish so much in this life. Having this foundation, I know that it was purely through my unwavering hard work and deep faith that led me to the professional level of playing basketball.
From a young age, I was always one to be outside playing all types of sports and games with my siblings and cousins. But ultimately, it was watching my mother and older brother battle it out playing one-on-one basketball, that sparked my true competitiveness and interest. I believe my mother won the game all the time, which makes sense why she chose not to face us while we were older and much taller; but that’s another story.
Until high school at Pioneer High School , I treated basketball like the rest of my hobbies, and didn’t have a fiery love for the game.
That all began to change when I became one of four sophomores on our JV team to get moved up to play Varsity. It was nothing like the slower paced middle school ball I was used to. I’m not the typical high school basketball star that I’ve seen or heard many times before. My entire journey was about learning the game and improving my skills to compete with anyone. There were new formations, new terms, and a whole different level of experienced minds. Needless to say, that year we lost all but three games. However, something about that moment in time triggered a love for basketball. I knew then that his is what I would go onto perform professionally.
That postseason summer of 2012, during a trip visiting family in Virginia, I was introduced to a family friend who was a basketball skills trainer. For the duration of that trip I training at least twice a day, starting at 5:00 am. We ran bleachers, worked on cone drills and always stretched for a long time. Waking up that early was a different world to me at the time but it gave me a new perspective on how precious time is and how much you can improve through quality focused work. I took the knowledge with me back home and began waking myself up at 5:00 am. I’d workout in front my house on my hoop for a couple of hours before getting ready for school. Doing this boosted my confidence tremendously and the results were showing.
Over the course of my high school seasons, the day after day grind began paying off and the rewards followed. I was able to get my first in-game dunks, alley-oops and confidently shoot my shots that I steadily worked on. I finished my high school career with All-Tournament awards, Outstanding Offense awards from my team and honored 1st Team All-Conference from the Santa Teresa League league. My Senior season, I was chosen to be an All-Star for our league and went onto win All-Star Dunk Contest. I’d truly say it was a great step in my balling journey.
My Sophomore year at De Anza College was another major turning point in my basketball life. The start of the season was a week away and I wasn’t touching the floor as much as I thought I should, nor was our year starting off the way we wanted. Like clockwork, on the first game of the season, I got my start. I didn’t take my opportunity lightly by any means. I went on to start the rest of the season and averaged about 20 points per game in the process. This helped lead our team to play the Coast Conference leaders for first place in our last game of the year. It was a nail-biting game that came down to the last minute, where they came out on top leaving our team second place in the Coast Conference, only losing to the conference Champions. Following the season, I was gratefully awarded 1st Team All-Conference at the leagues year-end ceremony.
That year earned me a scholarship to play my remaining two years at Cal State University – Monterey Bay. The team was in the process of rebuilding for these couple of years, with a new coaching staff and a mixture of new and existing players. During those two years, I learned the most about basketball than I ever had before. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about the game. I had no idea how much more mental this game is and how much strategy matters at higher levels. Up to this point, I had been a visual and kinetic learner, basically mimicking what I had seen done. In my career, this has been both a gift and minimal curse.
The bottom line is, I don’t move to the same beat or rhythm that others do.
I just know how to outwork people and play to my strengths. We didn’t go onto achieve anything great those two seasons, but that time at CSUMB molded me and my game into what I needed it to be moving forward. Although it was the end of college ball, with my potential steadily rising, I knew there was more to give. Following college, the global pandemic shut down everything and gave everyone an opportunity to rest and find themselves, including me.
When the dust settled, I came across the TBL while working a 12 hour overnight shift for Tesla.
It was about the TBL Las Vegas Summer League of 2021. Although, I continued to work on my game in the mean time, I turned it up a few notches in preparation to play professionally. When the days came for TBL Summer League, I showed up and went to work, and ultimately landed a few opportunities. Deciding to stay in California, I played for the Bakersfield Magic in my first year, in TBL and now currently for the rebranded, Bakersfield Majestics. For all who may read this, just know that if you stay true to yourself, have faith and put in the work, you can accomplish anything you set your heart on.
My first TBL season came with its own set of challenges. I knew when I came in, it didn’t matter how the season would turn out, I would stick it through till the end with the guys. We ended that year in the first round of playoffs with just five guys available to play and only lost by single digits. Throughout that year, my numbers began to climb and I was able to end the season with 17 points per game, as well as finish in the “Top 3” among league leaders in 3-point percentage.
This season we started off strong and were able to make a solid run in the beginning of season. I was also elected as a team Captain this year, which means a lot to me. My performances earned me the honor of being the first player from Bakersfield voted to compete in the TBL All-Star Game. The experience was major for me, and rejuvenated the drive that drove me to reach this point. Throughout the season, we’ve had our fair share of vital changes and smoothing things out on our own. Through it all, we’ve discovered all we needed to keep moving forward. I’d describe this season as a fun challenge. I’ve learned at this point in the season that every team competes and every team is also beatable. So come playoff time, the true test of who’s ready in that moment, will come out on top in the end.
The city of Bakersfield means a lot to me, its where my mothers side of the family is from and where I’ve always received love and support. I’d come here often growing up to visit and never will forget the fun or summer heat, spending time with family. The fact that I was able to come to this city and etch a bit of history in a place I consider a home, that has been nothing less that an honor.
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Wendell Maxey is the author of Around The Basketball League and has written about professional basketball and sports for 20 years. He’s been featured on NBA.com, ESPN.com, USA Today, FOX Sports, and SLAM Magazine among other publications and media outlets. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or read through his archive on Linktree.