Darrion Trammell didn’t have a single Division I offer coming out of Saint Ignatius High School in San Francisco, so he spent a year at Golden State Prep (Napa, California). Still nothing.
Trammell then averaged 10.3 points, 4.4 steals and 4.1 assists at City College of San Francisco. The team went 30-0. It was enough to get Trammell an offer from Seattle University. He took it because it was the only Division I offer he had.
He joined San Diego State for the 2022-23 season and when he got emotional after hitting the free throw Sunday afternoon that sent the Aztecs to their first-ever Final Four, it’s easy to understand why.
“Man, I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life,” Trammell told CBS Sports’ Evan Washburn. “I’m just grateful to be here. Appreciate everyone for believing in me. I’m just super excited right now. I can’t even put this into words.”
"It's all about believing in yourself" 👏
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 26, 2023
Before the game, Trammell was asked about his 21-point outing against No. 1 overall seed Alabama in the Sweet 16 and whether there were points this season when he heard criticism regarding his lack of offensive output.
He pointed to his faith in his answer.
“I think it’s God’s time for me,” Trammell said. “I feel like I put in the work. Whether shots go in or not, I feel like I bring the defensive intensity that my team needs every night and that leadership my team needs every night.”
The Marin City, California, native entered the transfer portal following two highly productive seasons at Seattle (2020-2022) in which he averaged 18.7 points and 5.1 assists in 54 games. San Diego State had a strong group of players returning from a team that went 23-9 last season and sold Trammell on the idea that he could be the final piece needed for a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Though his scoring effectively got cut in half (9.9 points per game this season), he’s embraced the Aztecs’ defense-first mentality and found a program that fits his personality.
“I knew it was an underdog, chip-on-the-shoulder culture,” Trammell told The Athletic. “It wasn’t about coming to a team where I was gonna be the guy or everything runs through me. It was just about coming to a place where I know I can fit and be surrounded by like-minded guys.”
In San Diego State’s last three games, Trammel has contributed 46 total points. On Sunday, with the program’s first trip to the Final Four on the line and the score tied at 56, Trammell drew a foul on Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard in the game’s final second. He missed the first free throw but hit the second, and the Aztecs survived.
“That the moment wasn’t too big for me,” Trammell said when asked what he was thinking about after the missed free throw. “Through everything I’ve been through, I feel like the opportunity was just set there for me. It was God’s timing. I just had to believe in that. Just having that confidence that, yeah, I missed the first one, but I definitely wasn’t going to miss the second one.”
Back in November, Trammell posted a series of pictures on Instagram with the caption, “They ask me how this happen, I just tell ’em God work.”
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Standing between the Aztecs and the national championship game is No. 9-seed Florida Atlantic. The teams meet at 6:09 p.m. ET on Saturday with the winner facing either UConn or Miami. Both games are on CBS.
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