Junior guard selected Nat'l Player of the Year
Plus, a look-back at Dominique's prep career
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- If his propensity as a catalyst on offense and defense doesn’t get your attention, his uncanny skills at momentum swaying surely will.
On the biggest stage and under the brightest lights in the NAIA, he appealed like an oak tree attracts lightning.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s men’s basketball team (33-5), fresh from their unprecedented surge to the national championship game, have begun to count their post-season blessings, which has brought its share of recognition.
Dominique Rambo, the team’s 5-foot-10 stimulus package, garnered high praise when the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced him as its National Co-Player of the Year.
The junior is sharing the award with Vic Moses, the 6’6, 250-lb senior forward from Georgetown College (Ky), the team who wears the NAIA title crown. Moses averaged 17.0 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per outing.
Rambo’s play in Kansas City at the national tourney won games and hearts.
His 19.5 ppg average ranked 14th in the NAIA and was second in the Red River Athletic Conference to LSU-Shreveport’sRodney Milum (22.9).
Rambo's penchant for playmaking included breaking down a defense with penetrating drives, finishing with layups, assists (4.0 apg, #28 in NAIA), or by drawing fouls. He was sixth in the country in free throw attempts.
Setting up teammates with helping passes is a big part of his game, and on some occasions, he takes a comfortable backseat.
Teams who packed it in to prevent his mercurial dashes in the paint or along the baseline often paid the price as he would begin launching the “Rambo rainbows” from beyond the arc. He connected for 76 triples, ranking 25th in the country.
Making an average of two treys per game, sometimes at less than scary accuracy, doesn’t wow the opposition. It is when he makes them that is frightening. Especially when he appears to have an off-night in a tight game.
Rambo was ruinous to defenses under pressure. He is able to catch fire in an instant, like tissue brushing against a smoldering log. In a flash he turns from Jethro Bodine into Dash Riprock.
Often times it isn’t a surge of swishes from downtown that ignites his game.
As the nation’s best at making steals (3.55 spg), Rambo bagged 135 take-aways, thirty-eight more than his closest competitor. He pawned what he lifted into breakaway cash.
Rambo had a steal in every game but one, and had three or more in 26 games. The ball-burglar swiped between five and nine steals in 12 contests. He had 19 in the first four games of the national tournament.
Like a shark circling, sometimes his strikes were obvious. Other times, it was stealth-like after having studied opponents on film.
His four steals in 150 seconds turned a close road game on a frigid Saturday into a 12-point triumph.
In Kansas City, one game caught everyone’s eye.
Trailing by five to a physical Martin Methodist College team who began play having won 13-of-their-last-14, Rambo was a non-factor with 4:47 to play. He had made just 3-of-15 shots and had more air balls than baskets.
In a moment, like Jiffy Pop, he turned two open-court pickpockets into easy deuces. Impenetrable until then, a formidable defense was beaten twice for baseline reverse layups.
Then, out of the blue, he let sail a 30-foot trifecta from the far right wing that tickled the twine. Martin Methodist took to fouling him as he morphed into warp speed once momentum began wearing purple.
SAGU went up by nine and won, 72-68. Rambo? He scored 19 points in the closing 4:47 to finish with 28.
Known for his colorful style and crazy socks, he smiles like a butcher’s dog.
What drives Rambo is a hungry faith in the Lord that fuels his life, and in turn, his confident play, even when the magic slumbers.
Hanging by a moment, with outcome in doubt, Rambo’s knack for gripping the stage with a steal, a trey, an alley-oop pass, a stroll down the lane, or free throws when they matter most make him a catalytic agent for the Lions.
Think Superman, without the cape. And kryptonite is in short supply.
A humble heart and a cherub-like demeanor complete the soft-spoken package that makes him a favorite of many.
Speaking of fans, he has an older brother, Xavier, whom he calls the X-Man. He is a regular at home games. His heart for Ruenia, his mother, is as faithful as her attendance. They can be seen beaming with pride.
For Dominique Rambo is SAGU’s Dandy Lion.
Donnie Bostwick says
“We have a great team. This honor first goes to Christ for what he did through Dominique this season. It then goes to our team for winning games that brings this type of recognition.”
Jesse L. Godding, Athletic Director says
“What a terrific reward for a young man who did an incredible job leading our men’s basketball team all the way to the finals of the NAIA.”
“When you watch such an individual play you wonder if other people are taking notice around the country. It is great to know that the play of quality young men on our campus is being recognized and rewarded at the conference and national level.”
“I have been impressed with the maturity of Dominique this year. His comfort level as a leader has grown as his role with the team expanded. SAGU is proud of the accomplishment of Dominique and wish him continued success on and off the court.”
Chad Waller, NAIA Communications
“Dominique Rambo led the Lions to a school-record 33-win season and national runner-up finish at the championship. The Red River Athletic Conference Player of the Year led the NAIA in steals per game (3.6), ranked 14th in scoring (19.5) and 28th in assists (4.0).”
“The native of Dallas, Texas, poured in at least 10 points in 36 of his 38 games played and went for a season-high 43 against Texas Wesleyan University on March 2. For his play at the championship, which included averages of 19.0 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 steals, Rambo was named with the Charles Stevenson Hustle Award."
Tim Ferguson, Head Coach at Trinity Christian School
“Dominique Rambo came to TC-CH as a junior. From Oak Cliff, he is the hardest working player-student I have ever coached. I never had to ask him twice to do anything and he never once talked back or complained."
"He is the ultimate team player. I have seen him excel on and off the court. He was always humble and hard-working.”
While at Trinity (Cedar Hill, Tx), Rambo earned First Team All-State (*TAPPS 4A) in both basketball and football in each of his junior and senior seasons.
Rambo led the Dallas area in rushing both seasons while doing the same in steals on the court. In fact, as a junior, he collected a remarkable 17 steals in the state championship game, which the Tigers won.
That season he had a career high 21 steals in one game and almost averaged a triple double. As a senior he scored 16 points per game and eight assists.
On the gridiron, he made his mark as a running back. He picked up over 2,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns in each of his two seasons.
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at email@example.com or at 469-658-2847.
*TAPPS - Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools