Dominick Mejia: The "D" factor

The "D" factor - defense, dominating, dunks, delivery pass, dribbling, downtown - is now in Raleigh.

Dominick Mejia - can a great young man with a great name (DOMINIC m English From the Late Latin name Dominicus meaning "of the Lord". This name was traditionally given to a child born on Sunday. Several saints have borne this name, including the 13th-century founder of the Dominican order of friars.) become a great player at NC State? We don't know that yet but we know he will become a factor.

Since everyone has been focusing on Mustafa Shakur, I have continued my focus on a current player that we know is in the mix to play PG and SG. Allow me to introduce you to Dominick Mejia - competitor extraordinaire.

The first time I read about Dominick I remember reading about how much of a team player and leader he was. He would have the team over to eat pizza and hangout together. He felt that they needed to be around each other as much as possible so they would have the natural instincts on the court that could only be developed off the court. That is when I said - "I really like this young man and I wish we would recruit him." I thought this young man exemplified everything you could possibly want in a kid to go along with his basketball skills. We did recruit him and he decided to come to NC State.

What about his point guard skills? First, what is a point guard? The one guard is the most important position on the basketball court. All of the positions on a five-player team are important, but the PG undeniably is the focal point - the player who starts the offense, the player who creates opportunities, the player who makes all the others better or worse. Mejia exemplifies these attributes. His skills are legit. He has very good ball handling skills and 3 point range. Need a turnover on defense - he will get it. Down 12 in the final 5 minutes and you need a win - he will win it by scoring, passing, playing defense, or setting a screen. Leadership - he is a very effective leader on and off the court.

What does Mejia's former coach think about him? When Allen speaks about Mejia and his former teammate (Evans), Coach Allen says: "They're both talented players who have had great careers. You're talking about two kids who are 1,000-point scorers in a school where we've had only six 1, 000-point scorers in history. To have them both on the same team has been remarkable."

This past season, Mejia led the Vikings in scoring with 22.9 points a game, but Evans was not far behind with an average of 20.2. Those figures alone would go a long way toward providing the Vikings with a lot of wins. Allen points out the versatility of both players on both ends of the court. "They're both great 3-point shooters," the coach said. "But they can both dribble upcourt, and they're both great defenders."

What does his former teammate, SG/SF Lance Evans think. "Dominick's smooth," said Evans. "He's not a weak player, but his game is finesse."

The best thing about Dominick is that he can do whatever is needed to win. His attitude of "team first" is applauded by his former coach and teammates. It should also be noted that he developed his skills playing in a very tough and competitive league and area in New Jersey.

He also listens to the advice of his coaches and players as he noted in an All-Star game he played in after his senior season. Mejia stated that "I made some mistakes early. It was like an individual thing with me, and I wasn't playing well until Danny (Sterling) talked to me in between the third and fourth quarters. He told me to play my game and everything would come to me. I thought about what he said and, realizing the game was close, did what he suggested. It was a fun game, but we didn't want to lose."

Oh, by the way, in the game above, Mejia won the dunk contest, finished 2nd in the 3 point contest, scored his teams last nine points, and won the MVP award. You have to love his attitude and the way he plays. Mejia is a lot better than his recruiting guru advertised rating and skill evaluation.

His coming out party was in July of 2001 at the Adidas ABCD tourney, where he put on his show of skills for the few coaches in attendance. He spent the rest of that summer and his senior year improving his overall skills and strength.

So far he has impressed our staff to the point they were able to focus only on Mustafa Shakur. Mustafa is gone but Mejia is here and we can look forward to 4 years of fun and exciting play from this young man. With our reins in good hands because of players like Mejia, our staff can now focus on the 2004 class. We are lucky to have him join our Wolfpack family. Welcome Dominick!

To read more about some of his games in the past to get you ready for his press clippings in the future. Check the links below:

TSW Mejia search
The Strutting Wolf

Mejia, Wilson catch coaches' attention at Big Time tournament
Mike DeCourcy * The Sporting News

West All-Stars Capture Albert Carino Basketball Classic
Vincent Lewis * SJSports

Witt, Mejia shoot Eastern to Olympic victory over Lenape
Courier-Post

Big fourth quarter by MVP Mejia helps West stars top East
Walt Burrows * Courier-Post

Mejia brings good cheer to Eastern in win
Jody Graves * Courier-Post

Mejia comes up big for No. 4 Eastern
Michael Radano * Courier-Post

Mejia, Evans give Eastern edge on the basketball court
Don Benevento * Courier-Post

Mejia, Haddix make top Gannett team
Walt Burrows * Courier-Post

The "D factor" is now in Raleigh and plays his home games in the ESA with a "team" of great players and coaches. I personally can't wait until the first game - GO PACK!!!

You can email the author at scott@struttingwolf.com

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