Some might think he is playing the wrong sport. Some might think he is the luckiest guy in the world. To freshman men’s basketball player Dillon Gretzky, however, having Wayne Gretzky as a part of your family is pretty awesome to say the least.
Yes, “The Great One,” is an uncle of the young, 6’1” guard of Grinnell, Iowa. Many think of him as the greatest hockey player to have ever played the game, but to Dillon, he is just “Uncle Wayne.”
“Knowing that he is one of the best hockey players of all time and a great athlete as well, makes it pretty neat in itself,” Gretzky said. “Hockey is not a huge sport in the state of Iowa, so there are a few people who do not know who he is.”
Gretzky played roller and ice hockey when he was younger, but since it was not popular he decided not to pursue it anymore.
“If I did I would have to quit all the other sports I played,” Gretzky said.
Gretzky stuck with basketball throughout his playing career.
As a prep at Grinnell High School, Gretzky was a three-year letter winner, earning all-conference and all-district honors his junior year. Due to a football injury his senior year, Gretzky only played in 11 games for the Tigers.
His game on the court drew many college basketball programs’ attention like Grinnell College, Loras, Northwestern College, Buena Vista and Upper Iowa.
But none of the schools stood out more than Simpson.
“I chose Simpson because I felt like it was the right place for me,” Gretzky said. “The school, the teachers and the students all seemed great. The coaching staff for the basketball team is unbelievable and they are all great coaches. I really like the style the team plays as well.
As far as his college basketball career goes, Gretzky has enjoyed every second of it and has enjoyed the transition from the high school level to the collegiate level.
“It has been a great experience for me being able to play against great competition playing with the guys,” Gretzky said. “I think I am doing a good job with the transition from high school to college. Listening to my teammates and coaches has made the transition a lot easier as well as knowing they have the experience and are willing to help.”
Two of those mentors of Gretzky’s include senior captains Elijah Knox and Ryan Stumbo.
“They are great teammates and have always given me advice when I ask for it,” Gretzky said. “They even suggest different things to help improve my game.
The basketball team as a whole, Gretzky describes the squad as being a tight-knit group, almost like another family.
“The team is really close and everyone enjoys being around one another on and off the court,” Gretzky said. “The guys are really easy to get along with as well as the coaches making it a good experience. There is a family atmosphere with the team, bringing everyone close and always having a good time.
The Storm, now 3-4 on the year, are on the road and will be battling against North Central College in Naperville, Ill. Saturday. Their next home game will not be until Jan. 12 against Wartburg College in conference play.