Dominique Elliott’s homecoming on January 16, 2016 was bittersweet.
Sure enough the Savannah native was glad to see his family and friends but it wasn’t all joy because Elliott and his University of Maryland Shore teammates lost their game at Savannah State 68-61.
Close to 100 family and friends came to watch the former Groves High School basketball star play SSU in Tiger Arena.
His mother, Tresa, made the trip from Atlanta to see her son play. It was her first time seeing Dominique play a college game in Tiger Arena.
“It was my first time seeing him play for UMES in Savannah but we have made several trips to Maryland to see him play college games,” she said.
Although they lost the game, Dominique didn’t disappoint those that came to see him.
The 6-9, 260-pound senior forward got off to a sluggish start and only had six points and three rebounds at intermission. He ended the contest with 14 points and 11 a game-high rebounds, despite playing with four fouls.
He also delighted the crowd with a pair of two-handed dunks.
When asked how it felt to come back to play in his hometown, he said “It was wonderful. We didn’t get the win but I liked the environment. It’s nothing like home.”
UMES led by six points early in the game but found themselves down 33- 24 at the half.
Savannah State increased their lead to14 with 11:44 to go in the second half but Maryland Eastern Shore mounted a comeback that sliced their deficit to 57-53 with 3:20 remaining.
The Hawks would not get any closer as SSU pulled out the hard fought win.
During his senior year at Groves, Dominique caught the eye of college recruiters. The Rebels were one of the top teams in the state and Dominique was a part of a squad that had a 29-game winning streak and finished the year with a 30-2 record.
He said that he could have played at SSU but he really wanted to leave the city and play in a different atmosphere.
He landed at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
As a freshman, he averaged 8.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and during his sophomore campaign he averaged 7.5 points and 6.8 rebounds and was ranked and one of the top 30 juco players in the nation.
Dominique was being recruited by former UMES assistant Marlon Terry and ended up signing with the Hawks, who like Savannah State, competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Dominique sat out the 2013-14 season but last year he made the All-MEAC team for his outstanding play.
Before the 2015- 16 season got underway, Dominique was named to the preseason all-conference squad.
UMES head coach Bobby Collins is pleased with the play of his senior center
“Dom played pronominal for us last year. He seems to be a good fit for our system. He is a great young man.”
Long-time Groves assistant coach Emmett Ready liked what he saw in Dominique’s play against the Tigers.
“He looked good,” said Ready. “He rebounded well and played a lot more physical”, he added.
The Elliott family showed some southern hospitality to the UMES men’s and women’s basketball teams the day before the game. Dominique’s grandmother, aunts and cousins got together and served the teams a soul food meal.
The son of Nathan Sampson, Jr. and Tresa Elliott, Dominique is scheduled to receive his undergraduate degree in sociology from UMES in May. He says that a few pro scouts are looking at him and he wants to play professional basketball in the NBA but also says that playing overseas is an option.
After saying his goodbyes to family and friends, Dominique and his teammates boarded the team bus to their next game in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Against South Carolina State on Jan. 18, Dominique had 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a 68-63 loss to the Bulldogs but UMES bounced back to defeat Bethune-Cookman 74-72 on Jan 23 as Elliott had 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
“There’s nothing like family”, says Dominique.
SSU Booster Club To Meet There will be a SSU Community Booster Club meeting on January 27, 2016 at 7p.m. in the Multipurpose Room in Tiger Arena. Call 912-271-0077 for more info.
Tigers Receive Two Verbal Commitments According to the social media site prepbuilders.com, the Savannah State football program received a pair of verbal commitments on the weekend on January 23. making a verbal commitment to SSU were quarterback Blake Dever and wide receiver Czar Beneby. Dever (6-5, 215) led Wellington (FL) High School to a 6-5 record this past season while passing for 2,434 yards, 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Beneby (6-6, 185) played at Boynton beach (FL) High School where his Tigers finished 5-6 in 2015.