“As a basketball player, he’s pretty unique,” Spokane Community College head basketball coach Clint Hull says in talking about Preston Wynne. This is a young man who proved he can simply do it all on the court. “He is now the all-time leading scorer for a single season (702 pts), and all–time leading scorer for his career (1228 pts). He has the most points in a game with 44. He was recently named MVP of our league and defensive player of the year. The basketball side of things kind of speaks for itself.”
High praise and deservedly earned for a young man who has returned to college after sitting out a few years and playing in a lot of Native American basketball tournaments. Relatively few athletes have made those transitions and even fewer have managed it as well as Preston.
Preston is enrolled on the Spokane Reservation and was raised at Wellpinit. He has two youngsters: seven-year-old son Jameer and daughter Isis who is five. They live in Wellpinit while Preston lives near college in Spokane, returning as often as possible to visit the kids. Last year he made the 100-plus mile roundtrip daily but long days and snowy roads forced him to change plans this year and stay in Spokane during the week
Four years ago he had no idea he’d be where he is today. “I was jumping around in Native American tournaments, having a blast with my friends,” he said. Derrick Camel, now assistant coach at Salish Kootenai College would scold Preston for not going to college. “He was one of the main reasons why I came back,” Preston commented.
Coach Hull says what is even more impressive than Preston’s basketball ability is, “He’s here to better his life, get a degree, and take care of his family. It wasn’t an ideal situation having two children when he was young. He hung with it, got everything in line there, and after a few years off was able to get back in school. The transition socially, academically, and basketball-wise has been a pretty smooth transition.”
Hull continued, “You wonder, he’s 24 years old coming in being with a bunch of 18-19 year olds and how that is going to mesh. He did it the right way by proving himself on the floor as our hardest worker. He fit right in and has done a great job for us the last two years. He is the most humble guy we’ve got. It’s been a pleasure for me to work with him, that’s for sure.”
This won’t mark the end of his college career as other four-year schools have been calling. It’s unfortunate he can’t play at the D-1 level as several D-1’s have contacted him. “I unknowingly broke some NCAA rules,” Preston said. “They just implemented them last year and I got the repercussions I guess you’d say. It’s a bummer.”
Coach Hull also thought Preston could move on to the D-1 level. “At the end of the day he has no eligibility there so he’s getting hit pretty hard by NAIA schools (and D-III) around the west coast. He will be playing somewhere.”
“I’m up for anything,” Preston said. “It would be nice to stay in this area because I have a lot of fans, a lot of friends, who follow me. I’m trying to be comfortable for myself. Where I feel most comfortable, is where I probably will go the next two years.
He hopes to graduate with a degree having to do with counseling youth. “There are just a lot of people who don’t make it to the level I’m at and they have a good chance to. I’d like to go back and help them the best I can. A lot of people on the Indian circuit are just as good as me if not better. They just haven’t gone to college or are planning to go.”
“I’d like to work in the Wellpinit area. A lot of kids look up to me and respect me and I would want a job where I could enjoy what I’m doing helping out the young people, making a living off it, and doing what I love.”