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A talented transfer chooses Bethel as his home court for his senior year.

By Tatiana Lee

Riley Dearring smothered his jersey across his face. He positioned his feet precisely in front of the free throw line, bounced the ball and took a shot. Just like that, he tied the game.

Dearring wasn’t so lucky on his second shot. It was the section semi-final, Minnetonka versus its greatest rival, Hopkins. Missing the second free throw ended up losing the game for them–or at least that’s how Dearring explains it.

Riley Dearring is a senior organizational communications major at Bethel University. Dearring played for the University of Madison his freshman and sophomore year then transferred to California Fullerton for his junior year.

Dearring took in the atmosphere at Fullerton, and decided to transfer again for his senior year. He knew both Madison and Fullerton had great opportunities and people. However, Dearring observed a lack of professionalism in the way not everyone was held to the same standard. He watched coaches create an atmosphere of rivalry, which made it difficult for teammates to enjoy working together. Unsatisfied, Dearring decided it was time to leave California for good.

 

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Dearring slaps hands with teammates at Kohl Center.

Dearring came to Bethel University because Steve Novak, coach of the basketball team, built a strong relationship with Dearring when he was interested in leaving Fullerton.

 

“We are excited to coach Riley,” Novak said. “Our guys have enjoyed his personality and his desire to grow on and off the court.”

“I am so happy to have him here,” Granger Kingland, one of his teammates, said. “Not because I think we can make each other better on the court, but because we can also challenge each other to be.”

Dearring was excited for a different lifestyle and atmosphere than he was used to. He was ready for change and quickly adapted to it.

“When things got tough,” Dearring explained, “I turned to basketball. It was my outlet for everything.”

Not only does Dearring look at basketball as an outlet, but it brings him closer to his faith. Dearring shared that God has given him an amazing ability and talent for basketball. Playing basketball, competing and being kind on and off the field is one way Dearring glorifies God.

“My family makes me, me,” Dearring said.

He didn’t grow up with a loving mother, but a woman he calls mom – someone who to is caring, understanding and generous.

Dearring closes himself off to most people. He isn’t afraid to be kind, but won’t tell you about his abusive biological mother or why he doesn’t consider her his mom. He won’t give you a story about her, he’ll simply tell you when the last time he saw her was: at his graduation party four years ago for an hour.

He likes lemon meringue pie. He roots for the Warriors and Spurs. If you ask him about his brother, he’ll smile.

You won’t get a single story out of him that isn’t applicable to basketball.

If you ask him what he wishes he would’ve done differently he’ll say, “Every moment means something, when you try and get rid of that, it’s like getting rid of what makes you, you.”

He has one regret.

“I wish I worked harder.”

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