In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of NCAA Division II, former Western Washington University men's basketball player Grant Dykstra has been named one of 48 former NCAA II student-athletes who will be honored by the NCAA throughout 2013.
Developed through a partnership with the Division II Conference Commissioners Association, one male and one female student-athlete from each of the division’s 23 current conferences, plus two at-large nominees, were selected to the NCAA II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team.
Dykstra and Central Washington softball player Mallory Holtman-Fletcher (2005-08) were chosen from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
“This group of former student-athletes is meant to reflect the core values of Division II athletics,” said Josh Looney, Associate Director of Division II. “Commissioners have helped identify a diverse group of championship individuals from Division II’s 40-year history. Not only did these former student-athletes act as champions in athletics and in the classroom, they’ve gone on to live championship lives as well.
“This group is a true representation of Division II’s commitment to providing its student-athletes a ‘Life in the Balance’ that extends beyond athletics.”
Dykstra was named winner of the 2006 V Foundation Comeback Award, the first non-Division I student-athlete to earn the honor, the 2005 United States Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award, and set the school’s career scoring record.He survived a life-threatening childhood accident that nearly cost him his right arm.
A 6-foot-4 forward from Everson, Wash., and a graduate of Lynden Christian High School, Dykstra finished as WWU's career scoring leader with 1,844 points, and was a consensus NCAA II All-American as a senior in 2005-06.
That season, Dykstra averaged 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals, setting a school record for 3-point makes with 101 as the Vikings went 23-7 and reached the West Regional final of the NCAA II National Tournament. He shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 43.7 percent from 3-point range, and 84.5 percent at the free throw line. His 3.4 3-point makes a game ranked ninth nationally in NCAA II, and he was 16th in 3-point percentage.
Dykstra was the Daktronics West Region Player of the Year for 2005-06, being the only unanimous choice and repeater on the regional all-star team. He also earned first-team GNAC all-star honors for the second straight year and was named to the West Regional all-tournament team.
Dykstra started every game of his four-year WWU career, and in addition to his scoring mark, finished fourth in school history in career assists with 404, sixth in rebounds with 576 and seventh in steals with 210.
Dykstra's right arm was mangled in a grain auger when he was two and required 16 surgeries over the next 10 years and countless hours of physical therapy to regain strength and movement in the arm, which is five inches shorter than his left. He taught himself to shoot a basketball left-handed and learned to dribble with either hand.
After earning a bachelor's degree in business administration and finance at WWU in 2006, Dykstra is now in his seventh year as a Commercial Loan Officer at Whatcom Educational Credit Union in Bellingham. He also is a youth league coach. He and wife, Tara, have four children: sons Griffin 8, Gannon 6, Gunnar 4, and daughter Tyra 2.
The year-long 40th Anniversary celebration will feature a number of initiatives branded by Division II’s tradition, history and community influence. A special 40th Anniversary highlight videowas unveiled to Division II membership during the 2013 NCAA Convention, officially kicking off the celebration.
Each member of the Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team will receive a commemorative 40th Anniversary gift and is slated to have his/her accomplishments profiled through Division II media channels.