Trice brothers win championship together in Poland

Travis Trice Sr.: ‘It was just an unbelievable opportunity that might not ever happen again’

Travis Trice II and D’Mitrik Trice, separated by four years in school, did not play together in high school or college. They traveled similar paths, first starring at Wayne High School, where Travis was a senior in 2011 and D’Mitrik in 2015, and then in the Big Ten with Travis at Michigan State from 2012-15 and D’Mitrik at Wisconsin from 2016-21.

Their dad, Wright State assistant coach Travis Trice Sr., said the family had prayed for them to get an opportunity to play on the same team somewhere in the professional ranks.

“You know it’s probably not going to happen because they’re both point guards,” Trice Sr. said last week. “They both have the same agent. Typically, you can only have three Americans on a roster. From the outside looking in, it’s never going to happen. We just put all of our trust and faith in God. If it was going to happen, we felt it was going to be because God wanted it to happen.”

It didn’t take long to happen — and the result was better than they could have imagined.

On May 27, the Trice brothers helped lead WKS Śląsk Wrocław to a championship in the Polish Basketball League. Wroclaw won its 18th title, defeating Legia Warszawa 90-77 in Game 5 to win the best-of-seven series 4-1. Travis scored 11 points in the final game. Former Green Bay star Karem Kanter, a native of Turkey who played one season at Xavier as a grad transfer, scored 26 in the final game.

Travis averaged 17.2 points and 7.4 assists in 18 games in the regular season. In 15 playoff games, he averaged 19.3 points. He scored even more in the final series, averaging 20.0 points in five games. He was named MVP of the championship series.

“I feel great,” Travis said in a postgame interview after the final game. “It was a total team effort. If you look back in the playoffs, when we got down 0-2 in the first round, we sat down and said, ‘Guys, we don’t want to be done.’ We battled back. Everyone stepped up. Everyone wanted to be a part of it. It was a great win, a great championship.”

D’Mitrik appeared in eight regular-season games, averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 assists. He averaged 3.8 points in 12 playoff games. He scored 13 points off the bench in Game 4 of the finals, second behind only Travis, who had 21 points in the 66-63 victory.

“At one point in the fourth quarter, D’Mitrik had 10 straight points,” Travis Sr. said, “and then Travis closed that game out with two incredible 3s at the end, one of them in a tie game with about 35 seconds left.”

Since his final season at Michigan State in 2014-15, Travis had played in the NBA G League and overseas in Australia, Turkey, France and Italy. This was his first season in Poland.

D’Mitrik spent five seasons at Wisconsin, taking advantage of the extra season granted to NCAA athletes because of the pandemic year of 2020-21, and started his pro career in France last year. His dad said a positive COVID-19 test sidelined him early in his time in France, and when he returned, it wasn’t working out so he came home.

At the same time, Travis was “just tearing it up” in Poland, Travis Sr. said. He had joined the team in the 10th game of the season with it off to a 3-6 start. Wroclaw won its first five games with Travis and quickly rose in the standings.

In February, Wroclaw needed help on the perimeter after an injury to another guard. They asked Travis for his input on who they should sign. He suggested his brother, and within 72 hours, D’Mitrik had signed a contract. On Feb. 13, they were teammates for the first time.

Travis Sr. traveled to Wroclaw, which is located in western Poland, in May to see his sons play.

“That city breathes basketball,” he said. “I met some incredible people. They were so inviting. When I got there, they were so excited because of how well the boys are playing. I get in there, and the whole crowd is chanting, ‘Papa Trice!’ So I was almost like a movie star.”

The Trice brothers flew back to the United States a few days after their championship victory. Travis signed Sunday to play next season with Murcia in Spain. It’s too early to say if the brothers will one day be teammates again.

“It was just an unbelievable opportunity that might not ever happen again,” Travis Sr. said. “We’re just so blessed and grateful that they were able to spend this time together.”

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