Last season at Ithaca College, Travis Warech helped lead the Bombers to their best finish in school history with a run to the Sweet 16. But while Warech found success as a Senior by averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds per game and led the team with 201 rebounds, the 6-foot-4 swingman worked hard to reach that point and now plans to do the same as he turns professional.
As Warech recently received his German citizenship, the Pine Brook, New Jersey native took time to reflect on his college career and how he is preparing to play at the next level.
Looking back on your basketball journey -- from St. Michael's to Ithaca -- how would you describe your collegiate career?
When I look back at the last four years of my life, I see a tale of four completely different years. The first year of my collegiate career at St Michael`s was a great time in my basketball history as I was able to come into a Division 2 program and have immediate and significant impact by playing freely and how I knew how to play. I started every game I played in, and finished the year averaging 16.9 points per game, which was good for top ten in the entire North East 10 Conference.
My sophomore and junior year were very tough as the program went through a coaching change. While my statistics suffered, by the end of my junior season I was only the 13th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point milestone in only three years.
It was then that I decided to transfer to Ithaca College for my senior year. I went into the year with the mentality of bringing my extensive work ethic and drive to the program and was able to change the culture. I had a lot of freedom within the offense to create for myself and others, but more importantly, my senior year was, up to this point in my life, the most enjoyable year I`ve had on the basketball court. We won our conference championship, made it into the NCAA Tournament, and beat 2 Top 25 teams before losing in the Sweet 16: the best finish to a basketball team in Ithaca history. I averaged 16 points 8 rebounds for the year (22 points, 11 rebounds in the playoffs) and led Ithaca to a 21-9 record. Although we lost the last game of my college career, I would still consider my four years a success: I was able to mature and persevere through a really tough time in my life, and still finish out my last year with lots of accomplishment.
What are you most proud of from that time?
There are two things I am proud of from my collegiate career. First, is the immediate success I was able to have coming into St. Michael`s as a freshman. I made the NE 10 All Rookie team, was Freshman of the Week 3 times, led the freshman in the NE 10 in scoring, and was in the top ten in the NE 10 in scoring. Second, I am really the most proud of how I responded and continued to work hard when facing obstacles. After transferring from St. Michael`s, I was able to have a huge impact on a new program at Ithaca my senior year. I adapted well, made new lifelong friends, and was able to lead Ithaca to the best year in school history. In my first ever NCAA playoff game, I scored 25 points and had 15 rebounds in a win. Averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds in the post season, we made it to the Sweet 16th, and finished the season ranked 19th in the Nation.
What did you learn the most about yourself during your Senior year at Ithaca?
Looking back at my senior year at Ithaca, I realize that hard work and consistent dedication will payoff: whether that payoff comes in the short run or long run, it will pay off. I stayed committed to the game I love so much, and continued to get better. The payoff for me has been in the form of success my senior year, and now the opportunity to take my game to the next level. I`ve learned that no matter what happens, to always continue to work on my game because it will payoff in one way or another.
Break down the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
My game is extremely versatile and I can be an asset to any team in a variety of ways. I am an athletic scorer with a 6-foot-4, 205 pound frame. I have consistent 3-point range, and have the ability to find ways to score around the rim. I create a matchup problem because I am stronger than most guards, and quicker than most forwards. I thrive off of creating open looks for myself especially in transition and have a high level basketball IQ. I have been a student of the game my entire life, and have very good instincts. Defensively, I can guard 1-4 and have a very good understanding of team defense. One of my biggest strengths on defense is that I constantly talk out situations on the floor to help teammates. I also rebound very well for my size: I averaged 8 rebounds per game from the guard position my senior year, and can jump with the best of them.
I don`t like to think I have any weaknesses, however I can always improve facets of my game. The one part of my game I have been working hard to get better at is becoming more consistent with my pull up game.
What is your work out routine like these days...walk me through your training.
I put a lot of work into the offseason. Every week, Monday through Friday, I train at a local facility with my basketball trainer, Coach Joe, from Hardcore Hoops. From 9am till 11am we do basketball training. This includes an extensive dribble warm up, dribbling drills with regular, heavy, and mini basketballs to improve ball handling. We also work shooting off of several types of dribbling (double and triple moves, bounce backs, step backs, etc). Coach Joe has a variety of training mechanisms including resistance bands, pads and weights that we incorporate into the training. For example, we will buckle into the resistance band and work quick change of direction dribbles while being pulled from the band. Immediately following, we will have to make 25 jumpers on the basketball gun (shooting machine) before getting a rest. There are typically 4-8 players in each training session, so we work competitions into the workouts as well. Players I train with include Tim Ohlbrecht (Philadelphia 76ers), Hamady Ndiaye (Sacramento Kings), Will Daniels (JSF Nanterre), Dexter Strickland (UNC), Kyle Anderson (UCLA), among others. We normally drill for the first 90 minutes, and then play afterward. We usually play 2v2 or 3v3 full court to mix cardio into the workouts as well. After the 2-hour basketball session, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I lift weights for an additional hour.
What has the process like in receiving your German Citizenship? Can you share your family history in relation to Germany?
In June, 2013 I went to the German Consulate in NYC to file for Citizenship with all of the appropriate paperwork. I have confirmation that my application has been sent to the German Government and is being evaluated. The process has been pretty exciting for me because I am very interested in learning about my family history.
My grandmother (on my father`s side) was born there, but was forced out before the Holocaust. She came from a fairly wealthy background, but was forced to start with nothing after luckily fleeing to America on the last boat out of Germany before the war. Under Article 116 (2) of the German Basic Law, through my Grandmother, I am able to obtain German citizenship and therefore, the German Passport as well.
I am really interested and anxious to be able to go and visit where she used to live. After doing some family research, we found that my great grandfather`s butcher shop in Hamburg is still standing and I am awaiting approval from the German government to be able to visit this family landmark as a citizen.
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