Same name, different game

Clovis junior Dominique Easterlin had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first varsity start. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

By Rick White

Dominique Easterlin smiles shyly when asked if he was named after former NBA all-star Dominique Wilkins.

Turns out his father, former Clovis High standout William Easterlin, was a huge fan of Wilkins, who was known as the “human highlight film” for his monstrous dunks during his days with the Atlanta Hawks.

“He tells me about him all the time,” said the younger Easterlin, who is averaging 18 points and nine rebounds in the Wildcats’ 2-0 start. “My dad has films of him.”

A silky-smooth, 6-foot-4 junior, Dominique’s play is much more understated than his namesake, or even his father, who was also known for his explosive jumping ability.

Clovis coach J.D. Isler said Dominique Easterlin is athletic and a good shooter. But more than anything, he simply has a knack for scoring.

“He always finds a way to put the ball in the basket no matter who is guarding him,” Isler said. “At the end of the game, when you look at the stats, he’s going to get his (points).”

Dominique said he talks to his father, who lives in Atlanta, by phone after every game and also sends him copies of the game film.

“We talk about the game and sometimes he gives me advice,” the Clovis junior said.

Clovis assistant coach Mike Hankins played with William Easterlin at Clovis in the early 1980s.

“He was really a talented athlete,” he said “He could run and really jump. He had a really quick first step.”

Hankins said Dominique looks a lot like his father did except the elder Easterlin had a “bigger Afro.”

“His dad was more of a guard,” Hankins recalled. “His dad could pop up any time and do a 360-degree dunk.”

Dominique always had the basketball skills, Isler said, but at first lacked the physical and mental toughness.

“He’s matured a little more and is able to handle the physical part of the game,” Isler said. “That’s something he struggled with last year.”

He’s also become more than just a scorer, the Clovis coach said.

“He’s really got committed on defense and it’s really completed his game. He’s big enough to guard in the post and quick enough to guard on the perimeter.”

The Wildcats return to action Thursday at the Amarillo Kids Inc. Tournament.