Pitman High graduate Dom Von Waaden just turned 19 on Sept. 8 and he is now a professional basketball player—in Germany.
This after Von Waaden signed to play with MTV Herzöge Wolfenbüttel a professional team in the ProB League in Germany.
“It’s a great honor as I get to have practice two or three times every day and every now and then I remind myself that I’m actually a professional now, which always puts a smile on my face,” said Von Waaden. “My dream has always been to follow my father's footsteps and play professional basketball. After considering a few college options, I decided that it would be best for me to head back home to Germany now to already get used to the European style of basketball at the professional level, rather than continuing to play here a few more years and then making the jump.”
His journey started with a senior trip. Von Waaden reunited with friends and family whom he hadn’t seen in nearly half a decade and from there it became a goal of his to move to Germany.
“Once I decided that I would want to play there, my summer changed a bit as it was mainly filled with practices, tryouts, and staying in contact with the various second league teams I worked out with throughout Germany,” said Von Waaden. “Since my dad, Gary, played at the highest level in Germany for 15 years and has many connections there, I was able to contact managers and coaches fairly easy; one of my dad’s old teammates helped me a lot with this as well.”
There were teams that had him practice for only a day and others for a week or longer, such as Würzburg and the hometown of Von Waaden, Bamberg, where he was staying with family and seeing old friends.
“The last team I was scheduled to try out for was MTV, which wanted me to practice with them for two weeks to fully see what I can do which I already thought was very cool,” he said. “During those two weeks I got used to the rough schedule of having two or three practices every day and was already building a good relationship with my coach Steven Esterkamp and housemate Aldin Medunjanin, a 25-year-old player from New York City.”
Soon as the offer was made, Von Waaden chose to take the two-year deal.
“Since it's just been a lot of practices, doing paperwork to get everything going here,” he added. “Now just working on my vegan cooking skills as I still have a long way to go on that. I just want to help the team win, play my part, and improve my game a lot this year. As I am one of the youngest guys on the team, my role will be to bring energy off the bench by playing good defense, knocking down open shots, working hard in practice, and making the simple plays on offense while playing one of the guard spots.”
In high school, Von Waaden was vital in the Pride earning the program’s first and only Central California Conference title in 2016. In 2015-16, the Pride went 16-9 overall and 8-2 in the CCC, winning the title.
He also assisted his team in kicking off their second-best start in program history this past fall as they won eight of their first nine games.
During that span, they notched victories over future Central California Athletic League opponents, Modesto, Enochs and Gregori High. Pitman also defeated Downey during the season on Dec. 28.
They ended this season with an overall record of 18-9, but failed to make the playoffs after a 6-6 CCC posting.
Von Waaden finished his senior year averaging 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
He shot 79 percent from the free throw line and had two double-doubles.
He earned second-team all-league honors as a sophomore (15-16) and first-team as a junior and senior.
Von Waaden and his teammates will open up the season against the VfL SparkassenStars Bochum on Saturday, a game that Von Waaden says has him very excited.