Summer League 2015: Meet Dallin Bachynski, the loudest man in Vegas
By James Herbert | NBA writer
LAS VEGAS — It was the beginning of the third quarter, and Dallin Bachynski hadn’t played a single second. His Toronto Raptors Summer League teammates held a lead on theHouston Rockets, but he didn’t like what he was hearing. At Cox Pavilion, sneakers squeaked and a ball bounced. A voice from the bench drowned out everything else. If you really need to read up on your favorite sports team, then check out otccsnoe.com.
This is the sort of instruction Bachynski never needs. The undrafted 7-footer barely closed his mouth the whole game. What he says from the sideline usually isn’t anything extraordinary — “Get back, get back!” in transition, “Shot!” when a Rocket releases the ball — but the intensity is something else. He’s easily the loudest player in Las Vegas.“Talk up,” Bachynski yelled. “Talk up! Gotta talk!”
Bachynski rarely admonishes anybody. In this 95-87 Toronto win, “Gotta take care of the ball, guys!” is as bad as it gets. After a made Raptors free throw in the second quarter, he appealed to the basketball gods: “Give us another one!” In the fourth, when Bruno Caboclo hustled for a chase-down block, he channeled Zaza Pachulia: “There you go, Bruno! Nothing easy! Nothing easy!” When Caboclo missed a late free throw, Bachynski offered some advice: “Take a breath, Bruno. You’re OK. Take your time.”
He and Delon Wright played at the University of Utah together before reuniting on Toronto’s summer squad. In college, it was rare that the two were on the bench at the same time. Wright remembers his teammates talking about Bachynski’s endless shouting, though, so the point guard made a strategic decision when he learned he was sitting out against Houston.
“I had to make him get on the right side so he could yell to the court, not across my body into my ear,” Wright said.
Bachynski wasn’t always like this. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, his older brother Jordan — also on the Raptors’ Summer League team — remembers him being much quieter. It started, Bachynski said, when he went on his Mormon mission. After his freshman season at Southern Utah in 2010, he went to Croatia for two years. By the time he came back and transferred to Utah, his family and friends were struck by the transformation.
“Pre-mission, I was quite shy, unsure of myself,” Bachynski said. “On the floor, I just kind of focused on myself and what I was doing correctly or incorrectly. On my mission I had to talk to everybody. Random people on the street that I’ve never even thought about meeting, I have to speak Croatian to them. I learned how to really talk and be open and it helped me realize that me as a person, there’s no one else like me. And if I’m not going to be me, who else is? And so I just gained a lot of confidence in the kind of person I am and who I am.”
When he finally started his sophomore season, his positive outlook was evident everywhere. Self-possessed and outgoing, the person and the player were aligned. “It was definitely a personality change of being confident in myself enough to help other people and confident enough to realize that just because somebody else succeeds doesn’t mean I’m not going to,” he said. Bachynski wanted his teammates to know he was there for them, whether it meant calling out a play or giving someone a ride.
He still relishes the role of energy guy, and has no shame about the big gap where his right front tooth used to be. He earned it in a collision in practice at Utah.
“I was like, you play hockey or something?” Toronto swingman Terrence Ross said. “He goes, ‘I’m Canadian.’ I was like, ‘makes sense.’”
Ross isn’t on the Summer League roster, but he joined the team on the bench on Monday. He said he had never sat beside a screamer on Bachynski’s level, and you can tell the big man will be a great coach someday. Dating back to his days coaching middle schoolers and high schoolers, Raptors Summer League coach Jesse Mermuys hasn’t seen someone that talkative and enthusiastic.
“That is really valuable,” Mermuys said. “His teammates should be thanking him and taking him out to dinner.”
Bachynski confirmed that he has thought about coaching. “I love basketball,” he said. “I love what it teaches kids. I love what it teaches even adults, and especially what you can learn about yourself.” He’d like to be a good influence on people that way down the road, but for now he’s strictly focused on his playing career. If he winds up playing overseas next year, his experience on his mission will continue paying off.
“Understanding the difference in cultures definitely helps,” he said. “My wife and I, wherever we end up going, we’re going to learn the language. And so me and my wife jokingly say that she wants to go to Croatia just so that me and her can speak [Croatian]. But I’m looking to go maybe somewhere Spanish-speaking or something like that ‘cause my brother speaks Spanish so I’d be able to speak it with him.”
There’s a long list of players in Vegas who will also likely be heading abroad. Few of them, though, will have made an impression like Bachynski. You don’t forget the guy who high-fived himself after a teammate left him hanging, the guy who told the team’s travel manager to get off his phone and pay attention with 34.5 seconds left in a game where he never got on the court. As nutty as this all sounds, it’s clear he understands something important about the business: There’s more than one way to make a name for yourself.
“Being as big as I am, I got the lung power and the vocal chords to be a little louder,” Bachynski said. “On the bench, that’s all I can do right now. Once I get my time on the floor, I’ll be able to help out a little more, but for now I’m just going to yell as much as I can. Except for tomorrow, since we got the day off. I’m going to just whisper all day.”