Home grown Hawks: Morey, Volk make transition from Dickinson Trinity to Dickinson State
For Dickinson State senior Robbie Morey and freshman Jacob Volk, home is where the heart is.
For both, continuing their basketball careers at Dickinson State was an easy decision.
Going to Blue Hawk games as kids was special and inspirational for Morey and Volk. They would watch the college players in awe with hopes to one day to be a part of the tradition.
“I just grew up in town and watching games, and it’s just always been a big part of our town, and I thought’d it’d be fun and get my chance to be a part of this program,” Morey said. “I always knew that I wanted to play here. I knew coach (Ty) Orton in high school and we talked a little bit and it just always felt right.”
But before the commitments and the recruitments, their careers started to take shape at Dickinson Trinity under the guidance of Gregg Grinsteinner.
Grinsteinner has been in the coaching profession for 32 years and has had a successful career at Trinity, which has produced two Class B state titles, 10 Class B state tournament appearances and talented basketball players every year.
Besides coaching Grinsteinner teaches his players the importance of teamwork and character off the court is just as important as it is on the court. His team-first mentality, and teachings on offense and defense helped Morey and Volk transition easier into Orton’s program and appreciate all Grinsteinner’s done for them.
“He is the face of Trinity basketball and he does so much for that school,” Volk said. “I feel like he’s underappreciated, but my time there I did appreciate everything he did for us.”
The appreciation is mutual, as Grinsteinner said he was lucky to have Morey and Volk in his program and get to continue to watch them mature and grow.
“It was very enjoyable to see those kids grow up because there’s a lot of things you see different as a freshman to a senior and when they’re in your program, they start buying into what the tradition is and we really preach a lot about tradition,” Grinsteinner said. “I know Ty does that a lot too and they took a lot of pride in representing themselves very very well.”
While Morey and Volk never played together as Titans — Morey was a four-year varsity starter and Volk began starting as a sophomore — both stood out to Grinsteinner for similar and different reasons. Both are leaders on the court, but with conflicting personalities.
Since his Trinity days, Morey has always been a team player and his No. 1 goal was to get everyone on the team involved. Grinsteinner said he wasn’t afraid to get into a teammate’s face and say “let’s go show people how to get it done.”
Although Morey isn’t much of a vocal leader at DSU, his biggest strength is leading through example, whether it’s in the classroom, on the floor or in the weight room. Orton said he is a selfless player and sacrifices himself for the better of the team.
“Robbie has always been a strong leader, he’s not a verbal leader, but he’s such a leader by his actions,” Orton said. “He’s always in there, he’s always shooting extra, he’s always lifting, you ask him to do something, it’s only one time. Only one time and he’s going to do it to the best of his abilities. The team sees that and that’s why he’s a captain on the team, because he does everything that he can to the best of his ability — no matter what it is.”
According to both coaches, Morey doesn’t just have a gift at being a leader, but is also a gifted, basketball player whose presence on the court changes everything. When he has the ball, he is calm and sees the floor extremely well. He shoots with finesse and makes the game almost look easy.
“When I was a freshman, I did look up to Robbie who obviously was one of their top players,” Volk said. “Everytime he got into the game, the game started to be more smooth. The ball moved smoothly and the team just functioned better with him in the game.”
Volk is the opposite of Morey in the sense of being vocal and aggressive. Since high school, Volk has been the poster boy of confidence and was a star offensively. Where Morey is more inclined to pass the ball to another teammate, Volk will take the shot no matter how difficult it may be.
“The thing that’s special about Jacob is he’s loves basketball,” Orton said. “He always has, I’ve seen him grow up, I’ve seen him do all those things. He always just loves to be around the game of basketball and to be a student of basketball … It shows in his game. He’s starting to make shots that a lot of people can’t make. He knows how to put spin on the ball. He can handle the ball extremely well.”
Grinsteinner added: “For Jacob, it’s competitiveness. He always wanted to make the big play. It didn’t matter if it was on the offensive end or the defensive end, he was one of those guys that really got the crowd going.”
While the two have different playing styles and philosophies, common denominators for Morey and Volk are their strong work ethics and passion for their community. For their respective teams, both Morey and Volk were the leaders and kept players in check, something which hasn’t changed to this day.
Both Grinsteinner and Orton have been impressed by Morey and Volk’s positive involvement in the Dickinson community. Orton said even though he recruits around the nation, he enjoys having local players in his program because of their character and understandings of what Dickinson is and how important the Blue Hawks mean to the residents.
“We’ve always had local kids that have bought into the program and understood sacrifice and really became productive players on the team and off the floor too,” Orton said. “They’re great people in the community, and they handle themselves right and they do the little things and that’s what we really recruit, we really recruit character.”
Grinsteinner added: “That’s what makes me proud of those guys, is the role models they turned out to be for other kids in our community. They looked up to those kids and still go watch them play you look at the tree of friends they have, how many kids went to the game this year and there was probably 20, 30 friends from both those guys watching them play and that’s pretty special.”
Today is the start of the Sam Milanovich Classic, a two-day basketball tournament at Scott Gymnasium.
The Blue Hawks take on Valley City State at 7 p.m. and there is little doubt the gym will be filled with Trinity students and family cheering for Morey and Volk.
As modest as Morey and Volk are about their legacies, the crowd of supporters at every home game is a clear reminder of their impact on the community and what they mean to Dickinson and the sport of basketball after all these years.
“It’s nice to see all the familiar faces and I think it just makes it special,” Morey said. “You have all the support behind you and it means a lot to know that people want to see you succeed and they’ll support you.”