Picture this. June 2012. A freshman center steps on the practice court with his new college team for the first time. He meets a redshirt freshman shooting guard. Little do they know the impact they would have on each others lives.
Fast forward four years. The two players are sitting at a post-game press conference with their coach after a loss in the Big Ten Tournament. The two of them have tears in their eyes, not only from the realization that they were so close to winning that game, but that their college careers are over and their time on the court together is finished.
Those two players were Alex Olah and Tre Demps. And up until just over a week ago they didn't think they would ever play on the same team again.
Until all of the sudden, that changed.
On July 20th Northwestern announced that Tre Demps signed a professional contract to play with Beflius-Mons Hainut, a professional basketball team in Belgium for the 2016-2017 season.
Belgium just got a little more clutch.— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) July 20, 2016
Then, four days later, Alex Olah announced this on his Twitter page.
Excited to announce that I will be playing professionally for Belfius Mons-Hainaut, in Belgium. Also happy to have Tre Demps as a teammate— Alexandru Olah (@Alexandru_Olah) July 24, 2016
Tre Demps and Alex Olah developed a lot of chemistry on the court in their four years of playing together. Arguably, the most fun they had on the court may have been this 82-78 double overtime win against Michigan in March of 2015.
Whether it's setting screens, feeding the ball in to the lane, or helping to create open shots, their success on the court together is the reason the Wildcats won this game and many of the other games they played in.
Both Demps and Olah grew tremendously in the four years they played together. Whether it's the confidence Olah developed on and off the court, or the shooter Demps became, the two of them left Northwestern better than they found it.
Demps and Olah were also two consistent and reliable pieces Chris Collins could count on in the three years he coached them. When Chris Collins became the head coach in the spring of 2013, Demps and Olah became staples on the court. Their leadership was always highly spoken of by Chris Collins. But to Collins, Demps and Olah were much more than players on his first team as a head coach. In his post game press conference after Northwestern lost in overtime to Michigan, Chris Collins spoke highly of them.
"I told them after to remember what it was like when we had our first team meeting. And you know, you have a new coach, a young coach, it's a little bit disarray. We didn't know if Drew Crawford was coming back, you know. And I had a core group of guys, man. I had a core group of guys that just believed in me and my staff coming in...For what those guys did for me these past three years, I could never repay them. They've given me everything. I feel like I've given them everything," said Collins.
Tre Demps and Alex Olah may no longer be wearing purple, but their legacy has been left in Welsh-Ryan Arena and their mark has been left on the program.
For these two, their dreams of playing professional basketball are just beginning. But not just beginning, beginning together.