Treysen Eaglestaff keeping family legacy alive at UND

Mar. 9—GRAND FORKS — Treysen Eaglestaff knew from an early age the weight his last name carried.

Any time Eaglestaff was printed on the back of his shirt, there was a good chance someone would ask about Robert Eaglestaff.

"Did your uncle or grandpa play at UND?" Eaglestaff remembered people asking as early as kindergarten.

His response was consistent: "Oh, yeah, I'm related to him."

It's a point of pride for Eaglestaff, the UND sophomore guard. He's named after the man he called a North Dakota legend, and he followed in his footsteps when Eaglestaff committed to UND.

"With him being a legend in North Dakota and being a kid from North Dakota, everyone wants to see me succeed," Eaglestaff said. "Or they want to see me fail. Either way. There's a lot of pressure just for a North Dakota kid coming to North Dakota. I feel like, for the most part, I've stepped in those shoes pretty well."

A mainstay in the Fighting Hawks starting lineup, Eaglestaff helped lead the UND a No. 3 seed in the Summit League tournament. UND faces No. 6 Omaha in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Robert Eaglestaff was inducted into the Lakota Nation Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and UND Hall of Fame in 2004. He was an all-North Central Conference selection at UND.

He also has a school named after him in Seattle for the work he did after his college basketball career.

That's the true legacy of Robert Eaglestaff. Basketball provided a path for him to get an education and improve life for those around him.

Eaglestaff took that lesson to heart. Basketball was his whole personality when he was younger, he said.

"If I don't have basketball," he said, "I'm nobody."

But he's learned, through stories about Robert Eaglestaff, that "there's a bigger purpose," he said.

"Basketball can only get you so far," Eaglestaff said. "I play basketball for people that I can do things for, and I can put on for other people. That really is a big part of why I play basketball, to help with the younger generation and everything else."

Eaglestaff had big shoes to fill when he decided to play basketball at UND, but he has improved in his sophomore year.

Eaglestaff is third on the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game, behind B.J. Omot and Tyree Ihenacho. He's shot 38.1% from three this season, the best clip with a minimum of 100 attempts. Eaglestaff is the only UND player with over 200 three-point attempts this season.

The playing experience Eaglestaff earned last season in his first year has led to his success this season.

"If I would've redshirted, I wouldn't have had the season we're having this year," he said. "I wouldn't have had that experience of all those games. You need to experience the ups and downs of basketball and having that freshman year, having those ups and downs and playing pretty good toward the end of the season last year, really helped me this year."

Who: No. 3 UND vs. No. 6 Omaha

When: Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

Where: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls

TV: Midco Sports (GF Ch. 27/622 HD)

Radio: 100.3 FM