Jason Isaacson, an NAIA All-American at Dana College during his playing days and the current head coach of Abraham Lincoln high School in Council Bluffs, has been running the Omaha Metro Pro-Am Summer League for years. Talented players with ties to the area keep coming back year after year to have some fun and put on a show for the local basketball fans.
That includes Jason Dourisseau, the Omaha Burke grad and former Husker, who said it’s nice to have something like the summer league to come back to every summer.
“When I was younger, I was in it the first year it started,” Dourisseau told Hail Varsity. “Jason started it over at Abraham Lincoln and I knew then it was a good league, a lot of pros, a lot of college guys. It’s nice to stay in shape and get some good competition.”
The Huskers were 19-13 during Dourisseau’s senior year and he put up 11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. After that, he embarked on a professional career that has taken him all over the world — from Germany to Iceland to the Netherlands.
Dourisseau still calls Omaha home, and that’s why he comes back every summer, but he’s found a second home overseas as well. Dourisseau has spent 10 of the last 11 years with the same club in Groningen, Netherlands — Donar (known as GasTerra Flames when Dourisseau first signed with the team).
Dourisseau went on to win five Dutch Basketball League championships with Donar, and after the second one the club named a section of the stands after him. He became a Dutch citizen in 2015, and he met his wife in the Netherlands. Dourisseau didn’t see any of that coming.
“I thought I’d play three, four, maybe five years and come back home,” Doursseau said. “My roots are here, my family’s still here, but it turned out that I stayed over there, got a family there now. It was a good run.”
The run came to an end after the 2019-20 season as Dourisseau announced he and Donar were parting ways. The club hired a new coach who wanted to go in a different direction with the roster.
Dourisseau isn’t quite ready to call it a career just yet, however. He’s still on the market for any teams that might be interested.
“My agent’s handling that,” Dourisseau said. “With the market the way it is, I’m about to be 37 this year, not coming off a great year, so I understand the difficulties that might come along, but if something comes, I’m ready. I’m working out every day, I’m in shape. I’m ready.”
The Metro League is one of the ways he’s staying in shape. This year’s league has been truncated out of necessity by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dourisseau is playing with the Going Vertical team. They picked up their first win on Wednesday, beating Mside — a team of current Morningside players — 98-74, wrapping up pool play at 1-2. Another former Husker, Dachon Burke Jr., stole the show for Going Vertical with 32 points while Norfolk product and Oral Roberts grad Jalen Bradley stuffed the stat sheet. Dourisseau chipped in 12 points and seven boards.
“I’m not showing anybody anything any more,” Dourisseau said. “I’m just trying to get some exercise. But there are a lot of good young players now. It’s just fun to see because they were kids when I was younger.”
Whenever he’s in Omaha, Dourisseau works with Adam Barnes and his team at Going Vertical in Omaha, helping young athletes follow in his footsteps.
“I’ve been through a lot and a lot of stuff that they’re going to see,” Dourisseau said. “I just tell them my experiences. Adam Barnes over at Going Vertical, he does a great job of developing kids all the way from youth to pros. He also does a good job of telling them what coaches want and helping kids get recruited. It’s a good situation over there for young kids to come to.”
Between the summer league, his workouts at Going Vertical and following things going on back home while overseas, Dourisseau has seen and heard about a lot of talented players coming up through the ranks in Omaha and Nebraska as a whole.
“There’s some big-time talent coming up from what I understand,” Dourisseau said. “I haven’t seen a lot, but I’ve heard a lot. I’ve worked out with a couple Millard North guys [Saint Thomas and Jadin Johnson] and they’ve got some serious talent coming through. It’s great to see. Obviously Justin Patton and Tazz [Khyri Thomas] made it to the league, so hopefully they broke down some doors for guys around here to not only get in the league but stay in the league and make an impact.”
As for the Huskers, Dourisseau still follows the alma mater, and he’ll be following even more closely over the next couple of years thanks to one newcomer to the program.
“Last year aside, I think they have a really good chance to be good,” Dourisseau said. “I hope they have the season. Teddy Allen is a good friend of my family’s and Adam’s as well. We really hope that he goes down there and does really well and we think he will.”
As for the Metro League, Dourisseau and his Going Vertical teammates will take on Mustangs, another team made up of current Morningside players, in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday. Tipoff of that game is set for 7:10 p.m. at the Iowa West Field House in Council Bluffs while the first round of games is set for 6:15. The semifinals will follow at 8:05 p.m.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.