Rio's Drakeford preparing for pro career
Rio Grande---Former University of Rio Grande point guard Aaron Drakeford is continuing his basketball career at the next level. Drakeford agreed to a contract with the Guildford Heat of the British Basketball League last month and the new season is just about underway with Drakeford in the fold. The team is located in Surrey, England.
Drakeford, a 6-0 guard from Columbus, OH, was a three-year starter for Rio Grande. He closed out his senior season with his best campaign, averaging 9.1 points, 3.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game for a RedStorm team that finished 20-11.
For his career at Rio Grande, Drakeford played in 89 games and scored 638 points (7.2 per game), recorded 247 assists (2.8 per game), pulled down 278 rebounds (3.1 per game) and swiped 105 steals (1.2 per game).
Drakeford said that playing professional basketball was something that he has wanted to do and now the long wait is finally over. "It's been a long time coming," Drakeford said. "Last season put me in a good situation. I thank God, I thank Rio and I thank all the fans for supporting me while I was there."
Rio Grande head coach Ken French credits Drakeford's desire and work ethic in helping him reach this goal. "He set this as a goal and has maintained a great work ethic with a positive attitude to accomplish it," French said. "It is amazing what one can accomplish with the right level of effort, attitude and faith."
"He represents everything that is good about our program," French added. "He may be the most improved player that we have had come through our program in the last three years."
"Everyone associated with L.A. should be proud of him, including himself, he deserves this. I am really happy for Aaron. He has worked extremely hard for this opportunity."
Drakeford said that playing in the Upper Arlington Summer League helped his status, it allowed some coaches to take a look at him and that is really how this opportunity came about for him. "Some coaches there saw me and it just all came together," he said.
The Heat play 38 games, beginning September 26, with a playoff round that is the best-of-five and another four to five games to determine the league champion.
Drakeford felt like his time at Rio Grande really prepared him well for playing at the next level. "Coach (French) really stressed team first, he presented us with workouts to prepare ourselves," Drakeford said. "There were no days off."
"We played good competition and it really prepared me well for this and I'm ready to go," he added.
You can follow Drakeford's progress and learn more about the Guildford Heat and the BBL at http://www.guildfordheat.com/.