When I arrived home from the Fall Shootout, the following article was in the Antelope Valley Press. The article really is excellent as it talks about the importance of JUCO college students getting serious about their academics as soon as they enter their freshman year and not leaving it to the last year. The AVC academic and
and coaching staff did a phenomenal job in working with Drape in getting his academics done and of course Daviyon finally turned up the effort last year.
I ran into assistant coach Louis Rowe from D-1 Florida International University at the Shootout who was raving about how happy they are at getting Draper. Of course they are also working hard to pick up additional talent from AVC and time will tell on that issue.
Draper signs with FIU
By: Eric Smith
LANCASTER – When Daviyon Draper was a freshman at Antelope Valley College back in October of 2012, he stopped in John Taylor’s office one afternoon for a quick chat.
Draper, who had yet to play a game, said he was struggling to get adjusted to life after high school. Taylor, AVC’s men’s basketball coach, advised Draper to stick things out.
Almost two years later, Draper’s patience was tested this summer. But once again, the 6-foot-7 Draper found a way to succeed.
“I just had to keep believing in myself,” said Draper, who recently accepted a scholarship to continue his career at Florida International University. “I’ve been working really hard and have waited for a while for this moment.
“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Added Taylor: “Hard work will eventually pay off and now he’s able to live his dream and play Division I basketball.”
Draper led AVC in scoring as the Marauders went 27-5 and grabbed the top seed in Southern California, a season that attracted the eye of a handful of Division 1 colleges.
The 6-foot-7 Draper talked with Oregon State, Ohio, Gonzaga, Iona and FIU throughout the season, each of whom wanted the forward who averaged 14 points while playing just 21 minutes per night.
But because Draper still had a math and English class to finish up this summer, most of the high-profile programs couldn’t keep their interest through late August.
“This summer was hard,” said Draper, who passed each class. “But I had a lot of support from Coach Taylor and the coaching staff and my family. I just kept pushing toward my goal.
“I commend FIU for waiting on me and believing in me that I could get the grades. That just makes me want to play that much harder for the program.”
Taylor, who said Draper had 30 or 40 Division II schools waiting in the wings, was impressed with his commitment.
“There were several schools that liked him,” Taylor said. “And even though we always thought he would get it done, the schools couldn’t wait.”
With his academic challenges behind him, Draper is now focused on helping the Panthers work toward a Conference USA championship.
“I’m ready to get to work,” Draper said. “They’re in a good conference and it’s in Miami, which is a beautiful place.”
Draper said he’ll mainly be a guard at FIU, even though he mostly played forward for Taylor and the Marauders.
“The coaching staff is looking for me to play (at guard),” Draper said. “But I’ll just have to work hard to make sure I’m solid at that position.
“This will be a true test of my basketball skills and my game.”
Although Taylor admitted Draper sometimes played out of position at AVC, the coach knew he could always rely on Draper to be a team player.
“He did a really good job for us battling inside which isn’t really a strength of his,” Taylor said. “There were some games where he just grabbed some crucial rebounds.”
Draper said he will always cherish his time at AVC and credited the program for helping him mature as both a player and a person.
“I look at the game a little bit different,” Draper said. “I learned how to be a great teammate and small things like that.
“But I also met a lot of great people who really cared about me.”