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The Next Level: Speake going to ASCC

Published 12:19pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tallassee senior Don Speake signed a national letter of intent April 24 to play basketball at Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville, Ala.

Tigers small forward Don Speake, flanked by his family, signs to play basketball at Alabama Southern Community College on April 24. Photo by Cory Diaz
Tigers small forward Don Speake, flanked by his family, signs to play basketball at Alabama Southern Community College on April 24. Photo by Cory Diaz

The Tigers leading scorer (16 points per game) and rebounder (seven rebounds per game) last season narrowed his decision down to two schools, before ultimately choosing the Eagles.
“We talked as a family for a week-and-a-half or so about it, talked to Coach (Fred) Drake and he gave us some advice,” Speake said.
“Once we weighed the options, Alabama Southern was the best for me and my family. And I was just excited that I had the opportunity to have an athletic scholarship given to me.”
That had been a topic for multiple discussions between he and his father Craig Speake, who played basketball at Tallassee High and is taller than his son, through the years.
“That’s one of the things I wish I had done when I was young,” said the elder Speake.
“He and I talked about it a lot for him to get an opportunity, if he wanted to, to do something that I didn’t get to do. He did and we’re proud of him.”
The 6’3” senior garnered attention from the next level, not only from working hard on the hardwood, but also taking control in the classroom, something that his future coach really liked.
“For Don, I heard a lot of good things, things I liked outside of basketball,” Alabama Southern head basketball coach Trent Eager said.
“He well-driven and hard working, not only on the floor, but with his classroom effort as well. He came down, worked hard, didn’t complain about any of the drills we were doing. He’s a really humble kid. He’s willing to work and a kid we need for our basketball program.”
His soon-to-be former coach agrees with Eager about Speake and his intangibles.
“This is just the beginning,” Drake said. “He’s got to keep putting in the work. One thing Coach Eager and I talked about was how he was in need of high-character quality, good kids. That was a great selling point. He said he’s happy to have Don in the program. I think he’ll do well.”
Speake’s willingness to work, plus the holes in the depth chart left by a departing class, has him on the inside track to make an impact with the Eagles this coming season.
“I am bringing back a couple players that will start above don on the depth chart. But at the same time, it depends on him, the other kids and where he’ll fit in,” Eager said.
“But I can definitely see him making an impact with the way he can shoot the ball.”
Speake said he would like to earn a starting spot immediately for his team, but realizes what needs to be done to get there. His father has witnessed his son’s drive academically and athletically during his high school career, and doesn’t expect college to be any different.
“We’ve all known that he’s been working hard for several years. He’s been very dedicated, and worked really, really hard. This is just an excited time for us to see his dream for the opportunity to play college basketball come true.”

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