Iakeem Alston has emerged as one of the top guards in the JUCO ranks playing point guard for Sheridan (Wyo.) College
By Cardell Dudley
It's no secret that making it out of Baltimore to become a productive individual is a tough thing to do. The murder rate is unreal, opportunities for a decent career path is at a minimum, it's tough to survive as stated before. That however is off the court. On the court, to rise up through the ranks of Baltimore's ultra competitive basketball landscape, may be even tougher. I'm on record as saying right now, the best area of basketball talent in the DMV is Baltimore and that is coming from a DC born PG County raised man. The legendary names from past to present of Baltimore's great basketball tradition speak for themselves. Skip Wise, Ernie Graham, Reggie Williams, the late great Reggie Lewis, Muggsy Bogues, Sam Cassell, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, I can go on for days. So it should be of no surprise, that another Baltimore product is making noise. Sheridan (Wyo.) College sophomore point guard Iakeem Alston has emerged as one of the top JUCO point guards in the country. After averaging 8.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field during the 2012-13 season, Alston attracted major D1 attention. The former Dunbar product was recruited by Pitt, Nebraska, Seton Hall, Towson and St Bonaventure before ultimately deciding to commit to St Bonaventure. Currently, the 6'2 175 pound is averaging 8.6 points and 4.3 assist per game in helping lead Sheridan College to a 20-5 record so far this season. Alston since graduating from Dunbar in 2011, has transformed his game from a scoring guard to a all around guard capable of doing it all. Mix in his relentless work ethic and that Baltimore "never back down mentality" you have the recipe for something truly special to emerge. I had the chance to talk with Alston, about his growth as a player, how tough it is growing up in Baltimore on and off the court and his future goals at St Bonaventure and beyond.
*Below is an excerpt from the interview with Iakeem Alston. The full interview will be in the next issue of Finest Magazine coming early November.
FM- Lets start at the beginning. How did you? Or what, who introduced you to the game of basketball?
IA-My step father introduced me to the game of basketball. I always use to watch different guys play like Iverson and Jordan but it was mainly watching different basketball movies which eventually caught my interest.
FM- Growing up in Baltimore as we all know is a tough thing, talk about just how tough it is?
IA-Coming from Baltimore is always tough because nobody will give you anything because most people don't have anything. It's hard because you never know what could happen to you. People lose their life everyday and you never know if you were going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So I just stay out the way as much as possible.
Iakeem Alston senior year highlights at Dunbar
FM-Talk about the major contributors in your life on and off the court?
IA- The major contributions to my life are my family but especially my grandmother. She basically raised me with my momma doing drugs and my father in and out my life because we always had mishaps and arguments. So it's mainly my grandmother. On the court, it's just me having the will to win. In high school I won two state championships at Dunbar so I always thought that I had an upper hand because I went to Dunbar.
FM-Growing up playing the game what players did you look at and patterned your game after?
IA- I would say Russell Westbrook. His ability to just come down the lane and just dunk on big men. I'm not 6'3, 6'4 like he is but I have the same ability. Once I first dunked on a big man in AAU. I knew right away that, that was me. Also, him just going at people at will and still assisting people made me want to model my game after him.
FM-You went the JUCO route after high school, what were the guiding factors in that?
IA- I had a couple of guys from New York that I met during a Hoop Group camp who always kept in contact. Like I said I had no JUCO offers out of Dunbar except to BCCC (Baltimore County Community College)which I was not going to because I was not going to be in this city. So they set me up with this junior college exposure camp, I went there and the next week I heard from at least 10 junior colleges that was willing to offer full scholarships. So I found the one that was so boring that I would be forced to stay in the gym, which was in Wyoming.
The FULL interview will be in the upcoming Finest Magazine 8. Coming early November.
Follow Iakeem Alston on Twitter - @Keemy32