Drake suits up for first Big Dance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Alabama will have no teams dancing in this year&8217;s NCAA Division I Men&8217;s Basketball Championship Tournament, however, former Calera Eagle George Drake hopes to help lead his Vanderbilt Commodores team deep into the tournament.

&8220;I think we&8217;ll go far. I definetly see us getting to the Sweet 16 at the least,&8221; Drake said.

Drake is one of only a few players from Alabama, and the only from Shelby County, that will put on their dancing high-tops for the tournament, which begins Thursday.

Vanderbilt (20-11), the No. 6 seed from the East, will face 11th-seeded George Washington University (23-8) Thursday at 4:10 CT in Sacramento, Calif.

&8220;It was exciting to sit in the dining room here at the school and watch the selection show Sunday,&8221; Drake said.

Drake appeared in all 31 games for the Commodores, scoring points in 20 of them, as he averaged 2.6 points per game on the season through an average of 10.4 minutes. He collected 17 steals and 18 assists on the season, and is currently fifth in blocked shots with six.

&8220;I come in and just try to bring some energy, especially on the defensive end. I get steals every time I can, and then sometimes the steals turn into dunks and that gives the crowd more to cheer about,&8221; Drake said.

Drake, who plays second fiddle to senior Derrick Byars and junior Shan Foster, scored six points in Saturday&8217;s 72-71 loss to Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference semifinals