Drury's star backcourt duo of Alex Hall and Brandon Lockhart, who led the Panthers to their first NCAA-II national championship as seniors, are taking their considerable talents overseas to the professional level.
Hall announced Saturday that he has signed a pro contract to play for Fuenlabrada in the ACB League, or the First Pro League in Madrid, Spain. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard says he was told by his agent (Oscar Gonzalez) that he's the first NCAA Division II player to sign a contract right in the first-tier level ACB out of college in the 10 years he's been in the business. The 18-team league is regarded as one of the top three regional/domestic leagues in the European national basketball leagues ranking system.
"Being the first is pretty cool," said Hall, a First Team All-America selection as a senior who finished his career with 2,200 points, third on DU's all-time scoring list. "I'm excited to get the opportunity to continue playing the game I love and seeing a different way of life and basketball culture in Spain."
Hall, who also holds the DU career record for 3-pointers made with 389, says he will report in late August for a professional season that will run through late spring.
Lockhart, meanwhile, has confirmed that he will play professionally for Levice in the Slovakian Professional League, though final details are still being ironed out.
The 6-foot-1 point guard was the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA-II Midwest Regional held at the O'Reilly Family Event Center, when Drury swept three games there to earn its first Elite Eight appearance. He leaves the Panthers as their all-time record-holder for steals (267) and No. 4 on the DU career charts for assists (547).
"I'm looking forward to having the chance to play more basketball and experience a different style of game in Slovakia," says Lockhart, who like Hall, was a First Team All-GLVC selection his senior season.
Hall and Lockhart led the Panthers to a 31-4 record, including a 74-73 victory over Metro State on April 7 in Atlanta, Ga., in the NCAA-II national championship game that marked DU's school-record, 23rd consecutive victory.
Hall averaged 20.3 points per game (his 711 points for the season also set a new school record) as a senior and made a DU single-season record 125 3-pointers, hitting .465 of his attempts while also shooting 88-percent at the free-throw line (160 of 182). Lockhart averaged 12.5 points and led the Panthers with his 6.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game, and made a team-high .483 from 3-point range (43 of 89).
Hall had 21 points and Lockhart added 14 points and nine assists as each played 38 minutes in Drury's title win over Metro State, in which the duo led the Panthers back from a 17-point deficit late in the first half before a national TV (CBS) audience.
In their four years together in the DU starting backcourt - Lockhart played in all 124 games, Hall in 123 - the Panthers had a 94-30 combined record, made three NCAA-II tournament appearances, won a Great Lakes Valley Conference championship (2013) and, most importantly, captured their first NCAA title.
"I think both Alex and Brandon will make very fine professional basketball players and will represent Drury and the NCAA Division II level of basketball very well overseas," Drury coach Steve Hesser said. "Obviously, we're very proud of what they were able to accomplish as Panthers for both our program and the university and will continue to follow closely their pro careers."
Hall and Lockhart become the first Panthers to play professionally since current DU assistant coach and former DU standout Brandon Kimbrough competed in England after graduating in 2007. Former Drury great Chris Mortellaro, who completed his Panthers' career in 2004, continues to play professionally in Spain.
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