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Halford signs with Trojans

Sunday, May 7, 2006

(Photo)
Risco's Andrew Halford signs a letter of intent Friday.
RISCO - Risco basketball standout Andrew Halford has signed a letter of intent to play for NAIA Division I Hannibal-LaGrange College next basketball season.

Halford averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds per game last season for the Tigers and was the Tri-County Conference Player of the Year. Halford also earned All-Conference, All-Region and was a second team selection for All-

State in Class 1.

Trojans head coach Jason Durst will be in his second season next year at Hannibal and learned of Halford from Risco head coach Brandon Blankenship.

"Coach Blankenship played at Hannibal-LaGrange as a basketball and baseball player," said Durst. "I played against Brandon when I was at Culver-

Stockton. Brandon just knew that Andrew might be a good fit and someone that might be worth looking at. That is kind of how the networking works. An alumnus gives us a call and we check them out. I was most impressed with Andrew's athleticism. Word-of-mouth really didn't do him any justice. As a high school player he has a pretty good body, he is physical and jumps well. When I looked at him, athleticism was something that stuck out to me."

The Trojans will have much of their team back from a 11-19 campaign last season.

"We are going to have a team pretty loaded at the top," said Durst. "We have a lot of juniors and seniors coming back. So as a freshman, Andrew is going to have to compete for playing time. He is going to have to raise his play a little bit. But I see it as a good thing for him because I see Andrew as having the potential to come in and get some minutes right away just from his athleticism and physical play."

According to Blankenship, not only is Halford proficient on the court, it looks like Halford will be Risco's valedictorian.

"Andrew is just a solid player and at that level he can compete with anybody," said Blankenship. "I might be biased, but I think Andrew is a solid pickup for Hannibal-LaGrange."

Blankenship understands that a college signing by one of his players could do wonders for his program.

"This a huge deal for Risco and our basketball program," said Blankenship. "Maybe the younger kids can see this and say 'that can be me someday.' It is something that they can strive for and see that a kid from Risco can play at the next level."

As for Halford, he plans to major in physical education and hopefully coach one day after his basketball career is over.

"This is something special for me, my family and for the entire town of Risco," said Halford. "I am hoping to fit in and produce on the court. Coach Durst is a big reason I chose Hannibal. I saw the campus and felt right at home. Some of the returning players are from around here and we are buddies, so it felt right just being up there. I hope I can make the people here proud of what I accomplish."