Battle Ground’s Belford signs with Davidson

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 
photoJake Belford

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BATTLE GROUND — Jake Belford was a late recruit.

Then he signed his national of letter of intent with a day left in the signing period.

And you know what? The Division I scholarship still works the same as if he had inked his name on the traditional signing day.

Belford, a 6-foot-9 forward from Battle Ground, signed with Davidson College, sealing his college choice in front of his parents and friends Tuesday after school.

Davidson of North Carolina made national headlines when current NBA player Stephen Curry shined during March Madness in 2008. Davidson also made the NCAA Tournament this past season, playing in Portland.

The morning after Davidson’s season ended at the Rose Garden, head coach Bob McKillop was at Battle Ground High School, to meet Belford.

“He asked me some questions. I asked him some questions. We agreed on a lot of things,” Belford said. “He definitely made a big impression on me. He made me want to play for him. It felt very personable. No coach had made that sort of an effort to get to know me.”

A week or so prior to that meeting, assistant coaches, who had studied video of Belford, watched Belford in person at an open gym. They were impressed.

Belford spent a weekend at Davidson in late March. That’s when he was offered a scholarship.

“I committed on the spot,” Belford said.

Belford had to wait until the spring signing period, which would begin April 11, and then had to wait to be accepted to Davidson.

All the paperwork in order, Belford, a two-time first-team all-league player for the 4A Greater St. Helens League, made it official.