March 6, 2011

Hubbard chasing his dream

Anthony Hubbard isn't your traditional college student.

At 25, he is in his second year of junior college and he is still chasing his dream in the game he loves.

The 6-foot-5 combo guard has quite a story to tell and the next chapter may include the University of Iowa.

This past weekend the Fredrick Community College guard made an official visit to Iowa and based on his reaction, the Hawkeyes will be hard to beat.

Hubbard has always dreamed of playing basketball, but at age 17, that dream was sidetracked by a nearly four year stay in jail following a robbery he was involved in.

He was playing basketball at a local recreation center a couple of years ago when a talent scout discovered him and contacted the coaches at Odessa Junior College in Texas. The next thing Hubbard knew, he was off to Texas to play basketball. Odessa was a long way from home and that led Hubbard to Fredrick Community College this year, where he averaged 20 points a game.

College programs started taking notice in the second half of this season, but questions certainly had to be answered about his eligibility because of his age and also his past. Hubbard isn't running from his past and knows that for some programs it would be a hurdle that they could not overcome.

"I'm 25 and I've gotten in trouble. I just try to be open and honest with people tell them what happened," Hubbard said. "Some people accept me for who I am and what I have been though and some people don't accept it and that's fine. Some people would say they don't want to take a chance on this guy and I'm fine with that. I understand it. Each day I just try to prove that I am worthy of their trust and that I am trying to do the right thing."

Iowa was one of those schools showing interest since the first of the year, led by assistant coach Sherman Dillard. Then a few weeks ago Coach Fran McCaffery took a look at Hubbard in person and after asking a lot of questions, offered him a scholarship.

"It's only natural that they would ask a lot of questions. With every coach, I have been straight forward and honest about my past and also the person I am today and hope to continue to be in the future," he said.

The honest approach is paying dividends. This past weekend, he made an official visit to the University of Iowa and based on the trip, the Hawkeyes are going to be hard to beat in his recruitment.

"This was my first official visit and it was a great experience. I don't think an official visit can get much better than what I experienced with Iowa beating Purdue and the overall visit," he said. "I feel like I can fit in really well with the guys on the team and I would also fit into the style of play that Coach McCaffery runs at Iowa."

One thing that stood out to Hubbard were the Iowa fans and everyone associated with the Iowa team, from players, to coaches, to administrators, they made him feel very comfortable.

"The Iowa fans were just incredible. Really nice people and the whole coaching staff, the athletic director, the rest of the administration at Iowa, were great. They all treated me really well and it felt like home," Hubbard said.

Hubbard left Iowa City feeling very good about the Hawkeye program, but since this was his first visit, he didn't commit to Iowa. His next visit will be to Penn State, where he has already taken an unofficial visit. He is also weighing scholarship opportunities at Rutgers and Iona.

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