STORY BY MIKE WENDLANDT
Change is inevitable. Whether an athlete, a coach, a parent, a student or an administrator, change can be expected.
For the Drake men’s basketball team, adapting to change is exemplified by six men who are here after transferring from another program.
Two of them came from the Big 10 (Kale Abrahamson and Graham Woodward), one from the ACC (Jordan Daniels) and three from junior college (Trevor Berkely, Gary Ricks Jr. and Chris Caird). Each has his own story about how they made it to Drake.
Senior forward Chris Caird made the longest trip, traveling from Daventry, England, to Marshalltown Community College and ultimately to Drake, where he played his first full season last year.
Caird viewed it not as a huge change, but one that is especially noticeable in what he sees from his competition.
“Everyone can play here,” Caird said. “In junior college, you sometimes come across teams with only one guy who can play. Everything’s a lot more physical and athletic here.”
For others, especially those from marquee programs, the journey takes them back to high school.
“I had to open recruitment again, just like high school, and I was talking to a lot of coaches, working to see where I would fit best,” said junior forward Kale Abrahamson, a transfer from Northwestern University. “I was thrilled to meet Coach Giacoletti and see his investment in me as a player and a person.”
Abrahamson cannot play this year due to NCAA transfer rules.
There are other players from bigger schools who have experienced similar recruiting trails, like senior guard Jordan Daniels, who transferred from Boston College.
“The caliber of athletes in the ACC and MVC is extremely high. Everyone comes to play every night. It wasn’t a drop-off between schools or conferences,” Daniels said.
For any transfer athlete, there will be an adjustment period, whether it be to the new city, the new school or the new coaching staff.
But for the current Bulldogs, the decision started at the top with Giacoletti. Daniels, in particular, played for three coaches in under a year in 2013.
“The biggest time (when I was nervous) was when we were between coaches and we didn’t know what to expect,” Daniels said. “We didn’t know what he would be like or what he would run, and that made us focused on the search.”
For all of them, though, Drake appears to have been the right choice, and each wants to leave a legacy beyond the hardwood.
“I just want to be the best person, man and player I can be,” Abrahamson said. “The coaches have a plan for me to do that. My entire time has molded me, both at NW and here, and I want to leave happy and to have left it all on the Knapp Center floor.”
Daniels said the transfer won’t matter in the end, as long as he sees positive outcomes.
“I want to feel like I made the right decision and have lifelong connections here after my time is done,” Daniels said.
The Bulldogs take to the court on Nov. 8 when Coe College visits for an exhibition game. They open the regular season against Bowling Green on Nov. 15 at 2:05 p.m. in the Knapp Center.