Oakton's Beckford earns All-American Second Team honors
The basketball season may be over, but the honors continue to roll in for Tafari Beckford.
Oakton Community College's star guard, already the Illinois Skyway Conference Player of the Year for last season, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-American Second Team, the school reported April 14.
Beckford told the North Cook News that he did not know he was going to be awarded until he was on the NJCAA website and clicked on a link for awards. The information popped up showing he was an honoree, and he followed that up with confirmation from his coach, Mick Reuter. He was “very excited” about the honor.
“It just shows my hard work is paying off,” Beckford said.
Last season, Beckford, a 6-foot-5-inch guard from Skokie and a Niles North High School graduate, put up 20 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game over 24 games for the Owls. He 53.3 percent of all shot attempts and 38.1 percent of his 3-pointer tries.
His overall numbers also earned him placement on the NJCAA Region IV Division II District 4 All Region Team.
In conference play, his numbers were even better: 21.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest, as well as an average of 1.6 blocked shots.
Beckford missed Oakton's first six games last season because of financial issues with his former school, and when he hit the floor for the Owls, he was anxious and rushing to hit the ground running in his freshman season.
“As the season prolonged, I got more comfortable,” he said. “I always had confidence in myself and my game but I felt as the season went along and I got used to playing with my teammates again and being on the floor, which being my first year, I felt I needed to get comfortable.”
For next season, when Beckford will return to complete his associate's degree, he said he wants to improve his 3-point shooting percentage. He said he was known as a shooter coming out of high school, but did not shoot treys last season how he felt he was capable of. He would like to get his shooting percentage on 3's up to the mid-40s next season.
Beckford may be the point guard for the team next season, as well. He said he played some at the point last season, and may get more time there next season while the team recruits a point guard.
“I did average five assists a game, so I feel like I'm comfortable with the ball already," he said, "but I just want to work on getting my court vision a lot better and my passing."
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9800 North Lawler St.
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