3 Geoducks to play pro basketball

HOOPS: Menefee, Feliciano, Gallagher will realize their dreams

September 9, 2010 

They're not done playing basketball after all.

Five months after taking their final shots for The Evergreen State College men’s basketball team, Nate Menefee, Julio Feliciano and Anthony Gallagher have signed contracts to play professional basketball in foreign countries.

Menefee, a three-time All-America guard who scored 57 points in one game and averaged 26.5 points as a senior, leaves Saturday to play in Portugal.

Gallagher, a mobile, 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 10.1 points, flew to France on Tuesday to begin his pro career.

Feliciano, an honorable mention all-conference center, will leave soon for Mexico to realize his dream of playing pro ball.

“It’s neat to see three guys off one team make it,” said Jeff Drinkwine, the former Evergreen coach who led the team to the NAIA nationals in each of the past two seasons. “It’s not often you see three guys go pro in one year off one team.”

Menefee, an all-state guard on Timberline High School’s state qualifying team in 2004, went to a tryout camp in Las Vegas in July, grabbing the attention of several scouts from Europe. Menefee then sent the scouts some video highlights and a résumé.

That led to a return trip to Las Vegas and a contract offer that includes housing, food expenses and a car.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Menefee said. “I’m excited and anxious at the same time. I’m feeling a lot of different emotions.”

It will be his first trip to Europe.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Menefee, who was named the Cascade Conference player of the year as a junior at Evergreen, was a dominant player on offense and defense, averaging 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals.

Gallagher shot 50.9 percent from the field and averaged 4.5 rebounds per game. Feliciano, a 6-8 center, averaged 9.1 points and 4.5 assists a game.

“Julio was one of the smartest players,” Drinkwine said. “He was a good passer and a good shooter. Gallagher was very athletic.”

Gallagher, Feliciano and Menefee were part of a team that went 60-31 the past three seasons under Drinkwine – Evergreen’s most successful run in school history.

“We could always count on Nate,” Drinkwine said. “He could dictate the tempo of the game on offense or defense.”

Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 gwood@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/sports/blog

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