Former Hawks basketball players cash in on athleticism

Jason Leskiw

Most guys play basketball recreationally as they grow up and some take a more dedicated approach. For those who play at “The Nest,” the Las Positas athletics facility, it is more than recreation and fun, it is a way of life.

Three former Las Positas players received significant scholarships over the last two seasons and were able to turn their fondness and dedication into a means to further their educations and their lives.

Jarred Jourdan, who transferred to Liberty College in Virginia, Dwight Abad, transferred to Bethany College in Kansas, and Ryan Hebebrand, who transferred to California State University East Bay, were granted the opportunity to transfer to four year schools thanks to their dedication to the basketball program at Las Positas, a program spearheaded by Head Coach Tony Costello.

The three have proven to the old adage that hard work pays off.

“Coach Costello taught me to push myself beyond my comfort zone,” Jourdan said. “He challenged me to be a leader. I grew as a person my last year at Las Positas.”

Jourdan, who is six-foot-five and played forward, helped to take the Hawks to a higher level than most anticipated during the 2011-2012 season. He averaged 16 points per game and grabbed 157 rebounds during his freshman year. The team made the postseason, and nearly made it to the state championship before falling victim to the Yuba City 49ers in an emotional three point loss in March.

“It was a very big deal for me to receive a sports scholarship. Firstly because I had to get my Associates degree to even accept my scholarship which put me on the right path academically. And to overcome all I’ve been through and to get a scholarship is very big for myself and my family,” Jourdan said.

His scholarship is $30,000 per year and he says that they have offered to help pay for a master’s degree if he decides to enter the program at Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Jourdan is major- ing in psychology.

Hebebrand is another player that honored the call from Costello, transferring to California State College East Bay in Hayward, California. Hebebrand received $8,000 per year and is majoring in Kinesiology.

“Receiving a scholarship was a big deal for me, I feel blessed for the opportunity to compete at the next level,” Hebebrand said.    “Since I broke my foot twice within this past year, the chances of me continuing to play were slim so I’m thankful and very appreciative … It feels like a second chance, really.”

Hebebrand registered 34 steals and averaged 8.5 rebounds per game in his final season wearing the Hawks uniform. He also said that he still carries lessons that were taught by Coach Costello.

“Coach Costello and I had a good player-coach relationship. He believed in my playing abilities and work ethic just as much as I did, plus he helped me be more selfish. Selfish meaning that I was so unselfish at times, that it would affect the team in a negative way, so he helped build confidence in myself. I appreciate everything that Coach Costello has shown me and I will continue to use what I’ve learned in my future,” Hebebrand said.

Abad, who transferred to Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas on a full scholarship, says that he is living his dream.

“It’s very big that I got a full scholarship because it was always my dream to play for a four-year college and with the scholarship, because my mother didn’t have to pay for anything,” Abad said.

Abad averaged 14.3 points per game and clocked in for 29 games and a total of 98 assists in his final season at “The Nest.”

All three players spoke fondly of their time at Las Positas College.

“Yes, I miss Las Positas. My teammates, my brothers, I miss them. I miss Coach Costello. Coach was a big influence. He gave me a chance to showcase my talent. He gave me a chance to play,” Abad said.

While they still have some time to go before donning their graduation caps, these former Hawks were able to turn their fade-away jumper into money in the bank.

The Las Positas Hawks basketball season begin on November 8 with the Las Positas tipoff classic. Their first conference game is January 11 against Foothill College at 7p.m. @ The Nest.


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