2 winning shots: priceless

The Baltimore Sun

A 5-foot-11 point guard, Xavier Drake averages 15 points and six assists for No. 3 Milford Mill, which won the Baltimore County championship two weeks ago. The senior can't get enough of the game and plays year-round, including through the summer with recreation leagues and Baltimore Neighborhood Basketball League. He has drawn some attention from Division II and III college coaches and hopes to play Division I. He has a 2.9 grade-point average and wants to become a sports agent.

How did you get started playing basketball?

I started playing when I was 5 years old. My father actually taught me how to play the game, so he really schooled me on the game as I was coming up and my brother worked with me. His name is Donte Drake. He played at Mervo.

What's your earliest basketball memory?

I was over at my father's house and we had a little portable goal and we used to put it down so we could dunk on each other. I was about 7.

How exciting was it to win the county championship?

The whole year, everybody was always in our ear like, "Y'all gonna win it? Y'all gonna win the county championship?" Coming into the season, everybody thought we were the team to beat, so basically we just had to live up to the hype.

What is your role on the team?

If I'm not shooting the ball, to penetrate and kick and definitely defense. Most of all defense, because that's what wins the game. Coach looks at me more as a shooter, but also I can penetrate and kick the ball out to the open shooters, so I play a couple [of] roles on the team.

No. 1 Lake Clifton is in your region. Do you want to play the Lakers pretty badly?

Definitely, because last year, they sent us home. They ended our season, so this year, we really want to pay back with a little revenge.

Do you play a lot of pickup basketball?

This season, I really haven't had a lot of time to play, because I've been focused on the season, but in the summertime and springtime, I play a lot of pickup games. I love it. We play at a place called Hoops.

Do you try out new things when you're playing pickup ball?

I work on things that I'm not as good at, like shooting with my left hand, dribbling the ball with my left hand, passing with my left hand. I do a lot of things with the left hand to get it as good as the right.

What's the best thing that has happened for you this season?

I hit two game-winning shots to help my team out a whole lot.

Which one was the best?

The Parkville game. It basically put us in the county championship. It was about 16 seconds left and we had thrown the ball to the post to Tevin Hanner and he kicked it out to me for a wide-open three and I hit it. It was crazy.

Is there anyone you model your game after?

Not really, but I really like Ty Lawson from North Carolina. I like his game. We play the same position and we kind of do the same things. He can shoot the ball and he can pass the ball and make his team better.

How do you feel out there with a basketball in your hand?

It's like the love I feel for the game, it just drives me. Every day that I do it, it just drives me more. If I do something good, it motivates me to do it even more, because I know what I want to do and I know where I want to be.

What's your personal goal in basketball?

I want to go to college and play basketball. That was my ultimate goal growing up, just to be able to take it to another level. Not a lot of people in my family went to college or really played sports, so I'm trying to be a trendsetter.

Most players dream about playing in the NBA. Do you?

Actually, that's not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is to play overseas. Just to see how it is in another country. Mostly to see the different types of basketball played ... different styles. You also get to see different cultures.

Do you play basketball video games?

Yes. NBA 2K9.

Is there anything you can take from playing a basketball video game onto the court?

No. It's a whole different thing. On some of those video games, it's crazy [laughs]. They do things people can't do.

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