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Lockhart flying with Eagles

Justin Marville

Lockhart flying with Eagles

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ANDRE LOCKHART has joined the pro ranks.
The national point guard is the latest Bajan basketballer taking his talents to the British Basketball League after acquiring a one-year contract to play for champions Newcastle Eagles this week.
A British-born 24-year-old, Lockhart leaves Barbados today to arrive in Newcastle early enough to take part in practice tomorrow morning before appearing in his pre-season game on Friday.
“This is really exciting for me because it has always been my dream,” said Lockhart in an interview with SUNSPORT.
“To take it from learning the game, to playing it as a hobby, and now to be paid for something you love is a real dream.”
Lockhart now joins a list that includes Nigel Lloyd, Michael Nurse, Victor Payne and Andrew Alleyne, as Barbadians to play in the professional English league, after Lloyd made initial contacts with clubs across the country.
The heady floor general first showed  promise as a talented playmaker at Coleridge and Parry in the school leagues, before truly making a name for himself as part of the schoolboy programme at the National Sports Council.
Now the seasoned basketball player has cemented his place as Barbados’ starting point guard, having led his club side Lakers to their first ever Premier League title three seasons ago.
“I’ve always seen this for him,” said long-time coach and father figure Derek Aimey of Lockhart’s pro move.
Very happy
“This is also a dream come true for me. I have had [other] players turn pro from way back but I’ve seen this for him from early so I am really happy,” added Aimey.
Lockhart graduated from NCAA Division II school Queen’s University of Charlotte earlier this year, before improving his fitness by playing the last half of the Premier League season for Lakers.
“The BABA season helped me and the competitiveness with Corey Williams pushed me mentally because I haven’t had someone come at me like that in a while,” expressed Lockhart.
But it is nothing compared to the work he put in over the years, especially at college, which has got him to this stage of his career.
“The work you have to put in includes long hours in the gym and weight room,” advised Lockhart of reaching the professional level.
“The biggest thing that opened my mind about the sport is when I went to college and see the work those athletes put in. But you can’t blame the athletes down here because the lack of facilities here doesn’t encourage you to work hard.”