Seahawk to realise his US dream

FORMER Warrnambool Seahawk Leigh Saffin will fulfil a basketball dream when he moves to America this month.

Leigh Saffin will join Chadron State College in Nebraska later this month. 140201AS22 Picture: AARON SAWALL

Leigh Saffin will join Chadron State College in Nebraska later this month. 140201AS22 Picture: AARON SAWALL

Saffin, 20, has signed a letter of intent with Chadron State College in Nebraska.

But the 196-centimetre shooting guard won’t suit up for the National Collegiate Athletic Association division two school in his freshman year.

Saffin, who has spent the past six months fine-tuning his game at the Australian Basketball College in Melbourne, said he would arrive at Chadron as a “redshirt”.

It comes after he found out his was ineligible after his science classes weren’t counted and left him two units short. Saffin said he was grateful Chadron State College threw him a lifeline after he missed out on a handful of other scholarships due to his ineligibility problems.

“You don’t lose a year of eligibility so I am there for five years instead of four,” he said of being a redshirt athlete.

“So the first year I sit out and not play.

“I still train and go to classes.”

Saffin said he was relieved to get an opportunity and was ready to repay Chadron State College, whose basketball team is known as the Eagles.

“The coach wants me there on August 14 but I still have to get my visa,” he said. 

“I had been talking to them for a while and had a few other options but found out I was ineligible so the scholarships are gone.

“They were happy to get me out and register me anyway so I am lucky.

“I can’t wait to get there. It’s been a crazy six months but it’s paid off.”

Saffin graduated from Brauer College last year and relocated to Melbourne to join the Australia Basketball College, which enabled him to visit the United States on a basketball tour in April.

He made his Big V debut in 2010, playing two games.

The next two seasons he played sporadically at senior level before suiting up in all 22 games in 2013.

Saffin’s most recent game in Seahawks’ colours was at Country Basketball League level last summer. 

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