Former Gator Melvin Ford signs contract with ABA's Steel City Yellow Jackets

Former Gator Melvin Ford signs contract with ABA's Steel City Yellow Jackets

Albany, NY– Melvin Ford (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) has found an opportunity to pursue his athletic career after excelling on the hardwood at The Sage Colleges for four seasons as a Gator men's basketball player. Ford has signed a contract to play as a member of the Steel City Yellow Jackets (Pittsburgh, PA) after trying out for the team, which is a member of the American basketball Association (ABA). He signed a contract on November 4 and is ready to open a new chapter of his life.

Selected as the Sage men's basketball Gator of the Year in 2015-2016 as the team's Most Outstanding Player, Ford had a storied career for the Gators that wrapped last season with his earning a spot on the 2015-2016 Skyline Conference All-Star First Team. Ford missed the final two games of the season with an illness and fell only a few points shy of achieving his 1,000th career point at Sage. During the course of his stellar career, Ford led the Gators to the 2014-2015 Skyline Conference regular-season and Skyline Conference Tournament Championship as well as the program's first bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 after a record setting campaign that saw Sage go 23-5. Over the course of his career at Sage, Ford helped the team to an impressive 67-40 record, while leading the team to the Skyline Conference Tournament all four seasons.

He wrapped his stellar career as the program's all-time leading rebounder with 733 rebounds, while ranking No. 3 all-time in scoring with 976 points. He also finished third with his 61 career blocked shots in 102 games played, which is No. 2 in the program's record book.  He was nationally ranked in Division III in the final 2015-2016 season rankings in five categories in the final release of statistics. He was No. 43 in both rebounds per game average (10.0 ppg) and double-doubles with 12 over the course of the 2015-2016 campaign. He was No. 44 as well with his 3.33 offensive rebounds per game average, while standing No. 70 in defensive rebounds per game average (6.67). Ford was also No. 78 with his 240 total rebounds. As a junior, Ford was nationally ranked for his rebounding efforts after finishing the Gators' record-setting campaign with 109 offensive boards and a 3.9 offensive rebounds per game average after helping the team to the program's first Skyline Conference Championship and an NCA Division III Tournament appearance.

After wearing the No. 44 throughout his Sage career, Ford has decided to wear a different number with the start of his ABA career, No. 24. Ford noted, "I will no longer be wearing the number 44 like I was during my time at Sage, as I wanted to wear the number 24 for a number of reasons." He added, "Most might think the biggest reason would be because of the Mamba (Kobe Bryant), who recently retired, but that's not actually it. I wanted to wear the number 24 to represent the number of points I was short of 1,000 points while at Sage."

Ford noted, "1,000 points was one of my biggest personal goals in college basketball and it was seemingly achievable until mono left me on the sideline with one game left in the regular-season and 976 career points. So now any chance I get to see the floor I will always be playing with a chip on my shoulder."

As a team, the 2015-2016 Gators ranked in the Top 100 in nine different categories for their efforts over the course of the 2015-2016 season. Sage was ranked No. 66 in total rebounds per game (40.62), while standing No. 82 in rebounding margin (+3.9) as well as No. No. 84 in defensive rebounds per game (26.0). Sage averaged 8.0 steals per game and ranked No. 87, while also ranking No. 88 in three-point field goal percentage (36.7%). The Gators were also ranked No. 89 in scoring margin (+5.2) and No. 97 in three point field goal defense (32.5%).  Sage also averaged 78.8 ppg and was ranked No. 99 in the category, while also ranking No. 100 with a 12.62 offensive rebounds per game average.

 
 
 
 
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