Oakton’s Beckford named NJCAA All-American

(Apr. 14, 2017) Oakton Community College men’s basketball freshman Tafari Beckford (Skokie, Niles North High School) was named National Junior College Athletic Association All-American as a member of the second team.

“Tafari’s rare combination of size, skill, athleticism and mental toughness made him a nightmare for opposing teams, and he grew as a player and leader as the season progressed,” Owls head coach Mick Reuter said of the 6-5 guard. “The All-America honor provides recognition for the hard work he put in for the team throughout the year.”

Beckford earned all-region accolades in 2016-17, averaging 20 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent three-point shooting in 24 games.

“I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs both in school and basketball-wise. Coming to Oakton, I just felt that my best shot was to keep up with school, stay on the court and try my best,” Beckford said. “Now, I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it means a lot to me.”

The 2016-17 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) player of the year averaged a double-double in ISCC play, en route to earning first team all-conference honors with an average of 21.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per conference game.

“I’m proud of my team, even though we didn’t go as far as we’d have liked, and I feel like next year is going to be even better,” Beckford said, noting he’s inspired to work even harder. “We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and as more people hear about us and come to our games to cheer us on, I feel that will give us even more confidence and it will be a great year next year.”