Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wake's Drum gets shining moment

Michael Drum was one of those kids who grew up on Tobacco Road with the dream of playing ACC basketball. After taking a circuitous route to Wake Forest, his shining moment finally came Wednesday.

Drum, a 6-foot-6 senior forward from Rural Hall, a small community near Winston-Salem, tipped in a missed shot Wednesday with three seconds left, giving the Deacons a 67-65 victory against Clemson.

When Drum left North Forsyth High in 2002, he wasn’t a sure-fire Division I prospect. So he went to then-Division II Presbyterian in Clinton, S.C., where he became one of the South Atlantic Conference’s top players.

His game progressed to such an extent that he was welcomed as a junior to the Deacons by coach Skip Prosser. But only to an extent: Drum is a nonscholarship player who gets a tuition break because his mother, Matella, works at Wake Forest’s hospital.

His steadying, experienced presence is crucial to the young Deacons and he makes do with limited skills, averaging 8.1 points and 2.6 rebounds.

He’s also got a self-deprecating sense of humor. He says wears No..34 because it’s the same as the inches of his vertical leap (unlikely).

And as he knifed to the basket Wednesday, angling for Kyle Visser’s missed shot and a game winner against the Tigers, he did so without being bumped by a Clemson defender.

“I need that to get up to the rim,” he told reporters.

- David Scott