Small school experience leads Trevecca's France to a world of basketball

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 11:44pm

Michael France believed he was overlooked coming out of high school.

Now, just months after graduating from Trevecca Nazarene, the shooting guard is continuing to show he’s worth taking a chance on.

After playing in a couple European all-star games and making a stop at last month’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, France is awaiting a phone call to hear if he’s done enough to land on a professional team overseas.

“I felt like I had something to prove,” France said on Wednesday. “My coach [at Trevecca, Sam Harris] told me that I shouldn’t worry about coming from a small school as long as I work hard and play within my game people will notice and realize the talent that I have. I just continue to work hard.”

He wasn’t highly recruited out of Shelbyville Central. He got minimal interest from Belmont, Tennessee Tech and Morehead State, which actually offered him scholarship. But he had to take the ACT again for a qualifying score and by the time his test results arrived Morehead had already offered someone else.

Later that spring, while playing in an all-star game, he was approached by Harris and offered a scholarship. Two days later, he signed with the Trojans.

“I had no idea Trevecca was even scouting me until I went to the all-star game,” he said.

Last winter, France closed the books on one of the best careers in Trevecca history.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder averaged 20.3 points as a senior and was named the National Christian College Athletic Association Player of the Year. In the process he finished with 2,019 points and became just the fifth Trevecca player to eclipse 2,000 career points.

“To be up there with those kind of guys [in elite company] I really don’t have much to say about it, it is just an honor,” France said.

Shortly after he graduated with his degree in May and scored 18 points in a local all-star game at Belmont, France was tabbed for an international venture. He joined two other Americans in playing in two different all-star games in Iceland.

“It was real fun. It was great, man,” France said. “It was beautiful surroundings.”

The 22-year-old built off that experience as his agent got him a spot in an international exposure basketball camp in July in Las Vegas.

He played four games before he was asked to join the Minnesota Timberwolves summer league team, which was also playing across town in Sin City.  He scored six points in his only game but did enough to earn an invite back to next year’s NBA Summer League.

“I played very hard. I didn’t just show I can play offense,” France said. “I showed them I have an all-around game. I played good defense. I got a lot of rebounds, assists and I scored a little bit too. I played an all-around basketball game.”

Now back in Shelbyville, France is working out daily and waiting for the phone to ring. His agent has talked to teams in France, Germany and Italy and hopes to land on a roster this fall.

“It has hit me a few times,” France said of the possibility of playing basketball for a living. “But I really have to stay focused. Just continue to work hard and continue to improve myself.”