CORPUS CHRISTI – Dale Francis, a 6-foot-9 forward from Leighton Buzzard, Central Bedfordshire, England, has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball program, Head Coach Willis Wilson announced today. Francis has played the last five years at the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands.
"Dale comes from a tremendous program in Canarias, and he has the maturity and basketball IQ to come in and compete for playing time right away," Wilson said. "We think he is a guy who can develop into a strong big man in the Southland Conference. With the signing of Dale and Zane Knowles, we've added some much-needed depth in the frontcourt."
Canarias Basketball Academy players take classes through the Oakley College preparatory academic program while improving their athletic skills. The top European players are invited to the program, which runs year-round and focuses on all aspects of basketball – from on-court skills to leadership to nutrition. The team also competes in the junior national championship in Spain, where it recently advanced to the round of 16.
Additionally, Francis competed for England's Under-16 team at the 2010 Division B European Championships, where he averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds. In 2009, he was part of the bronze-medal winning team at the U-16 European Championships, while in 2012, he was one of the final cuts for England's Under-18 squad.
Francis was also selected to attend the Basketball Without Borders camp in 2011. The camp featured the top players born in 1994 to train under NBA players and coaches. He was one of two players from England selected to the camp, which was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and featured former all-star Vlade Divac.
Francis joins high schoolers Jelani Currie (Albany, N.Y.) and Brandon Pye (Mansfield, Texas) along with junior college players Knowles (Nassau, Bahamas), William Nelson (Baton Rouge, La.) and Joey Williamson (Oklahoma City, Okla.) as players to sign with the Islanders heading into the 2012-13 season.