LINDSBORG – Last season, Idris Ibn Idris was a key factor in the Bethany Swedes’ basketball success.
He broke numerous records, and with his offensive and defensive skills he helped lead the Swedes to a 20-11 record and a 12-6 record within the KCAC.
Now, Idris is no longer a Bethany basketball player. But that does not mean his playing career is over.
The 6-5 guard from San Diego has signed a professional contract to play for Halcones Xalapa "Xalpa Falcons" in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.
The Falcons are a team that plays in the Mexican National Basketball League. The team was founded in 2003. The Falcons have been a successful team that has won four championships since 2005 and have produced several NBA players. Former Michigan star Robert "Tractor" Traylor played for them before his death in 2011.
The Falcons wanted Idris because of his abilities to control the game from any position, his ability to shoot the ball and finish at the rim. The team said that Idris will have a good opportunity to lead the team because he is a dynamic and athletic player.
Idris originally planned on signing a contract after the end of last season.
"The plan was to come back to Bethany and finish up my degree," he said. "Bu early in August, I received an e-mail that (Bethany) coach (Clair) Oleen forwarded to me about playing professionally."
In the 2013-2014 season, Idris ranked second in NAIA Division II in points per game. He averaged 27.3 and scored a total of 847, third in the nation for total scoring. He also ranked in the Top 10 for 3-point field goal percentage, shooting better than 45 percent from behind the arc.
Idris broke eight individual Bethany College records last season. He had a record-setting 46 points against Bethel College on Jan. 22, 2014. He also had the best scoring average during a season, 27.3 points per game, and the best scoring average over his whole career, 25.6 points per game. Dale Gorsky held the average during a career with 18.7, and Jerry Krone scored 539 points in the 1978 season, an average of 23.4 points per game.
Idris attempted and made more field goals than anyone in Bethany history, 284 of his 511, which was better than the 221 of Kirk Swenson in 1989-1990, and more than the 387 of Swenson in the same season. Idris also set the records for most free-throws attempted in a season, 289, and most free-throws made in a season, 224. Gorsky previously held the record for most free throws in a season with 204 in 1969-1970, and Krone made 163 free-throws in 1977-1978. Idris finished the season with 874 points, and finished his career as a Swede with 1,000 points.
"Playing for coach Oleen has helped me out tremendously," Idris said. "He helped me get confidence in myself and in my game. But he taught me to play hard, that is something you can always control."
Oleen talked about the opportunity Idris has in front of him.
"We are very excited for Idris with this excellent opportunity that he hasm,” Oleen said “The contract Idris signed is very good as well. The team he has signed with is a very good organization and they are a member of a very good league. It is my understanding that Dennis Rodman was in this same league after playing at an NAIA school. Several people who have connections with Bethany Basketball have been very helpful with their time, experience, and connections to help Idris sort through his options and land a contract that provides a great opportunity for him. We are looking forward to following Idris' professional journey. It is important to Idris and his family that he does complete his degree from Bethany as well."
Idris was a unanimous KCAC first-team All-Conference award winner, a second-team NAIA All-American and also had the opportunity to play in the inaugural NAIA All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Idris wants to get better every day and see where his success can take him.
"My goal now is just to not settle,” he said. “I want to keep getting better. Some people are satisfied when they make it professionally, but I want more. I also want to be able to finish my degree from Bethany as well."
Idris' and the Falcons' season is just around the corner. They play their first game on Sept. 25.