Dragons’ Bouchard headed to IMG Academy
GLOVERSVILLE — With schools shut down and not able to make college visits, Dante Bouchard has had some time on his hands.
So, he did some painting.
First Bouchard painted the rock at Gloversville High School, honoring his graduating Class of 2020 before turning his attention to a larger canvas — painting his backyard basketball court with graffiti-style design.
“I finished the basketball court a couple days ago,” Bouchard said. “It is one of the biggest projects I have ever started.”
Bouchard’s artistic ability was recognized earlier this year by the City of Gloversville as he and Kadin O’Shaughnessy submitted the winning design for a commemorative mural that will be hung at the Elk Street Park honoring the memories of Shauna Beekman and Anthony “Ice” Coger.
It also gave him time to decide where he will continue his basketball career after graduation — IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“With everything going on, I decided to go prep,” he said. “I could not really visit schools and I visited IMG last year. I loved it there. It is a totally different world. I was talking with the coaches there and going through the whole process with schools that recruited me and I thought this was best.”
Bouchard also considered offers from West Virginia Wesleyan, Newman, and Cal Baptist before opting to head to Florida and IMG Academy.
“They have a lot of connections and a lot of coaches go to their practices there so it should be good,” he said. “”I won’t have a major there, I am going there basically play basketball.”
IMG Academy opened in 1978 as the Bollettieri Tennis Academy and has expanded to become one of the top schools for athletic and performance development helping develop elite athletes achieve success at the collegiate and professional levels.
A four-year starter at Gloversville High School, Bouchard finished his career second on the Dragons all-time scoring list with 2,085 points. During his senior year, Bouchard led the Dragons to their first Foothills Council title since 2009 before falling to eventual champion Mekeel Christian Academy in the Section II Class A semifinal at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. He was named to the Section II All-Star team and honored as the Foothills Council MVP.
With the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the Dragons have not had the chance to hold a traditional season-ending banquet or give coach Aric Kucel a proper send off as he has accepted the boys basketball head coaching position at Shaker High School.
“It was sad that we didn’t have a proper send off,” Bouchard said. “We are trying to plan one. Coach said we are still going to try to have a get together, but it was sad not being able to have a real good good-bye but hopefully that will happen soon.”
Even with school shut down, Bouchard and his teammates have stayed in touch.
“We are still close,” he said. “We have been close friends since we were little so we have group chats and stay close.”
A trend he is certain will continue after graduation.