Johnson High grad Ty Cockfield is thriving with a professional basketball career in Europe

The Gainesville native is currently averaging 17 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. The numbers are good, but he knows there is still work to be done.

“What motivates me is to pursue my dreams because of where I come from,” he said. “Few people are able to pursue this dream.”

Cockfield, 25, had been eyeing a pro championship since he was a student at South Hall High School, then rose to statewide prominence at Johnson High as a senior in 2015.

Playing in Europe is his way of climbing the professional ladder.

Cockfield has worked tirelessly and is now winning at the highest level for him.

“My only goal was to be a winner,” he said. “Once I got that feeling with that title, I was over there crying.”

Shedding tears of joy in Kosovo is better than most of the struggles that took place throughout Cockfield’s life growing up.

The road has not been easy.

As a product of “Out the Road”, near the Harrison Square apartments, the odds were stacked against him.

The former Johnson High star guard witnessed different things that could have distracted his sports dreams, he said.

Every opportunity Cockfield took advantage of.

His high school career blossomed with some elite programs for former Knights coach Jeff Steele.

After an early career at Stetson University, Cockfield enjoyed his next season at Georgia Highlands College.

This season helped him land a more promising position at Arkansas State, playing under coach Mike Balado.

Since college, Cockfield has bounced back, playing in Austria and Greece.

Now he can add a championship to his CV.

“There were times when I almost gave up,” he said. “From the outside, looking inside, it looks easy (chasing that dream). Some might say every time, ‘he gets knocked down, he gets up with a trophy’. That’s the hardest thing to do, which is to get up.

The motivation to achieve his NBA dream is not the only thing that motivates him.

Cockfield’s motivation is his 7-year-old daughter, Noelle, whom he talks to every day, despite being six hours jet-lagged.

Cockfield virtually shares the moments he can with her. He misses spending every day with her in person. However, he knows this is a journey that will pay off in the long run.

Sharing his success is something Cockfield wants to share with everyone, especially any youngster sitting in a college class dreaming about the future.

“If you keep God first and keep going, everything will follow,” he said. “Your dreams will come true. My only advice is to keep going and keep God first because everything else will sort itself out.

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