CCSU signs junior college all-star

From Staff Reports

The Clayton College & State University men's basketball team recently added the final piece to its 2003-04 squad, and he is a "big" one with some impressive numbers and awards.

B.J. Puckett, a 6-foot-9 National Junior College Athletic Association All-America post player, has enrolled for fall semester at Clayton State.

Puckett, the Mr. Georgia Junior College Co-Player of the Year, was a pre-season NJCAA first team All-America selection in the 2002-2003 season.

"B.J. makes us big and solid in the post, said third-year Clayton State coach Gordon Gibbons, the NCAA Division II's third winningest coach. "He can score, rebound and defend."

The Truett-McConnell College product averaged 22.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game and led his team to back-to-back winning seasons and NJCAA Regional Final Four appearances. He also earned honorable mention NJCAA All-American honors after his freshman year and was named the Georgia Junior College Freshman of the Year.

His junior college highlights include 39 points against Anderson College, 31 points at South Georgia College and 24 points and 20 rebounds against state junior college runner-up Middle Georgia College.

Puckett played his high school at Dacula and was voted first team All-Gwinnett County and to the Atlanta Tip-Off Club first team All-Region squad his senior season.

Puckett joins a Clayton State team that is reloading after graduating 10 players over the last two years, a group that led the Lakers to 26 conference victories and a Peach Belt Conference Championship.

"We've graduated some players that have been integral in establishing a winning tradition, but the ?cupboard is not bare,'" said Gibbons. "We return seven players from last year's rotation, three starters and one of the team's top scorers. This is year's team will be deep and talented."

In addition to Puckett, the class of 2003 includes two junior college All-Region guards in Rashad Williams of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Carlton Holmes of Spartanburg Methodist College, Darien Chavis, a NCAA Division I transfer from Colorado State, and two freshmen, one of whom is 7-1 center Aristide Sawadogo from West Africa.

The Clayton State men's squad will open the regular season on Saturday, November 15, hosting Southeastern. Fans will able to get their first look at the 2003-04 squad on Monday, Nov. 3, as the Lakers host BaseLine USA in an exhibition contest.