From staff reports
The Clayton College & State University's men's basketball program graduated its two starting posts from the 2004-05 season but has quickly filled that void with the signing of a couple standout junior college players for 2005-06.
Clayton State signed 6-foot-7 junior forward John Beugnot, from Abraham Baldwin College, along with 6-foot-11 sophomore center Cedrick Kalombo, from Fresno City Community College in California.
Beugnot, a native of Lyon, France, helped lead his ABAC team to an 18-12 record last season, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was an All-Region selection after leading the squad in both scoring and rebounding. He ranked third in the region in rebounding.
"John brings experience to the forward position," said fourth-year head coach Gordon Gibbons, one of the winningest at the NCAA Division II level. "He has the ability to score facing and with his back to the basket."
Beugnot will be leaned upon to pick up the scoring and rebounding load that will be needed with graduation of Craig Butts, who ranked in the top five in the Peach Belt Conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
"John's scoring and rebounding will help fill the void of departing senior Craig Butts. When you average a "double-double" and shoot 40 percent from 3-point territory, you are a versatile player."
Kalombo joins the Lakers after playing one season at Fresno City and helping the Fresno City squad to a 34-0 record and a California junior college state championship. He averaged 10 points, eight rebounds. He was one of the nation's top shot blockers last year, averaging over three blocks per game.
"Cedrick joins Aristide (Sawadogo) on the front line, which will offset the loss of seniors B.J. Puckett and Craig. He adds size, skill and a unique shot blocking ability to our team. The experience of playing on a championship team brings an added edge that will help us."
Clayton State finished the 2004-05 season with an 18-13 overall record and the second best mark in the Peach Belt at 11-5 on the season. The Lakers have averaged 19 wins over the last four seasons, which includes winning a Peach Belt Conference Championship.