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Clayton State adds JUCO standout to roster

From Staff Reports

Clayton State University men's basketball has added its final piece to what was already a national caliber recruiting class and one of the top classes in school history.

Head coach Gordon Gibbons, entering his fifth season as the Laker coach, has announced the signing of junior college standout Luis Rodriquez to a grant-in-aid to attend Clayton State University after spending two seasons at Central Florida Community College in Ocala, FL.

"Luis is a tough, physical competitor, who will fit into our style of play," said Gibbons, one of the all-time winningest coaches at the NCAA Division II level. "He gives us experience, size and strength at the guard position."

A 6-foot-4, 205 lb. guard, from New York, NY, Rodriquez was a Mid-Florida Conference All-Star and team MVP both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He averaged 13 points per game and led the club to 36 wins over two seasons.

"Luis does all the things that enables your team to be successful," said Tim Ryan, his coach at Central Florida.

Rodriquez will join six other recent signees in Clayton State's talented class for next season. Along with Rodriquez, Clayton State has signed Todd McLaurin, from Lenoir Community College in Clinton, NC; Brandon Kelley, from Sante Fe Community College in Gainesville, FL; high school senior Marshez Truitt, out of Heard County High School in Franklin, GA; John Beugnot, from Abraham Baldwin College, in Tifton, GA; and Cedrick Kalombo, from Fresno City Community College in California.

A NJCAA All-America, McLaurin scored over 1,500 points in the last two seasons at LCC and was voted the NJCAA Region X Player of the Year last season, averaging 24 points and six assists per contest, while shooting 44 percent from behind the three-point arc. A 5-11 guard, he led his club to a 20-10 season as a sophomore. He had nine 30-point games last season and scored a season high 48 points versus Spartanburg Methodist.

Kelley, a 5-foot-10 from Leesburg, FL, sparked Sante Fe to a 26-4 season last year, including the school's best start in school history, as the Saints raced out a 22-1 record last year and was ranked sixth in the nation. He was a selection to the Region VIII All-Star game.

A 6-6 swingman, Truitt recently put the finishing touches on a sensational prep career, ending his career with over 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. The squad was ranked among the top 10 teams in the state each of his four years. Truitt averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and almost three blocks per game as a senior.

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. A 6-7 forward, he was an All-Region selection after leading the squad in both scoring and rebounding. He ranked third in the region in rebounding.

Kalombo, a 6-11 center, joins the Lakers after playing one season at Fresno City and helping the 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.

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.