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Local players sign with Clayton State Lakers

From Staff Reports

Clayton State University men's basketball has added its final pieces to what was already a national caliber recruiting class and one of the top classes in school history, as school began on the Morrow campus last week.

Gibbons, entering his fifth-year coach and one of the winningest at the NCAA Division II level, announced that four local players are staying home and enrolled at Clayton State. The players are 2002 Morrow High School graduate Rod Venner, 2003 Creekside High forward Jeff Trotter, 2004 Morrow graduate Trey (Calvin) Goss and 2005 Fayette County High graduate Jordan Windisch.

"We are excited that these four quality young men have decided to join our program," said head coach Gibbons.

Venner, the all-time leading scorer at Morrow, transferred from NCAA Division I Jacksonville State University. He led Morrow to a Final Four appearance in 2002 and was a two-time All-Region performer at Atlanta Metro College, where he led the region in scoring at 21 points per game.

A 6-5 forward, Trotter transferred to Clayton State from Division I Robert Morris of the Northeast Conference. An All-State performer at Creekside, he is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at the school. Goss transfers from Fort Valley State University, where he played in all 27 games and led the team in three-point field goal percentage. The all-time best three-point shooter at Morrow, he led Jay Livingston's 2004 Morrow team to the state playoffs.

Fayette County sharp-shooter Windisch, a 6-4 guard, enters as a true freshman. He averaged 17 points per game over the last two seasons at the school, hitting 150 three-pointers. His season high last year was 39 points against South Cobb High, which included nine three-pointers for coach Andre Flynn's team.

The four players join six other signees for the upcoming season, giving the squad one its deepest and most talented classes in school history. Signing earlier this summer were guards Todd McLaurin, from Lenoir Community College in Clinton, NC; Brandon Kelley, from Sante Fe Community College in Gainesville, FL; and Luis Rodriquez from Central Florida Community College in Ocala; forwards Marshez Truitt, out of Heard County High School in Franklin, GA; and John Beugnot, from Abraham Baldwin College, in Tifton, GA; and center 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, 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-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.

Truitt, a 6-6 swingman, 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, which includes winning a Peach Belt Conference Championship.