From staff reports
Clayton State University men's basketball coach Gordon Gibbons has announced the signing of two players for 2005-06, and both players were instrumental in leading their respective teams to record-setting seasons last year.
The Lakers recently signed Brandon Kelley, a junior college standout from Sante Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., and high school senior Marshez Truitt out of Heard County High School in Franklin.
Kelley, a 5-foot-10 from Leesburg, Fla., 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.
A selection to the Region VIII All-Star game, Kelley averaged over four assists per game and more than three steals per contest to go along with shooting 44 percent from behind the three-point arc, all of which ranked among the leaders in the Florida junior colleges.
"B.K. is a 'run the show' point guard with two years of college experience," said Gibbons, one of the all-time winningest coaches at the NCAA Division II level. "Throughout his entire career, he has been involved with championship teams. His leadership is important and something we need in our program, since we are losing six seniors."
A 6-6 swingman, Truitt recently put the finishing touches on a sensational prep career at the high school located 50 miles southwest of Morrow.
Truitt, a four-year starter, ended his career with over 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds, leading Heard County to a 75-29 record over his four years. The squad was ranked among the top 10 teams in the state each of his four years.
"Marshez is not only an outstanding talent, but he will also bring character and a strong academic background to our program," said Gibbons. "He is an excellent addition to our recruiting class."
Truitt averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and almost three blocks per game as a senior, en route to being named the team's Most Valuable Player.
The squad's captain, his top game last year came against Bremen, as he poured in 38 points. He also had 36 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks versus fifth-ranked Bowdon and 30 points against top-ranked Tri-County last year. As a junior, Truitt averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds and almost four blocks per game for the Braves.
In addition to his "on the court" accomplishments, Truitt also excelled in the classroom, as he ranked fifth academically in his class. He hopes to pursue a career in medicine and will major in biology at Clayton State.
Kelley and Truitt join two other 2005-06 signees for the Lakers. Clayton State signed 6-7 junior forward John Beugnot, from Abraham Baldwin College, along with 6-11 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.
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.
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.