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Sports

JCSU leaning on remade roster
Golden Bulls to rejuvenate program with recruits
 
Published Thursday, October 11, 2012 8:03 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith is bringing in help for All-America Trevin Parks.

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Johnson C. Smith junior forward Antwan Wilkerson is one of six lettermen returning to the Golden Bulls, who went 12-15 last season.


The Golden Bulls’ 12-15 record was their first losing campaign in 15 years, which sparked an offseason of change. The roster will be decidedly different when the regular season opens Nov. 10 at Lees McRae with eight newcomers – including three junior college transfers.


“We’re highly disappointed in how our season turned out last year,” JCSU coach Steve Joyner said. “We did not perform up to our capabilities and didn’t gel well together as a team, so we hope to at least correct those things.”


A couple of key contributors from last season, guard Phil Woods and center Dalonte Boyd, both transferred to Talladega (Ala.) College, an NAIA program. Their departure opened opportunities for Joyner to add support for Parks, a 5-11 senior who led the CIAA in scoring at 22.7 points per game.


“That’s what we’ve been trying to do the last two years – build some talent and depth into the team,” Joyner said. “If we have to look at a year we did not get that done recruiting-wise, it was last year. This year, we’ve got quite a few new players coming in that we hope are going to be able to help us out.”


Change is most evident at shooting guard where 6-4 Diondre Pratt from Anson County High averaged 20 points and eight rebounds as a senior last year and earned an invitation to the East-West All-Star game. Joshua Linson, a 6-1 guard who played at Queen City Prep, scored 27 points a game last year and set a school record with 13 three-point shots in a game.


“I think our (shooting) guard position is deep, but it’s young,” Joyner said. “I think Linson is the better shooter, Pratt has the overall ability but both are certainly very talented.


Richard Daniels, a 5-10 point guard, will back up Parks.


The Golden Bulls are swimming in small forwards, where juniors Antwan Wilkerson (6-6, 205 pounds) and will compete with sophomore Marcus Walker who is coming off a knee injury. Wilkerson averaged 8.2 points last year, but was inconsistent on the offensive end. Robert Williams (6-4, 190), who averaged 7.3 points a game last year, will split time between small forward and shooting guard.


Markell Lotharp, a 6-7 forward from Marshville, was an NJCAA all-America at Sandhills Community College last year and adds perimeter scoring, as does 6-4 Kameko Walls, who averaged 18 points and four assists last year at Brunswick Community College in Supply, N.C.


Chris Williams, a 6-5 power forward from Chesapeake, Va., earned a spot in the Virginia High School All-Star game after averaging 18 points a game last year. Alandre Davis of Florence, S.C., who will be the tallest Golden Bull at 6-8, averaged 11 points and 9.4 rebounds at Wilson High, which won the Region 6 3A title last year. Davis, who didn’t start playing basketball until his freshman year and became a starter as a senior, earned a spot in S.C.’s North-South All-Star game.


“We got some help,” Joyner said. “It’s just young. We need to develop it. We brought in some experience, we brought in some size but for the most part what we have is very new and very young.”


It’s a start after JCSU slid behind Winston-Salem State and Shaw in the South. Joyner expects the newcomers to take an aggressive approach to competing.


 “We want a program that consistently plays hard from the time the ball is jumped off until the end of the game,” he said. “We didn’t have that last year.”

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