Aaron Clark wasn't a bad high school player, but it doesn't compare to the current state of his basketball skills.
Now a sophomore at Georgia College and State University, Clark said he's very happy with how his game has progressed. He was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week in men's basketball on Monday, a fitting honor for the previous week, his best as a college player.
"Right now my game's at its highest level," said Clark, a Collins Hill graduate. "I've been steadily improving as the year's gone on. It's really been coming around lately and I'm playing the best basketball of my life right now."
The 6-foot-9, 215-pounder said he's added to his skills greatly since he left Collins Hill, where he played at 195 pounds.
"I've improved a lot with my size, my strength and my athletic ability," Clark said. "I'm faster. I'm stronger. I can jump higher. In high school I couldn't jump over a Sunday newspaper."
Clark has helped the 17-6 Bobcats (14-3 in the conference) to six straight wins, and three more will clinch the Peach Belt Conference title outright. If they win two of their final three, they will be conference co-champions.
The team was 3-0 last week behind Clark, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds with a pair of double-doubles. He made 19 of 30 field goals, 13 of 19 free throws and 2 of 2 3-pointers during the week, which included a career-high 26-point game with 11 rebounds vs. UNC-Pembroke and 15 points and 10 rebounds against Francis Marion.
Clark, who averages 11.9 points, ranks fourth in the Peach Belt in rebounding (7.4), fifth in field-goal percentage (55.0) and second in blocked shots (36).
He played a big role last season as a true freshman, playing in 28 games and starting 25. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 2004-2005.
Shanteau second at SEC Championships
Auburn senior Eric Shanteau, a Parkview grad, placed second in the 200 individual medley on Thursday night at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships. Shanteau swam his best time in the event at SECs at 1 minute, 44.67 seconds, but fell just short of Florida star Ryan Lochte, the reigning NCAA champion in that event. But he closed the gap from last year's SEC meet considerably on Lochte, whose winning time was 1:43.31.
Kidd picked for conference award
Greater Atlanta Christian grad Libby Kidd, a sophomore pitcher on the Georgia College and State University fastpitch softball team, was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday.
Kidd was 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three appearances, including two starts, the previous week. She gave up only five hits in 142⁄3 innings with 13 strikeouts and just two walks. Her victories included a three-hit shutout of Mars Hill, a one-hit shutout of Georgia Southwestern and a scoreless 22⁄3 inning effort in Game 2 vs. Georgia Southwestern.
Triggs excels in return to Georgia
Meadowcreek grad Sherida Triggs helped her Old Dominion women's basketball team to an 89-50 rout of host Georgia State last Sunday in a return to Georgia. Triggs, a starter at forward, had 11 points and six rebounds in the victory, making 3 of 5 field goals and 5 of 7 free throws as Old Dominion improved to 14-7 and 12-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Green hits game-winner for Piedmont
Jake Green's running shot with less than three seconds was the difference in Piedmont College's 93-91 win over LaGrange College in Great South Athletic Conference men's basketball action. The North Gwinnett grad finished with 11 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Teammate Kyle Kemmerer, a Shiloh grad, came off the bench with 19 points and four rebounds.
Miller posts impressive time
South Gwinnett grad Ryley Miller, a runner at Georgia, placed ninth in the 1,600-meter run at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., earlier this week. Miller ran a time of 4 minutes, 9.12 seconds (sixth best in Bulldog history) and was on a distance relay that broke into the Georgia record books at 10:03.57, good for eighth overall. Providence Christian grad Kris Ward also was on the distance relay.
Alexander leads Newberry upset
Newberry College (S.C.) guard Monica Alexander, a Norcross grad, scored a career-high 25 points on Wednesday as the Indians upset Presbyterian College 70-63 in women's basketball action. The sophomore also had nine assists and made 6 of 6 free throws in the waning seconds to seal the win over the Blue House.
Kessenich scores career high
Although the Mercer women's basketball team lost 82-75 to Florida Atlantic last weekend, Central Gwinnett grad Tanya Kessenich scored a career-high 26 points for the Bears. The senior made 9 of 12 shots and 8 of 9 free throws.
Williamson gets academic honor
North Gwinnett grad Katie Williamson, who plays basketball at North Georgia, was chosen as a CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 3 selection, an honor picked by voting of college sports information directors. A biology major with a pre-med emphasis, Williamson has a 4.0 GPA and has been accepted for this fall to the Medical College of Georgia.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.