Furman's decision to offer Bostain paying off

As a senior at Brookwood, Robby Bostain had one of the best all-around seasons in school history.

The point guard averaged 26.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in a brutally tough region. His play gave him scholarships looks from plenty of schools, but many had doubts because of his frame. At 6-foot-4, he was 170 pounds on a good day.

Furman men's coach Larry Davis admits he was one of the doubters. He waffled back and forth about extending an offer, then he was convinced by the evidence on highlight tapes of Bostain being unstoppable against a number of defenses in Region 8-AAAAA.

"I was worried about his body but after I watched those tapes, I said to myself, 'You're nuts if you don't take this kid,'" Davis said. "Now I'm thankful every day I have him."

Bostain has rewarded Davis well for his decision. The junior has averaged in double figures scoring all three of his college seasons, including a team-high 13.9 average this season. He also averages a team-best 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists while playing three positions, point guard, two-guard and small forward, for the 10-6 Paladins.

It helps Bostain fill all of those roles because his body, once a question mark, is now much stronger. He pushes 200 pounds now, but it's tough to tell at times because he's grown to 6-6, two inches taller than he was in high school. He was redshirted his first season at Furman, but probably could have played back then.

"We made the decision to redshirt him and halfway through the year we thought this kid could be playing for us now and helping us," Davis said. "But it was the best decision in the big picture. It's allowed him to mature a little bit and grow into his body."

Bostain has Furman off to a strong 4-1 start in conference play this season, including a pair of big wins on the road. The Paladins, behind 18 points and 10 rebounds from Bostain, beat Davidson 70-66 last weekend to halt the hosts' 27-game conference winning streak. It also ended their 16-game losing streak to Davidson.

They followed that with a victory at Georgia Southern, breaking the Eagles' 18-game home winning streak. The good start in the Southern Conference leaves hopes of a league title, and a possible NCAA tourney spot.

"We're trying to win the regular season title right now," Bostain said. "Hopefully we can take some of that momentum into the tournament and see what happens. We'd like to make the NCAAs. That's the big goal."

With one more season left at Furman, Bostain said he hasn't thought much about playing professional basketball. But his coach thinks he definitely has a shot at it, either overseas or possibly here at home.

"(Bostain) definitely has a chance to play after college," Davis said. "And if he gains another 15 pounds, he might have a chance to get a look here in the U.S. I know it sounds weird, but it might happen. Coming in (to Furman), he'd be the least likely out of his class to have that chance. But I think he has a shot."

Gwinnett players honored by SEC

Gwinnett was well represented on the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, released on Thursday the league offices.

Brookwood had three players on the list: Stephanie Dallas (Mississippi State, soccer), M.A. Foster (South Carolina, soccer) and Hayden Lane (Kentucky, football). Parkview also had three selections: Monica Buff (Vanderbilt, soccer), Jada Stewart (Auburn, soccer) and Kristin Stewart (Auburn, soccer).

Other locals honored were Collins Hill's Megan Jones (Kentucky, soccer), Greater Atlanta Christian's Brannan Southerland (Georgia, football), Shiloh's Allison Harris (Arkansas, soccer), Buford's Mikey Henderson (Georgia, football), Dacula's Des Williams (Georgia, football) and Norcross resident and St. Pius grad Ali Williams (Georgia, soccer).

Tech's Wood named All-American

Georgia Tech pitcher and North Gwinnett grad Blake Wood was named to the preseason Louisville Slugger All-American Baseball Team, which was selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The right-handed pitcher was on the third team.

Wood, a junior, was 10-1 with a 3.13 ERA last season, leading the Yellow Jackets in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. He had a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings of NCAA Regional and Super Regional play.

Gwinnett grads lead Oglethorpe's record start

Four Gwinnett residents play for Oglethorpe's women's basketball team, which is off to the best start in school history. The Petrels, at 13-2, have won one more game already than the previous program high for wins in a season. They entered the national rankings recently for the first time, debuting at No. 24.

Central Gwinnett grad Elizabeth Richmann is one of the team's key players, averaging 11.3 points (second on the team) and a team-best 6.9 rebounds. Oglethorpe's leading scorer is Katie Kulavic, a St. Pius grad who lives in Norcross. Kulavic averages team highs of 17.7 points and 4.4 assists along with 5.7 rebounds.

Peachtree Ridge grad Jamie Osmanson and Parkview grad Mallory Thomson are reserves for the Petrels.

Locals honored by Southern Conference

Parkview grads Wells Trompeter, Mallory Bramlett and Megan Macdonald and North Gwinnett grad Sarah Goolsby were selected to the TIAA-CREF Fall Academic All-Southern Conference Team.

Trompeter, a runner at the College of Charleston, carries a 3.68 grade-point average in political science. Bramlett (3.54 GPA/Psychology) and Goolsby (3.76 GPA/Undeclared) play soccer for Wofford. Macdonald (3.41 GPA/Justice studies) plays soccer at Georgia Southern.

Severt knocks down clinching FT for Shorter

Shorter College freshman Chris Severt, a North Gwinnett grad, made a game-clinching free throw with five seconds left in a 76-72 win over Brewton-Parker last week. Three Gwinnett grads scored in double figures for Shorter, including 11 points and 10 rebounds from Brookwood grad Jay Thornton.

Fellow Brookwood grad Larry Savage had 11 points and Collins Hill grad Darius Williams added 11 points. Injuries forced Shorter to play two games last week with only seven players, five freshman, one sophomore and one junior.

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 will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.