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Gwinnett grads: Collins Hill grad a steady force for BYU hoops

Since last season, Dani Kubik Wright added a husband and a new name to go with an improved game.

It's all worked out pretty well for the Collins Hill graduate, who is enjoying life as a married student while her Brigham Young women's basketball is having a successful season. Individually, the senior leads the 17-5 Cougars in scoring and rebounding.

"It's going well," said Wright, who married David Wright, a former coach at Dacula and now a coach at Taylorsville (Utah) High, last April. "I'm so much more on task now than I ever was (before I was married). I'm more scared to look bad in front of (David) than my parents. I'm working on my grades more than ever."

Wright's college career has been a long journey, but she's having an entertaining finish. It's a far cry from an unpleasant freshman season at Auburn, where she was unhappy despite her team winning the 2003 Women's NIT championship.

She sat out the following year because of the transfer, and was a solid reserve for BYU in 2004-05, averaging 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore. She's stepped up her game each of the past two seasons, and is having the best year of her career in 2006-07.

The 6-foot-3 post averages 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, which is ninth and seventh respectively in the Mountain West Conference. She also leads the conference in field-goal percentage at 61.8 (115 of 186).

"I'm extremely happy (I came to BYU)," said Wright, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in a Thursday night win over Air Force. "It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. In Auburn, I started hating the game. I've learned so much more and I love the game so much more out here."

Her team also is rolling along with an 8-1 conference record.

"It's been a fun year," she said. "We have another girl who starts with me and she's 6-3. We get a lot of double teams in conference play, but other players step up. It reminds me a lot of Collins Hill where there's not one go-to player. It's a well-rounded team."

Wright and her team have plans of reaching the NCAA Tournament this season, but that may not be the end of her basketball career. Some people have mentioned the WNBA as a possibility, but she said joining a team overseas is more appealing.

"I think about (playing overseas) a lot," Wright said. "It's a definite option. If anything happens (professionally), I'm looking more at playing overseas. That would be a great experience."

BASKETBALL

Clark powers GCSU

Collins Hill grad Aaron Clark has become the go-to player for Georgia College and State University's men's basketball team, and recorded his first career triple-double on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 junior center had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists this past week in the Bobcats' 104-103 loss to Columbus State. In his previous two games, Clark had a team-high 18 points in an 86-63 win over North Georgia and 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 71-58 victory over Georgia Southwestern.

He leads 16-6 GCSU in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (8.1), and ranks second in assists (3.3).

Luckhurst shines for 20-4 Tulane

Wesleyan grad Nikki Luckhurst has stepped up with a pair of strong games recently for the 20-4 Tulane women's basketball team.

The 5-8 junior scored a season-high 20 points Feb. 1 in a 71-56 victory over Houston on 8 of 15 shooting (4 of 9 from 3-point range). She followed that up with 10 points, four steals and three assists in a 77-61 win over Memphis on Thursday night.

Alexander receives

academic award

Norcross grad Monica Alexander, a junior guard at Newberry College (S.C.), was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District III team on Thursday. She made the third team.

Alexander, who has a 3.41 GPA in education, has played in 82 career games for the Indians and has averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 assists. She also has 152 career steals.

FOOTBALL

Rowson named D-III All-American

Wheaton College (Ill.) offensive lineman Geoff Rowson, a Wesleyan grad, was selected to The Football Gazette Division III All-American Team this past week. He also was named first team All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) earlier for the second straight season.

Rowson, an offensive guard, led a line that propelled Wheaton to 421.9 yards per game, 10th in

Division III.

Greater Atlanta Christian grads Jeremy and Joseph Chupp, who also play for Wheaton, were named second team All-CCIW this season. Wheaton made the second round of the playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Mount Union.

BASEBALL

Morrison gets school's weekly award

Collins Hill grad Kevin Morrison, a freshman outfielder on North Georgia's baseball team, was selected as his school's athlete of the week for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4.

Morrison was 6-for-13 in a weekend series vs. Barton College with five runs scored and four RBIs. He had two doubles, a triple and his first college home run in addition to drawing three walks. He currently leads the team in batting average (.462), slugging percentage (1.077) and on-base percentage (.563).

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.