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GWINNETT GRADS: Class of '09 making splash

The Associated Press . Georgia's Anne Marie Armstrong, right, a Wesleyan grad, blocks a shot by Alabama State's Tanika Jackson during a game on Nov. 25 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.

The Associated Press . Georgia's Anne Marie Armstrong, right, a Wesleyan grad, blocks a shot by Alabama State's Tanika Jackson during a game on Nov. 25 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.

The general consensus with the 2008-09 high school basketball season had the senior girls' talent pool outweighing the senior boys' crop.

So not surprisingly, it's the women from the Class of 2009 who have made the biggest marks so far at the college level.

Three local products -- Anne Marie Armstrong at Georgia, Blanche Alverson at Auburn and Tiffany Clarke at Vanderbilt -- have stepped into key roles for SEC women's basketball powers already.

Here's a look at some noteworthy college debuts by Gwinnett grads:

* Anne Marie Armstrong, Georgia

The Wesleyan grad got off to a bit of a slow start, but has quickly worked her way into the rotation for the unbeaten Bulldogs. She has played in all 10 games (with three starts), averaging 7.8 points and 2.8 rebounds.

* Blanche Alverson, Auburn

Alverson's outside shooting (42.5 percent) has earned 21.7 minutes per game for the 8-3 Tigers. The Buford grad averages 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.

* Tiffany Clarke, Vanderbilt

The Norcross grad has played in every game as a reserve for Vandy (10-1), but logs heavy minutes and averages 8.0 points and 5.2 rebounds.

* Dria David and Olivia Towers-Solis, Presbyterian

Despite the 1-9 Blue Hose's struggles, both Gwinnett freshmen have played solidly.

David, a Central Gwinnett grad, has started all 10 games and averages 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals. Towers-Solis of Mill Creek has made two starts. She averages 19.4 minutes, 2.7 points and 1.3 rebounds.

* Mykala Walker, Wake Forest

The Duluth grad has seen action in three games, averaging 3.0 points and 1.7 rebounds.

* Alex Phillips, Mercer

Also a Duluth product, Phillips averages 2.8 points and 4.2 rebounds, a number boosted by a recent 13-rebound game vs. Belmont.

* Ravven Brown, North Texas

Brown, also of Duluth, has made two starts and has played in all 10 games for the Mean Green.

* Daphne Adebayo, Virginia Commonwealth

Another Duluth grad, Adebayo has played in two early-season games.

* Tia Williams, Limestone College

The Mill Creek grad has started all seven games, averaging 7.4 points and 3.0 rebounds. She also has a team-high 14 steals.

* Chantel Kennedy, Colorado State

The Wesleyan grad has played in every game for a 7-3 team, averaging 19.5 minutes.

* Jazmin Walker and Marissa Rimbert, Armstrong Atlantic

Former Collins Hill teammates, Walker and Rimbert have stood out early in college.

Walker, who has started all eight games, averages 5.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Rimbert, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds last weekend in a win over Edward Waters, averages 6.4 points and 5.4 boards.

* Tyra Smith, Georgia Perimeter

The Berkmar grad averages 7.8 points, 4.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds for a 7-5 team.

* Mariah Richardson, Lincoln Memorial

Also a Berkmar grad, Richardson averages 13.7 minutes, 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds.

As for the men's game, here are some noteworthy college debuts by Gwinnettians this season:

* Khalid Mutakabbir, Presbyterian

Though his college team has struggled with a 2-10 record, the Peachtree Ridge grad has made 11 starts. He averages 7.7 points and 3.9 rebounds.

* Brian Cole, UNC-Greensboro

The Dacula grad got to square off against Duke already. He averages 14 minutes, 4.9 points and 2.1 rebounds.

* Matt Marseille, Centenary

Also a Dacula product, Marseille averages 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game. He had 15 points this past Saturday in a loss to 20th-ranked Ole Miss.

* Zach Lamb, Miami-Dade

The Norcross grad has played well for his junior college team, averaging 11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals.

* Westley Hinton, Missouri State-West Plains

The late bloomer found a college home where he could contribute immediately. He averages 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 13.7 minutes for an 11-2 team. He also has a team-high 12 blocks.

* Xavier Chargois, Shorter

Shorter is off to a hot start (10-1), with Chargois playing a key role as a reserve point guard. The South Gwinnett grad averages 3.1 points, 2.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds.

BASKETBALL

Fast Break

Berkmar grad Wesley Witherspoon scored 14 last Saturday as Memphis edged Massachusetts 73-72, then scored 15 on Tuesday in an 87-57 victory over Southeast Missouri State. ... Al Farouq-Aminu of Norcross had 18 points and 13 rebounds as Wake Forest won its ACC opener last Sunday 67-59 over N.C. State. ... Former South Gwinnett standout Mike Mercer had 19 points last Sunday to lead South Florida to a 69-60 win over San Diego. ... After starting 0-9 and matching its worst start since 1996-97, Colgate got its first win Tuesday night behind Parkview grad Yaw Gyawu. The sophomore had 14 points, his team's only double-digit scorer, in a 63-44 win over Dartmouth.

Mikell gets school honor

Georgia College and State University named Shiloh grad Andre Mikell as its athlete of the week on Tuesday.

The junior guard led the Bobcats to a 77-76 win at Newberry with a career-best 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting. He also had four assists and three steals.

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.