With limited professional basketball spots in the U.S., hopefuls coming out college aim to carve a niche in the world’s numerous international leagues.
B.J. Puckett has found his spot in Central and South America.
The 27-year-old Dacula grad just completed a standout season with Aguada of Uruguay’s top league, earning forward of the year, import player of the year and first-team all-league honors. He averaged 19.6 points during the season, but he isn’t coming back to Gwinnett just yet.
Puckett, a 6-foot-9, 245-pounder who played at Clayton State, flew immediately from Uruguay to Argentina to play for its league championship. He joined Union de Sunchales, the Argentine league’s first-place team with a week left before the playoffs.
After playing in Finland and Portugual earlier in his career, Puckett’s recent pro experience prior to this season included stints in Chile, Mexico and Argentina.
While on breaks from international basketball, Puckett spends his summers playing for the Gwinnett Majic.
Dacula grad Abbie Daniel, a starter at Shorter College, has helped the Hawks to their second straight NAIA Division I National Tournament berth (and just third in school history) this season. The junior averages 6.1 points for the Hawks (24-7). ... Greater Atlanta Christian grad Trent Wiedeman had 15 points, six rebounds and two assists Tuesday as the College of Charleston beat Dayton 94-84. The freshman made 9 of 12 free throws and 3 of 5 field goals, helping Charleston into today’s second-round game at Cleveland State.
Mill Creek grad Spencer Gay, a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, was named this week to the D3hoops.com All-Midwest Region team. Gay was a first-team All-University Athletic Association selection as a senior after averaging 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.
North Georgia’s Wes Coberly, a Brookwood grad, pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on just four hits in a 5-2 win over Georgia Southwestern. Teammate Daniel Warzon of Collins Hill recorded the final out for his first save of season. Warzon also pitched two innings Wednesday in a 6-5 win over Carson-Newman, earning his second save. ... Mill Creek grad Brandon Bast, in his first Georgia State start on Tuesday, pitched three scoreless innings and got the victory in an outing that was designed to be short. He struck out four batters, walked one and allowed just one hit.
GAC’s Kane leads team to cup
Just a freshman goalie at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.), Shawn Kane already has a big win to his credit.
The Greater Atlanta Christian grad made 15 saves Wednesday night as the Mariners won the Hagedorn Cup with a 19-6 victory over rival SUNY-Maritime. It’s the third straight year they’ve won the trophy shared by the rivals.
Kane has started five of six games this season and has a 3-1 record.
Collins Hill grad Carmen Fowler, a senior at Southeast Missouri State, went 7-for-13 with five RBIs in last weekend’s series with SIU-Edwardsville. Though her team missed a sweep with a Sunday loss, she was 3-for-3 and drove in the game’s only run in that setback. Fowler leads her team in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.426) and RBIs (17). ... Grayson’s Shannon Bear went 4-for-7 with two home runs in Georgia Tech’s 13-0, 10-0 doubleheader sweep of Georgia Southern on Tuesday. Buford’s Alysha Rudnik also homered while Grayson’s Hayley Downs went 2-for-2 with a triple, upping her season average to .500.
Tusculum freshman catcher Paige Sneed of Collins Hill played a big part in upset wins last weekend over No. 2-ranked North Georgia and No. 4 Alabama-Huntsville. She threw out two runners attempting to steal second in the bottom of the seventh. She has started all 27 games at catcher and has a .994 fielding percentage on 157 chances, along with eight RBIs as a hitter. .... Collins Hill grad Erin Collins picked up her CAA-best second save Wednesday in a victory over Samford.
Tillman shines at ACC meet
Mill Creek grad Zach Tillman, a Georgia Tech junior, finished 12th in the ACC Championships in the 1,650 freestyle with an NCAA B cut time. He placed 15th in the 500 free and in the top 24 in the 200 free.
Tillman also was named an NCAA Academic All-American on the honorable mention list.
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.