APSU Men’s Basketball
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team has added to its backcourt and frontcourt depth in signing a pair of players for the 2011-12 season.
Jerome Clyburn, a 6-1, 180-pound point guard from Santa Fee Community College in Gainesville, FL, and Chris Freeman, a 6-6, 210-pound forward from Muhlenberg High School in Greenville, KY, have signed letters of intent to play for the Governors.
Clyburn, an Orange Park, FL, native who originally played at Southern Mississippi out of high school, averaged 13 points per game, shooting 53 percent from the floor, and 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game in his one season with Santa Fe. He was named to the All Mid-Florida first-team.
Clyburn spent two seasons at Southern Mississippi, redshirting in 2008-09 after breaking bones in both feet. As a prep senior at Orange Park High School, Clyburn earned Class 6A All-State from the Florida Sports Writer’s Association and was chosen the Florida Times Union First Coast Player of the Year. He averaged 18.5 ppg as a senior, scoring in double figures 28 of 30 games in finishing runner-up for the state championship.
A three-year starter, he led Coach Daryl Lauderdale’s club to a 70-15 record during that span. In fact, Lauderdale, who has been coaching for than 35 years, once said “(Clyburn) is by far the pest pure point guard I’ve ever coached.”
“With Caleb (Brown) exhausting his eligibility and Tyrone deciding to leave, he became a critical piece,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “He is a good fit for us. He can score, but he is not a guy that is looking to score first. He is a guy who can push it in transition and run the team in the half court.
“He has played against good competition in that league and he also was at Southern Mississippi-he knows how to play the game.”
Loos compares him favorably to former Gov Colby Pierce, who played point guard in the mid-1990s, helping lead the Govs to the 1996 NCAA tournament.
“He scores better than Colby but he plays the rest of the game a lot like Colby,” Loos said. “He really pushes it well. He will be a favorite of guys like TyShwan (Edmondson), Anthony (Campbell) and Justin Blake because he knows how to get you the basketball. He makes good decisions.”
Freeman, meanwhile, is a Texas transplant to Kentucky. As a senior, Freeman played for former Kentucky star and longtime college basketball assistant Reggie Warford at Muhlenberg High School, which finished 24-6 and won the 2010-11 district championship.. He averaged 21.0 points per game, shooting 61 percent from the floor. In addition, he also grabbed 11.5 rebounds per game and had 25 double-doubles during the season. He was ranked in Kentucky’s Top 15 in both shooting percentage and rebounding late in the season.
In February, Rick Bolus High Potential Recruiting Service listed as the No. 7 Kentucky senior prep prospect after not being on the list last summer (since he was a transfer). He went on to earn Region 3 Player of the Year, honorable mention All-State and an invitation to play for the Kentucky team in last weekend’s annual Kentucky-Ohio All-Star game. Freeman won the slam dunk competition. This weekend he will be trying out for the Kentucky team that will play in the Kentucky/Indiana All-Star series.
“We really like Chris’s upside,” Loos said. “He plays with the same kind of energy that (Will) Triggs does. He also has very good skills, If I had to pick one area he needs to expand his game, it is from the perimeter, although in saying that he did shoot 35 percent from three(-point territory) this year. That’s not shabby.
“He is a guy that we were on early. (Assistant coach) Bret (Campbell) followed him all year long and (assistant coach) Bubba (Wells) followed him. He plays the game with such great energy and aggressiveness-he plays hard. He is pretty good right now but we think his best basketball is definitely in front of him.”
The Govs are coming off a 20-14 season, which saw them finish in a second-place tie in the Ohio Valley Conference. Brown was the Govs’ only senior as APSU will return four starters: forwards Josh Terry and Triggs, center John Fraley and off guard Edmondson, a first-team All-OVC pick. In addition, the Govs will return 2010-11 preseason All-OVC selection, forward Anthony Campbell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in December.
Clyburn and Freeman join a 2011-12 recruiting class that also includes November signee, guard Herdie Lawrence, from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, GA.
“Both Jerome and Chris come to us very well coached,” Loos said. “Chris played for his uncle (Warford) at Muhlenberg and Chris Mowry (Santa Fe Community College) just does a terrific job there.”