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APSU Men’s Basketball coach Matt Figger signs Ivan Cucak, Ed Stephens

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballClarksville, TN – He hasn’t been on the job long, but new Austin Peay State University head men’s basketball coach Matt Figger has already added two signees to the Governors ranks, with Ivan Cucak and Ed Stephens set to join APSU in the fall.

“I’m trying to build a team to immediately compete,” Figger said. “Any team with good point guard play and a guy to throw inside two are big-time pieces you need in college basketball.”

Austin Peay Men's Basketball signs 7-0 center Ivan Cucak and point guard Ed Stephens for 2017-2018 season. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball signs 7-0 center Ivan Cucak and point guard Ed Stephens for 2017-2018 season. (APSU Sports Information)

Cucak, a 7-0 center from Kitchener, Ontario, played last season at Don Bosco Prep in Crown Point, Indiana, after graduating from Hargrave (Virginia) Military Academy in 2016. Prior to his time in the states, Cucak played for Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in his hometown, where he was a two-time Waterloo County Secondary School Athletics Association All-Star.

At Hargrave, Cucak was a first-team all-Virginia Independent Conference and second-team All-Metro honoree, helping the Tigers advance to the VIC Division II finals in 2016; Cucak scored eight points in the championship game and averaged 9.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the season.

Cucak looks to become the next Hargrave alum to leave his mark in college basketball—former Tigers include Marreese Speights, David West, Larry Brown and Montrezl Harrell.  

“He’s got great hands and a good feel around the basket,” Figger said. “He can score over either shoulder and can hit cutters in the post. He’s got a good basketball IQ. My first line was to find an anchor in the middle, and he’s that guy.”

Stephens is a graduate transfer from South Carolina State, where he averaged 9.4 points, 1.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds last season for the Bulldogs in 22 starts after being named preseason all-conference from both the conference and CollegeSportsMadness.com. A sharpshooter from the outside, Stephens hit 36.0 percent (67-for-186) from beyond the arc, knocking down 2.2 three-pointers per game.

Stephens closed the season on a tear, averaging 15.2 points over his final nine games, including a season-high 24 against Florida A&M in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament. He kicked off that season-closing streak with an 18-point effort against Hampton, which included the 1,000th point of his South Carolina State career.

An All-Rookie team selection in his first season in the MEAC, Stephens led the Bulldogs to their first tournament win in five seasons during his freshman campaign, earning MEAC Men’s Basketball All-Tournament honors after scoring a team-high 16 points against North Carolina A&T.

A Columbia, South Carolina native, Stephens also did a stint at Grays Collegiate Academy, where he paired with longtime teammate Eric Eaves—the duo played together at Lower Richland (South Carolina) High School, at Grays and then at South Carolina State. Stephens was all-region at Lower Richland as a junior and senior.

“Ed’s coming here to win,” Figger said. “He brings a ton of experience, he’s a career 1,000-point scorer and he can really shoot it (career 37.7 percent from three). He’s got a high basketball IQ and he’s not afraid of anybody.”

The 2016-17 regular period for basketball NLI signing runs from April 12th-May 17th, 2017.


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