Lakewood High School basketball standout Juwan Perdue is going to become a Gamecock.
A Jacksonville State University Gamecock, that is.
The 6-foot-6-inch Perdue signed with the Jacksonville, Alabama, NCAA Division I school - the only other one …
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The 6-foot-6-inch Perdue signed with the Jacksonville, Alabama, NCAA Division I school - the only other one besides South Carolina with the Gamecock as its mascot - on Thursday during a ceremony at the Lakewood Fine Arts Center.
"This is something I've dreamed of all my life," Perdue said. "I've always wanted to go to a DI school. To see that dream come true is tremendous."
Jacksonville State is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Gamecocks are off to a 4-3 start this season, having won four in a row. They went 23-12 last season, the most wins since the move was made to Division I.
JSU first made contact with Perdue during an AAU tournament he was playing in in Atlanta over the summer.
"He (JSU head coach Ray Harper) was talking to me after the game, and he asked me if I had anymore offers," Perdue said. "I said I did, and he said, 'Just add one more.'"
Perdue did have offers from South Carolina State, Austin Peay State and Radford already in hand, but he said Jacksonville State felt right for him for many reasons.
"They were recruiting me very hard," said Perdue, who committed to the Gamecocks in October. "They were just showing me a lot of love. They have a good system that I think fits me, and I really like the coaches."
And Perdue had one more very compelling reason.
"They've got six seniors," he said. "I feel like I will have a pretty good chance to come in and play immediately."
Perdue averaged approximately 11 points and seven rebounds a game last season, according to Gators head coach Bryan Brown. He is averaging a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds for 2-3 Lakewood this season.
"Juwan is taking advantage of his opportunity to be the leader on this team," said Brown, who has guided the Gators to straight region titles. "With most of the offense going through (graduated point guard) Grant Singleton last season, Juwan was patient and waited his turn. He has stepped up and taken control."
Along with being an outstanding athlete, Perdue owns a 4.0 grade-point average.
"Juwan is a good young man," Brown said. "He's been on the varsity for four years, and he's always been willing to work and to listen. He's got a great attitude, and he's a great student."
Perdue said he is ready for the opportunity.
"I'm excited. This is the next big step in my life, and I can't wait to see what's in store."
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