Augusta State added a major piece to its puzzle for next season with the transfer of Flagler center Chad July.
July, who will be a senior in the fall, has one year of eligibility remaining. The 6-9, 260-pound center gives the Jaguars their first true big man since Alex Smith in the 2009-10 season, the last time Augusta State advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
In three seasons at Flagler, July scored 760 points (10.3 scoring average) on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Last season, he averaged 11 points a game and ranked fourth in the Peach Belt Conference with an 8.5 rebound average.
July will help shore up an Augusta State team that went 17-11 last season and finished last in the league in rebounding.
“It gives us an anchor down there,” Jaguars coach Dip Metress said. “Numerous times in our losses, we got hurt because we just didn’t have any thickness down low.”
Wanting to play for a winning team, July got his release from Flagler and then went on the “Peyton Manning Tour,” Metress said. Though many teams in the Peach Belt were interested, July fell in love with Augusta State’s program and its fans.
Metress said he expects to run more of his inside-out offense with July, who should take a lot of pressure off center Travis Keels and forwards Harold Doby and Devon-Wright Nelson.
July became the Jaguars’ third off-season pickup after the addition of junior college transfer Ryan Weems and high school senior Keshun Sherrill. Weems, a 6-foot shooting guard who suffered a knee injury in December 2010 and hasn’t played since, is a three-point shooter who “can make a shot,” Metress said. Sherrill is a 5-foot-10 point guard who averaged 21 points a game during his senior season at West Rowan High School in Mount Ulla, N.C.
“He’s a guy who can make an impact as a freshman,” Metress said.