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Indiana standout, Boyd, signs with Middle Tennessee

Becomes fourth player to sign with Blue Raiders during early period

November 14, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Antwaun Boyd enjoys playing in front of large crowds and that's exactly what the Indiana prep basketball standout plans to do during his collegiate career at Middle Tennessee.

Boyd, a 6-2 senior guard at Anderson High School, signed a national letter-of-intent with Middle Tennessee Tuesday afternoon and is the fourth player to ink with the Blue Raiders during the early signing period. He joins forward Keith Dodd (Bradley Central, Cleveland, Tenn.), Broderick Gilchrist (Memphis Hamilton), and Uriah Hethington (Okaloosa-Walton Junior College) to form the Blue Raiders' quartet of early signees. In addition, heralded guard Demetrius Green, a transfer from Dayton Beach Community College and former Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, is sitting out this season and will have two years of eligibility when he takes the court in 2007-08.

Boyd helped lead Anderson High School to a 24-2 record and No. 3 state ranking last season and he plays in the 9,000-seat Wigwam Gymnasium, the second-largest high school arena in the country. It was recently featured in a USA Today article. First-year Middle Tennessee assistant Artie Pepelea is a native of Anderson, Ind., and played at Anderson High School.

"Antwaun plays at Anderson High School and the gymnasium there seats 9,000," Middle Tennessee Head Coach Kermit Davis said. "They average about 4,000 for high school games so he obviously understands and competes at a high level. He is a solid guy, he can play the 1 or 2, he is very good off the dribble, and we think he's going to be a very good player for us."

Boyd averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists as a junior. He shot 32 percent from beyond 3-point range and right at 80 percent of his free-throw attempts. He says playing at a tradition-rich school where expectations are high and competing in front of crowds larger than half the college basketball teams in the nation average will assist in the transition to the next level.

"I love large crowds," Boyd said. "Whether I'm playing at home or on the road they don't intimidate me because I've played in front of crowds as big as 7,000 or so in high school."

Anderson Coach Ron Hecklinski says Middle Tennessee fans are going to love watching Boyd play during his college career. He is rated one of the top 40 players in Indiana and last year he was selected to the junior squad in affiliation with the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game. Boyd also is rated a three-star (out of five) recruit by Rivals.com.

"Middle Tennessee is going to love him on and off the court," Hecklinski said. "Antwaun is tough minded, very athletic and he can score in so many ways. He's an explosive guard who can penetrate, shoot it outside, tip dunk, whatever. Plus, he's a wonderful kid from a great family. At a time when kids don't always believe in doing the right thing, Antwaun is different. He's a throwback, and he's very grounded."

Boyd also plays for the sixth-ranked AAU junior team in the nation, SYF Nike Club. He is among 10 players on the team who have signed with Division I schools. Boyd starts on the team, which has won numerous national championship and showcases during the past two years.

"All Antwaun has ever done is win," Davis said. "He plays for coach Hecklinski, who may be one of the best high school coaches in the nation. He plays on one of the top AAU teams in the nation and he starts. He's a winner and his teams win at a high level. There is something to be said for that."

Ironically, Boyd is the first player Pepelea has signed from his high school during his long tenure as a college coach; however, his presence at Middle Tennessee was a factor in the signing, according the Hecklinski.

"I would say there are a couple of reasons Antwaun is going to Middle Tennessee - Artie Pepelea and Kermit Davis," Hecklinski said. "Antwaun has a great deal of knowledge about college basketball. He follows it closely, and he has a great respect for Kermit Davis. And then I've known Kermit for awhile.

"Of course, Artie is an Anderson guy and an outstanding basketball coach was a pretty big draw. The fact that Artie came in here and got Antwaun is a testament to him as a recruiter."

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