AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern State University head men's basketball coach Mike Leeder announced Tuesday that Marlon Rivera, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound guard, signed to play his senior year at GSW after transferring from NCAA Division I member Florida Gulf Coast University.
"We are very happy that Marlon has chosen to play his final season of college basketball here at Georgia Southwestern," Leeder said. "He brings experience to our backcourt and we look for a major contribution from him during the 2011-12 season."
This past season at Florida Gulf Coast, Rivera led the team in five statistical categories, including minutes played (31.8), assists per game (5.4), steals (47), defensive rebounds (144) and free throw attempts (170). His 5.4 assists per game average was also tops in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Rivera was named A-Sun player of the week on Dec. 28, 2010, and had his best statistical game on Nov. 16, 2010, when he scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists against Southeast Missouri State, narrowly missing out on the first triple-double in school history.
For the season, Rivera averaged 6.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest.
"Marlon is a guy that has produced against Division I competition and we think he has the chance to blend in well with our returning guys," Leeder said.
A native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Rivera spent his first two college seasons as an all-conference guard at Sante Fe College in Gainsville, Fla., where he played for head coach Chris Mowry.
"Marlon played at a high level junior college and played for an outstanding coach in Chris Mowry," Leeder said.
Rivera rounds out the 2011-12 GSW recruiting class that includes fellow NCAA Division I and Atlantic Sun transfer 6-foot-10 center Milos Kleut from Lipscomb University.
"Again (assistant) coach (Stephen) Cox has put in a tremendous amount of legwork in helping land these two guys," Leeder said. "We are very fortunate to have him on staff, and our success in recruiting these last two years can be directly attributed to his tireless recruiting efforts."
Georgia Southwestern returns three of its top four scorers off of last season's Peach Belt Conference West Division championship team that also advanced to the NCAA National Tournament. Among the returnees are 2011 PBC Player of the Year and All-American Phillip Brown (averaged 14.7 points and a league-best 10.9 rebounds per game), 2011 PBC Freshman of the Year Colin Slotter (led the team in scoring at 15.0 ppg), as well as 2008-09 PBC Freshman of the Year and three-year starter Evan Mobley (11.6 ppg last season). Also returning are two other letterwinners with significant starting experience in 6-foot-6 forward Matt Shaw and 6-foot-3 guard Bobby Glover.
GSW opens its regular season at home on Nov. 15 against Trinity (Fla.) College.