March 27, 2014

Roadrunners add two basketball players from junior college

Dalton State College men’s basketball coach Tony Ingle didn’t have to search too hard to find his latest signees.

All he had to do was visit his son.

Gordon State College sophomore standouts Devonte Thornton, a 6-foot-8 small forward, and Denarious Lockhart, a 6-9 center, are going from one Ingle to another as they transition to Dalton State from Gordon State — a junior college in Barnesville, about halfway between Macon and Atlanta.

The pair played this past season for Israel Ingle as the Highlanders went 18-11, losing to South Georgia Tech in the first round of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) tournament. Thornton averaged 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on his way to being selected to the All-GCAA Team second team. Lockhart earned honorable mention after finishing with 13.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

“We are so excited to have Devonte and Denarious and are thrilled they want to be Roadrun-ners,” Tony Ingle said in a Dalton State press release. “Our fans will love them and their athletic abilities.

“Devonte is a pretty versatile player who can create his own shot. He will rebound the ball and he is very coachable. We expect great things out of him.

“Denarious is a great young man who loves to block shots, rebound and bang inside.”

The elder Ingle started his college coaching career at Gordon State College, and Israel was hired by Gordon in 2007 at the age of 23 to revive that school’s program, much the way his father has restarted the Dalton State program. The coaches think the transition for the players will be a smooth one.

“Israel teaches some of the same things that we teach, so Devonte’s adjusting to our system should pay dividends immediately,” Tony Ingle said.

Added Israel Ingle, “Devonte is an exciting player to watch, and he’s one of the most versatile players I’ve ever seen. In addition to being an amazing athlete, he’s an outstanding person and will fit in well with the Dalton State basketball culture. We’re really going to miss him, but glad to see he is going to be in good hands.”

Thornton graduated from Osborne High School in Marietta and originally signed with Florida Atlantic University, an NCAA Division I program. He left the Boca Raton, Fla., school midway through his freshman year to move closer to his family.

Lockhart graduated from Craw-ford County High and began his college career at Atlanta Metro State College before deciding to move to Gordon State to be closer to his hometown.

The duo join a Roadrunners team that had a very successful return to competition after the school went three decades without sports. In the debut of athletics in the school’s four-year era, Dalton State men’s basketball was among the wins leaders in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this year, finishing with a 26-4 mark.

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