PBA Men's Basketball Adds 10 For Upcoming Season

Written By: Kyler Ludlow, Sports Information Director

TOP (L-R) - Lucas Morales, Clark Major, Devon Giddens MIDDLE (L-R) - Josh Thompson, Nigel Sydnor, Derick Yepes, Jack Tisdale BOTTOM (L-R) - Trey Koonce, Mike Simpson, Dakota ZinserTOP (L-R) - Lucas Morales, Clark Major, Devon Giddens MIDDLE (L-R) - Josh Thompson, Nigel Sydnor, Derick Yepes, Jack Tisdale BOTTOM (L-R) - Trey Koonce, Mike Simpson, Dakota Zinser

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Palm Beach Atlantic University head men’s basketball coach David Balza is excited to announce the addition of ten exciting new players to the 2014-15 roster. There are five freshmen and five transfers joining the Sailfish for the upcoming campaign.

Devon Giddens
An incoming freshman that stands at 6-foot-6, Giddens adds height and skill in a much-needed area for PBA. The Orlando, Florida native and graduate of Lake Highland Prep averaged 4.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during his senior season, but averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per contest while at Orangewood Christian High School. The son of Byron and Theresa Giddens was a member of the 2014 LHPHS 4A State Championship squad and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average.

George ‘Trey’ Koonce III
Another 6-foot-6 forward, Koonce also brings skill to the forward position. After averaging 12 points and seven rebounds per game at First Baptist Academy in Naples, Florida, Trey was named to the All-Area team as a senior. Trey’s father, George Koonce, is a Super Bowl Champion linebacker with the Green Bay Packers who played nine years in the NFL. He plans on majoring in business.

Josh Thompson
Thompson is a prolific athlete that joins the Sailfish for the 2014-15 campaign, averaging 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during his senior season at Timber Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. A 6-foot-3 guard, Josh is known as a high-flyer, having won three dunk contest championships in high school including the High School All-Star contest. He’s the son of Derrylene Thompson.

Jack Tisdale III
A six-foot guard who averaged 11.2 points and five assists per game during his senior season, Tisdale also earned honors in football and track during his high school days at Haines City High School. The Haines City, Florida native is the son of Jack Tisdale Jr. and Joan Andrews and will major in Marine Biology.

Dakota Zinser
Zinser is the only freshman from outside the state of Florida, coming to Palm Beach Atlantic from Green Bay, Wisconsin. The 6-foot-3 guard was a Division 5 All-State first-team member as well as All-Conference first-team and conference player of the year during his senior season. He led his conference in scoring as a senior with 19.4 points per game and added 4.6 rebounds, two assists and two steals per contest. Dakota led all scorers in the Division 5 State All-Star Game, and led NEW Lutheran High School to back-to-back State Runner-up seasons in his junior and senior years. The honors graduate from NLHS is the son of Dan and Tammy Zinser and will be majoring in Biology.

Clark Major
Adding some much-needed depth at the center position, Major transfers in from Francis Marion University and stands at 6-foot-10. After playing two years at Florida State College of Jacksonville he averaged 7.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game during his junior season with the Patriots. The son of Clark Major and Dionne More, Clark is majoring in Business Management.

Lucas Morales
Standing at 6-foot-7 and playing both the forward and center positions, Morales is another player in Coach Balza’s recruiting class to help with size underneath for the coming season. Lucas is a transfer from Northern Oklahoma Community College where he averaged 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a freshman. As a senior iat West Orange High School in Oakland, Florida, he averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game and was named to the 2013 8A All-Star Team. He is the son of Jose Morales and Marie Nogueras and is an Accounting major.

Michael Simpson
A transfer from Division I Missouri State University, Simpson joins the Sailfish with two seasons left to play. As a high school senior, the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 15.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 81% from the free throw line. The Spring, Texas native is the son of Bob and Mary Anne Simpson and is majoring in Communications.

Nigel Sydnor
Another Division I transfer, Sydnor joins Palm Beach Atlantic from New Jersey Tech where he averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. While in prep school at Marianapolis Prep the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds per contest. He was named the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Player of the Year as a high school senior when he averaged 18 points and five rebounds per game at St. Paul’s School for Boys. In his high school career he was a two-time All-Conference member, scored 1,000 points and grabbed 500 rebounds. He is the son of Ray Sydnor, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Monica Virgin and is majoring in Business Management.

Derick Yepes
Yepes is officially joining PBA for the 2014-15 season after transferring in January of last year and redshirting. Derek comes from Florida State College at Jacksonville where he averaged 6.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a sophomore. A 6-foot-3 guard, Yepes earned All-Conference honorable mention honors in that season as well as a spot on the Mid-Florida Conference All-Academic team. Yepes is a graduate of East Lee High School where he averaged an area-best 24 points, four rebounds and five assists per game as a senior. He was named All-Conference and All-County during that senior campaign. The son of Zulima Mesa and Ruben Paez will have two years of eligibility for the Sailfish and is a Business Management major.

Coach Balza said about the recruiting class, “This might have been the longest stretch I can recall for putting together a recruiting class. Derick joined us in January and we added our last piece just a week before school started in August. This is a diverse group and we feel it addresses a lot of our deficiencies. We brought in some immediate help and some guys who will be 4-year stalwarts in our program. All of them, though, bring high moral character and strong work ethics. I am excited for what the future holds for these young men and for our program.”

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