Former J.L. Mann High School standout Damien Leonard has signed to join the Furman men’s basketball program after spending the past two seasons at the University of South Carolina, it was announced on Tuesday evening by Paladin head coach Niko Medved.
Leonard, who will have two years of eligibility with the Paladins after sitting out the 2013-14 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, averaged 4.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest in 28 outings for the Gamecocks this past season. He made three starts and played 14.8 minutes per game.
“We are very excited to have Damien join our program,” said Medved. “He is a homegrown player with proven talent. We believe that having a year to redshirt will allow Damien to develop his full potential as a player and allow him to have a major impact for Furman basketball.”
As a freshman in 2011-12, the guard appeared in 30 games and made 21 starts while averaging 6.8 points per game. He led the Gamecocks in scoring three times, including a career-high 19 points versus No. 1 Kentucky on February 4, 2012. The Greenville, S.C., native netted 15 on five three-pointers versus North Carolina on November 25, before tallying 15 points in a January 7, game against Kentucky.
As a prep star at J.L. Mann, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Leonard, poured in 22.4 points per game as a senior to go with 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com each ranked Leonard among the Top 100 players in the country and among the top 30 shooting guards in the 2011 class.
Leonard is the second player to join the Furman program this month after Texas high school all-state performer William Gates Jr. signed a national letter of intent with the Paladins on May 9.
Story by Furman Sports Information