Magette named GSC top freshman

Published 11:00 pm Monday, March 2, 2009

Growing up in Hoover and North Shelby County, Josh Magette had his share of sports accolades. Some of those recognitions came as small as being tabbed an All-Star in the local youth baseball league and some were as big as Most Valuable Player honors at the high school level.

However, the Spain Park High School grad accepted every medallion, certificate and trophy as a token of appreciation for hard work and a love of sports.

Magette has taken the Gulf South Conference (GSC) by storm this year and it’s his outstanding accomplishments on the court that recognized him as the Freshman Player of the Year on Monday. He becomes the first recipient of the award for the University of Alabama-Huntsville Charger basketball team since 2006.

“Coach (Lennie Acuff) called me this (Monday) morning and told me about it. It is a big honor for me to receive the award,” Magette said. “One of our seniors had won it when he was a freshman and it is great to be a part of such a special group of players that have won it over the years.

“It’s great to be able to play for such a great program as UAH. They are one of the best programs in Division II, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

The road to becoming the GSC’s top freshman started with the season destined for a redshirt or spotty play off the bench. Yet, it quickly turned into a starting role for Magette at the point guard spot, as he currently leads the team with 53 steals and averages just below 11 points per contest. Moreover, he’s second on the team in rebounding with 109. Remarkable.

“It has definitely been surprising how it all has turned out,” Magette. “When they told me I wasn’t going to redshirt, I thought I’d just be coming off of the bench some. One thing just led to another, and I guess, I just walked into the right place at the right time.”

It was Coach Lennie Acuff that saw his point guard in action at Spain Park, and it was Acuff that gave Magette a full invitation to join his tradition rich program when no one else did.

Now, oddly enough, it’s those coaches that passed on Magette that voted him as their league’s top newcomer. Weird.

“I get asked all the time…Coach, how did you land him?,” Acuff said referring to his colleagues. “I just say…well, we were the only one’s really recruiting him, and I am sure glad we got him. They’re just in awe when watching him play.

“I’m ecstatic for Josh,” said Acuff. “He absolutely deserves it, and I don’t think there is another player more deserving of the award than him.”

Magette has been an instant impact player for Acuff’s Chargers. He’s been instrumental in the success they have experienced thus far in one of the toughest Division II basketball conferences there is.

However, it’s his pedigree at home and Spain Park’s Brian Moon, where Acuff gives credit.

“I have to give a ton of credit to Coach Moon and Spain Park in the way they coached and prepared Josh for the next level,” Acuff said of Magette’s high school coach. “He came ready to play and when an opportunity presented itself, he jumped on it.

“Josh has an outstanding family surrounding him and we are blessed to have them all in our program. I’m happy we’ve all got three more years together”

Magette will be on the grand stage once again Friday night when the Chargers take on 25th ranked Delta State at the Gulf South Conference in Southaven, Miss. Acuff needs him to “just be Josh.”

“Josh will be tested going up against ( Chad ) Atkins. Atkins is an All-Conference guard, but Josh has always played well and with confidence on the big stage. He’s been there before.”