By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Another week, another signee for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team as the Golden Eagles announced the signing of Antelope Valley College big man Dwan Caldwell.
A 6-8, 240-pound post player from Lancaster, Calif., Caldwell will look to add size and provide leadership off the bat following the graduation of four-year starter Terrell Barnes.
"I'm hoping I can come in right away and be a leader," said Caldwell. "I've talked to a bunch of my new teammates to try and get a feel for how they play their game and I really feel that if we take care of business and work hard, we'll have a great team next season. My goal is to help lead this team into the NCAA Tournament."
If the future Golden Eagles can replicate his play from last season, it will go a long way towards helping Tech achieve his goal of making a NCAA Tournament appearance. Caldwell finished second in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) in rebounding in 2012-13, pulling down 224 boards in 29 games. He also finished in the top 10 in blocks, rejecting over 35 shots as a sophomore. Caldwell also averaged 11 points per game for Antelope Valley.
"On the court, Dwan is very unique," said Antelope Valley head coach John Taylor. "He grew six inches as a freshman in high school, so he has some guard skills even though he plays the post. He handles the ball very well for a big and he shoots with a soft touch from the perimeter. He's a great passer and he does a great job of winning battles inside. His size and athleticsm really set him apart from a lot of other guys and make him a tough match-up for anyone on the floor.
"Off the court, he really is a gentle giant. From a first glance he looks kind of menacing, but he's just a very nice young man. He's really what every coach wants and expects in a player, a warrior on the court and a gentleman off it. I'm very happy for him and for the school and think that Dwan and Tennessee Tech make a fantastic match."
Quickly becoming a theme with the Golden Eagles' newest recruiting class, a sense of a family oriented coaching staff and atmosphere drew Caldwell to Tech.
"I decided to come to Tech because it just felt like a family oriented kind-of place," remarked Caldwell. "I really like how the coaches treated me and how much of a family atmosphere they provide."
The city of Cookeville and the Tennessee Tech campus also drew some interest from the future Tech big man.
"I wasn't sure at first if I'd be able to adjust to a small city, but when I visisted Cookeville, I loved it," said Caldwell. "Everything was so green and beautiful. It seems like a great atmosphere. I really loved the gym and every part of campus I was able to see and am looking forward to coming to Tech next season."
"I think he really enjoyed his visit to Cookeville," added Taylor. "He felt really comfortable there and that's a credit to the coaching staff. Dwan fell in love with the school and I truly believe it is a good fit for him."
"I think he's going to bring a mature prescence to our team, especially on the inside," said Tech head coach Steve Payne. "We're hoping he can come in immediatley and play up to his potential. We're looking forward to having a good-scoring, low post guy with good hands and a good physical presence that brings a lot of maturity to our team."