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Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year Stephen Hurt taking the JuCo route

May 27, 2013, 10:37 AM EDT

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Northwest Florida State has added an intriguing player to their roster, as Stephen Hurt, this season’s Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, announced that he would be spending next season in the program.

Hurt, a 6-foot-10 center, averaged 11.5 points and 7.8 boards for Lipscomb as a freshman, but he transferred out of the program when longtime head coach Scott Sanderson was let go earlier this spring. Northwest Florida is a powerhouse JuCo program, one that routinely produces a high number of Division I recruits, including the 2013 JuCo National Player of the Year Chris Jones, who is headed to Louisville.

This is an interesting move made by Hurt, and one that could end up making him one of the most sought-after JuCo transfers in the Class of 2014. He won’t have to sit out the 2013-2014 season, instead spending the year developing while playing for Steve Forbes, who was an assistant under Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. He will have just two seasons of eligibility left when he makes it back to the Division I ranks, but by playing for Forbes for a season, he could end up earning himself a scholarship at a school in a higher profile league that he could have simply by enrolling this spring.

Where he ends up will depend on how well he performs at the JuCo level.

But it’s yet another path that can be utilized by athletes looking to play at the highest level of the sport.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.