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Trojans sign two guards in Fall period

While the 2009-10 Troy men’s basketball team will make its regular season debut Saturday against Piedmont, the 2010-11 version of the team is already beginning to take shape.

Wednesday marked the first day of the early signing period for college basketball recruits, and Troy was able to ink two players for next season.

Guards Travis Nichols and DeAndrae Ross, both of Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla., will be joining Troy next season.

Nichols is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and will be counted upon to fill the void left by senior Richard Delk next season.

“He’s a wing player that plays the same position Richard Delk and Antywan Jones do,” said Troy head coach Don Maestri. “He’s a very athletic guy. He’s very intense and he fits our system really well.”

Nichols redshirted in his first year of college, meaning he will have three years of eligibility remaining once he arrives at Troy.

Ross is a former South Alabama 3-point specialist. He played 14.5 minutes per game last season for the Jaguars and scored 3.8 points per contest.

“He played at South Alabama the last two years and was one of their better 3-point shooters,” Maestri said.

Ross transferred from USA to Gulf Coast, but is sitting out this season at Gulf Coast so that he can play immediately for Troy next season.

While many new players are often eased into big roles and extensive playing time, both Nichols and Ross will be counted upon to play big minutes for Troy right away next season.

Troy will need bodies to fill the gap left by Delk and Jones, as well as fellow seniors Brandon Hazzard, Michael Vogler and Yamene Coleman.

“We’ve got five seniors on this team and we’re trying to get some guys who can help us immediately,” Maestri said.

“Both of these guys will be able to step in and help us right off the bat.”

Troy still has three spots left to fill in its signing class, and will have to do that during the normal signing period that runs from April 14, 2010 to May 19.