BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb men's basketball signee Acton Shirley capped an impressive senior season earlier this month by earning a spot on the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) Class 3A All-State team.
Shirley also earned a spot on the first-team Class 3A All-Region 4 Team following the 2016-2017 season.
The 7-0, 230-pound center averaged a career-high 13.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for Pike County (Ga.) High as a senior, also swatting away 1.4 shots per game. Shirley shot an efficient 60.6 percent from the floor (157-of-259) and showed improvement in all areas of his game.
"We are proud of Acton and the hard work he put in this season," said Gardner-Webb head coach Tim Craft. "His continued improvement was expected, but his dedication on and off the court to developing his overall game is impressive. We can't wait to get him on campus."
Shirley netted a season-high 29 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked five shots in a game vs. Jackson (Ga.) High and finished with seven games this past season with 20 or more points. He shot 80 percent or better in five different games, including an 11-of-12 effort (27 points) vs. Ola (Ga.) High and a 12-for-13 effort (25 points) vs. Kendrick (Ga.) High.
The future Runnin' Bulldog had 16 double-double performances on the season as well.
Shirley averaged 11.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per game as a junior for Pike County, which is located in Zebulon, Ga. – a town located 48 miles south of Atlanta and 50 miles northwest of Macon.
Shirley signed a National Letter of Intent with Gardner-Webb in November, 2016, and will join a talented roster as a freshman for the 2017-2018 campaign.
Gardner-Webb, which won 19 games this past season before losing an epic overtime battle with NCAA Tournament participant Winthrop in the Big South semifinals, returns 11 of its 13 letter winners for the 2017-2018 season – in addition to talented wing Nate Johnson, who redshirted in 2015-2016.
Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound sharpshooter, was the team's most accurate marksman from long range during practices. He was an All-State selection in 2016 at McArthur (Fla.) High after averaging 22.5 points, 3.3 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.0 blocks per game as a senior – and was recruited by a handful of Atlantic 10 programs.