Fortenberry bouncing back at SLU

Published 2:23 am Sunday, January 2, 2011

Picayune’s Brandon Fortenberry paid a visit to his home state this past week, but unlike many college students he wasn’t just visiting for the holidays.

Fortenberry, the starting point guard for Southeastern Louisiana University, and his Lions split a pair of games in the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hardwood Club Holiday Tournament. SLU will wrap up its Magnolia State tour tonight, taking on Ole Miss in Oxford.

The trip home for Fortenberry found him in pretty good spirits, and not because of happy holiday wishes but because he may in the midst of playing his best ball for the Lions.

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The 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior was named to the All-Tournament team for his play in the two games in Hattiesburg. He scored a game high 18 points and dished out four assists in a 76-60 win over Mississippi Valley State on Thursday, and that outing came on the heels of a 16 point performance against Savannah State on Wednesday.

The former Maroon Tide All-State standout seems to have fully recovered from an knee injury he suffered last year that caused him to miss almost half of the season.

“I feel like when I’m healthy I can do the things I came here to do,” Fortenberry said Thursday. “I lost some confidence last year when I got hurt, and it took something away from my game. But Now that I’ve got my health back I think I am playing pretty well.”

His all tourney performance in the USM event came less than a week after he recorded a career high 22 points in a win over Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Fortenberry is currently averaging 10 points, three rebounds and three assists per game, and all of this while directing the Lions offense from his point guard position as well.

Last season, he averaged eight points and three assists per game, but started just nine games due to the injury.

As a freshman, Fortenberry played in all 30 games for the Lions and finished as the top freshman in the Southland Conference averaging four  assists per game. He averaged eight points and almost three rebounds as well as two assists per game,  and scored in double figures in his final three games of the season, including a 20-point performance in the regular season-finale at Northwestern State. He also led team in minutes played averaging almost 30 per contest.

The Lions sit 6-5 overall, having battled a tough non-conference schedule that ends with the game against the Rebels tonight. The Lions have also traveled to UNLV, Vanderbilt, Central Florida and Alabama. “We’ve been kind of up and down, but that’s why we play this type of competition is to get ready for conference play,” Fortenberry added. “Hopefully this will all be a part of the process to get us in the NCAA Tournament.”