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Former Ellwood Christian Academy basketball star signs JUCO scholarship

A former Ellwood Christian Academy basketball standout has signed a Junior College scholarship in Florida.

Guard Justin Bufford has signed to play with Northwest Florida State College next season.

Bufford, The Selma Times-Journal basketball player of the year in 2019, spent last season at Montgomery Catholic.

“I wanted to go at my own pace, so I was like maybe JUCO might be a good start for me and knowing that Northwest Florida has a lot of good products coming out of there,” Bufford said.

The 6-foot-6 Bufford averaged 22.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, and 3.6 steals a game as Montgomery Catholic reached the state tournament.

Bufford averaged 22 points a game as a junior, leading the Eagles to the Class 1A Southwest Regional Semifinals. He also played in the North-South All-Star game last summer, scoring 19 points.

In a release, Northwest Florida men’s basketball head coach Butch Pierre said Bufford will be a strong addition to the Raiders’ roster for the 2020-2021 school year.

“What I like about Justin is that he has been coached by someone familiar with the Panhandle Conference,” Pierre said. “He’s a player with size, he’s a winner, has a high basketball IQ, and is a playmaker at multiple positions. He’s a kid that can make plays and that’s what you need in the toughest junior college league in the country.”

Former Northwest Florida assistant Mike Curry was Bufford’s coach at Montgomery Catholic, which also played a big role in his decision.