Golden Eagle basketball adds Chicago forward Byron Pickens

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Byron Pickens, a 6-foot-7 forward from Chicago and two-year starter at Mineral Area Community College in Missouri, is Tennessee Tech’s fourth roster addition this year, seventh-year coach Mike Sutton announced today.

“Byron is a long, bouncy, athletic forward who fills a need for us,” Sutton said. “He’s someone who can come in here and play right away, and he’s a real good fit with our returning group. He plays the game with a lot of energy, he runs and rebounds well, and he’s quick.”

Pickens was a four-year starter at Chicago’s Senn High School before spending the past two seasons playing for coach Cory Tate at Mineral Area CC in Park Hills, Mo., located about 60 miles south of St. Louis.

“Byron was the heart and soul of our team for the past two years,” Tate said. “He’s an outstanding young man, very likeable, and a self-starter. He was a real leader in our program, and he is good for the community.

“On the floor, he has a motor like a Ferrari,” Tate said. “From practices to games, he was always going hard, giving everything he has. He works like no other, and he is very coachable.”

Last season while playing power forward, Pickens led Mineral Area to a 19-12 overall record, including a 5-2 mark and No. 2 seed in the region. Pickens was named first-team all-conference. He averaged six points and six rebounds per game, and shot 47 percent from the floor.

As a freshman, he played out of position at center and averaged 4.9 points and 6.1 rebounds.

“Don’t let those numbers fool you,” Tate said. “He is much better than his statistics. We had a system where everybody was involved in the scoring. Our system wasn’t about scoring, it was about defense and running the floor. Byron has a good offensive game and is outstanding on defense.”

The son of Sandra Pickens, Byron will be a junior at Tech with two seasons of eligibility remaining. He will major in education.

As a senior at Senn High School on Chicago’s North side, Pickens averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds per game, and also blocked five shots per contest. His career highlights includes a game with 12 blocked shots. He was named all-conference and was a two-time all-state pick for the Bulldogs under coach Brandon Moody.

“Coach (Tommy) Deffebaugh has been following my career for awhile and talked to me about attending Tennessee Tech,” Pickens said. “I met Coach Sutton, and I liked everything I saw when I visited. It seemed like a really good fit, and I’m excited about being in a conference like the Ohio Valley."

Pickens is the fourth signee to join the Golden Eagle roster this year, joining Georgia’s Terrell Barnes and Livingston Academy standout Chase Dunn who inked in November, plus recent addition Jud Dillard, also from Georgia.