Dalton High grad, Dalton State standout Almonte named SSAC Defensive Player of the Year

Feb. 29—Dalton High School graduate Franklin Almonte terrorized opposing offenses with his leaping blocks and gaudy rebounding numbers during his time with the Catamounts.

Now, as a member of the Dalton State College Roadrunners, he's getting recognized for those same defensive skills.

On Wednesday, Almonte was named the 2024 Southern States Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Almonte was announced as the DPOY in the SSAC as the conference released its honors as the teams gathered for the SSAC tournament in Montgomery, Alabama. Dalton State fell 81-76 to Life in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.

Almonte, who recently became the all-time Dalton State blocks leader in just his third season as a Roadrunner, had 45 blocks in his 26 games played this season, good for an average of 1.7 blocks per game. That mark was second in the conference to Middle Georgia State's Brice Martin, who averaged 1.8. Almonte was 12th in the league with 6.8 rebounds per game and also swiped a steal per game.

In addition to his defensive statistics, Almonte also averaged 9.4 points per game, landing him third on the Roadrunners.

Despite being named the conference's top defensive player, Almonte wasn't selected to either of the 10-member All-SSAC first team or second team lists.

Dalton State's Matt Compas, who finished as Dalton State's leading scorer at 13.9 points per game, was named first team all-conference.

Donavan Miller was named to the All-SSAC second team. Miller was second in scoring on the Roadrunners with 11.6 points per game, and his 4.5 assists per game marked the fifth best total in the SSAC. Miller became Dalton State's all-time assists leader earlier this season.