Walk bringing in sizable group
The Three Rivers College women's basketball roster is nearly set.
Lady Raiders coach Jeff Walk has 13 players signed. He is bringing back Samantha Gatewood, Jay Perry and Chelsea Vinson off last year's team and adding a large but skilled class to the mix.
"This class will be in the caliber of (the Anna Vogt, Macy Wright, Erin Bollmann) class," Walk said.
Fans who had trouble learning Jay Perry from her sister Pooh Perry, who was a sophomore transfer last year, will have an even harder time with Jalisa and Joya Smith. Jalisa and Joya are identical twins out of Paducah Tilgham high school in Paducah, Kentucky.
"If they wear the same clothes, you can't tell them apart," Walk said of the 6-foot forwards. "One is about this much taller. One is a swing forward, the other is a little more post up. But again, just come from a very good high school program. They press and will fit right into our scheme."
Michael Everhart will be making the long move from Clearwater Florida. A 5-9 combo guard, Everhart graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Petersburg High School and earned a Silver Congressional Award, as well. Three Rivers initially recruited her back in January, thought it was out or the running in March, the ended up getting a verbal commitment during her official visit in April.
"She is a very articulate, precise young lady," Walk said. "On the basketball floor, she has tenacious defense, can put it in the basket at a high rate, just a good player all the way around."
DeNayia Holmes averaged about 22 points, seven assists and five steals at University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, before getting injured.
"I went over and watched her play, three minutes into the first quarter she tears her ACL, after we had offered her a scholarship, and were still going to," Walk said.
After the game when Holmes was injured, Walk told her that the offer was still good, and told her once again over the phone later on.
"She's good enough, we'll be alright," Walk said. "She's a good kid. She deserves a chance to get better."
Walk added that Holmes was getting recruited by some Ohio Valley Conference schools before tearing her ACL.
Logan Ivie out of Kelly High School is the closest thing to a local product in this year's recruiting class. At 6-1, Ivie is the only true post player in the class.
"Played well last fall when she came over. Played pretty well this spring when she came over for some open tryouts and stuff," Walk said.
"Granted, she has got some work to gain on, but I think, put some good kids around her, she is going to rebound, she is going to play hard and do what she is told," Walk added. "You've got to have kids like that, that fill in the slack and don't mind to do the dirty work. I think that is where she will fall in."
Kerasha Johnson out of Lonoke, Arkansas, is a 5-11, left-handed point guard, but has the versatility and athleticism to play and defend every position on the court.
"You could line her up in a Parade All-American lineup and she would fit in and look like she should be there," Walk said. "We went down and watched her play and got her in. Bringing in probably four point guards, overall, and she is going to be a pass first point guard. Probably get you 12-13 points a game but can do a whole lot of things."
Another point guard is Destiney Williams of Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
"Great court presence. She knows what is going on, has good instincts defensively and can shoot pretty well," Walk said.
The 5-5 point guard came off the bench for Riverdale, which was ranked eighth in the Tennessee Class AAA coaches poll before being banned from the postseason for trying to tank the District 7 consolation game.
Camdyn McDaniel of North Little Rock is a 5-9 shooter. McDaniel came off the bench and averaged nearly 12 points for a team that beat three-time defending MSHSAA Class 4 state champion Incarnate Word 57-32 in the Tournament of Champions. Incarnate Word's only other loss was to eventual Arkansas 7A state champion Fayetteville High School in the same tournament.
"Now, she's not a major cog in that wheel, but she is a big enough cog that she averaged almost 12 a game," Walk said. "Went down and watched them play Central Arkansas and she came off a double staggered and hit a step back 3 from almost two steps beyond the 3-point line."
North Little Rock lost in the 7A state semifinals.
"Very excited about her. She is going to bring in some definite scoring and shooting from pretty good range," Walk said.
Marcia Reed is a 6-1 swing forward out of East Central High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"She can handle the ball, she can get a rebound and dribble the length of the floor. Got some skill development to do there, but has a great base," Walk said.
Ge'Naisha Robinson also slates to play the 3 position for the Lady Raiders. Out of Christian County High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Robinson is a tenacious defender. The 5-10 forward came to an open gym at Three Rivers and nearly stole the ball twice from Southeast Missouri State forward and former Lady Raider All-American Erin Bollmann.
"Erin is a pretty good athlete, so that gives us a little indication of what she is capable of. She is long and lanky," Walk said.