Women's Basketball Announces 2015 Recruiting Class
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina head women's basketball coach Jaida Williams announced her 2015 recruiting class this week.
The group of nine future Chanticleer student-athletes represents two countries and seven states, including Australia, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York and South Carolina. Six members of the recruiting class are true freshman, while two are junior college transfers and one is a graduate transfer. The 2015 class also consists of two McDonald's High School All-American Nominees, and two players who won state championships with their respective high schools.
Center - 6-4
Chicago, Ill. / Morgan Park HS
Patricia Albert is one of the true freshmen coming to Coastal Carolina for the 2015-16 season. With her size, Albert will look to contribute mainly in the post and provide a large defensive presence in addition to her rebounding abilities. Albert was selected to compete in the 2015 Chicago Public School All-Star Game at the conclusion of her senior season. She was twice selected as a MaxPreps Player of the Game during her junior season and was once named a MaxPreps Varsity Basketball Player of the Week as a sophomore.
Coach Williams on Patricia Albert: "Patricia brings an athletic presence in the post. Defensively, we are excited about her ability to alter shots and protect the paint. She has tremendous upside, and, combined with our player development, we are extremely excited about her potential."
Guard - 5-10
Indianapolis, Ind. / Franklin Central HS
Kennedy Archer will also join the Chanticleers as a true freshman in 2015-16. Archer is coming off a senior season in which she averaged 17 points, three assists and three steals per game at Franklin Central. She also shot 37.0 percent from 3-point range, and has shown ability to attack the rim. Archer was named among Hoosier Basketball Magazine's Top 60 senior girl's high school players and is also an Indiana Junior All-Star. She additionally was named IBCA Senior Large School All-State, and was an IBCA All-State and All-Conference selection as a junior in 2013-14.
Coach Williams on Kennedy Archer: "Kennedy brings length, skill and a competitive fire to our backcourt. She has great ability to score and facilitate, and she is very savvy on the court."
Guard - 5-9
Columbia, S.C. / Ridgeview HS
Breelyn Blanding is another true freshman joining the Chanticleer women's basketball program in 2015-16. Blanding played her high school basketball at Ridgeview High School in Columbia, S.C. In the 25 games she played as a senior at Ridgeview, Blanding averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals. She is currently ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the state of South Carolina.
Coach Williams on Breelyn Blanding: "Bre is an unselfish guard that is also capable of creating her own shot when needed. She brings size and court savvy to the point position. We are thrilled to add an elite player from the state of South Carolina to our Coastal family."
Guard - 5-9
Shoreham, N.Y. / Shoreham-Wading River HS
Courtney Clasen is one of two true freshmen who were McDonald's All-American Nominees in high school. During her senior season at Shoreham-Wading River, Clasen averaged a double-double with 14.1 points and 10 rebounds per game. One of Clasen's best high school performances came in the 2014 Class A New York State Tournament where she recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks. She captained her basketball team as a junior and senior.
In addition to basketball, Clasen was an all-state midfielder for her school's soccer team and was named all-county and all-league in various track & field events.
Coach Williams on Courtney Clasen: "Courtney is a flat-out competitor. She is a talented multi-sport athlete who has earned success not only in basketball, but in soccer and track as well. For the first time she'll be able to focus solely on basketball, and I can't wait to see the results of her developing in our program."
Guard - 5-10
Moreno Valley, Calif. / JW North HS
Di'janai Williams is the second incoming Chanticleer that was a McDonald's All-American Nominee. Williams entered her senior season at JW North as a preseason All-California Interscholastic Federation selection and did not disappoint as she averaged 21 points and nine rebounds per game.
Williams also participated in the U.S. Junior National Las Vegas Challenge this past year and was named an all-tournament selection after her team finished the tournament 4-0.
Coach Williams on Di'janai Williams: "DJ brings an explosive game and size to our backcourt. She thrives in transition and will have the opportunity to be incredibly successful in our system. We also will rely on DJ's athleticism in the defensive end."
Forward - 6-4
Coral Springs, Fla. / Coral Springs Charter
Jamie Williams rounds out the recruiting class' incoming freshman. Williams was named first team All-Broward County as a senior after finishing her final year at Coral Springs averaging nine points and 10 rebounds per game. At 6-4, she matches the height of Albert and is expected to provide more length inside.
Williams was also very active off the court in high school, serving as a senator on her school's student council as well as peer minister at Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
Coach Williams on Jamie Williams: "Jamie brings more size and length to the post for our program. She runs the floor well and suits our style of play. On the defensive end, she has the ability to create transition opportunities off of blocked shots."
Forward - 5-11
Little Rock, Ark. / Parkview Arts & Science HS (State Fair CC)
Derriel Banyard is the first of two junior college transfers to come to Coastal Carolina. Banyard played two seasons at State Fair Community College from 2013-2015. This past season, she started in 18 games and played in 29 total, averaging 19.9 minutes, 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Her 234 total points ranked fourth on the team.
Banyard played her high school basketball at Parkview Magnet High School where she won a pair of Arkansas state titles after helping her team reach the state championship game in three of her four seasons. During her senior season at Parkview, Banyard averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game.
Coach Williams on Derriel Banyard: "Derriel is athletic and versatile on both sides of the ball. She is someone that can come in and shut down a go-to player. Her ability to get to the rim or hit the three, along with her size on the wing, works very well with our style of play."
Forward - 6-1
Mountain Creek, Queensland, Australia / Northeast Community College
Also a junior college transfer, Yasmin Miller played her freshman and sophomore seasons at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb. As a freshman, Miller was the team's third-leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 10.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to be named second team All-Iowa Community College Athletic Conference.
Miller was a first team All-ICCAC selection her sophomore season after averaging 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and leading the conference with a 47.8 field goal percentage. She helped Northeast achieve a 25-6 overall record and break into the NJCAA national rankings where the Hawks peaked at #17. Northeast also made an appearance in the Region XI championship game.
Miller was a first team academic all-region selection in each of her seasons at Northeast.
Coach Williams on Yasmin Miller: "Yasmin is a stretch 4 who can consistently knock down the outside shot. She comes from a very competitive program at Northeast and finished this past season shooting just under 50 percent from the floor."
Guard/Forward - 5-11
Indianapolis, Ind. / North Central HS (University at Buffalo)
Rachael Gregory is a graduate student transferring to Coastal Carolina to pursue a master's of business. Gregory completed her undergraduate degree at the University at Buffalo and will be eligible to play immediately at Coastal.
Gregory spent three seasons at UB, though she received a medical redshirt for the 2013-14 season. This past season, Gregory averaged 24.5 minutes, 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
In 2012-13, Gregory played just 17 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury which made her miss the following season as well. Before the injury, Gregory led the team in scoring, reaching double figures in 10 of the 17 games in which she played. She posted season-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds against St. Bonaventure and also recorded 17 points against Youngstown State and 16 points and nine rebounds against Ohio.
At North Central High School, Gregory was four-year letter winner that averaged 13.3 points, seven rebounds and 4.8 steals as a senior en route to a state championship. She was also one of Indiana's top sprinters and competed in volleyball.
Coach Williams on Rachael Gregory: "Rachael has a high level of maturity and understanding of the game. She has the opportunity to make an immediate impact as she presents a match-up problem with her ability to score and play multiple positions."