Four junior college transfers and three freshmen complete roster
The Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes and head coach Kelly Britsky announced the signing of seven incoming players for the 2008-09 basketball season.
"We are excited about this year's class of recruits," said Britsky, heading into her second season as the Lady Canes head coach. "They bring determination, desire and most of all they all know what it takes to become winners. These recruits and the strong returners we are bringing back will hopefully combine to start a new era in women's basketball at Georgia Southwestern. The Peach Belt Conference offers us one of the most competitive schedules in the nation and we hope to compete at a much higher level this season."
In this year's signing class, four players hail from the Peach State while Alabama, Florida and Louisiana each are home to one.
Junior guard Clarissa "Shan" Corbett comes to GSW after playing at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Alabama. She played in 30 games last season for the Lady Saints, averaging 14.8 points per contest, hitting team-highs with 153 field goals, 22 three-pointers, 78 assists, 40 blocks and 87 steals.
"We are excited for ‘Shan' to come in this year," Britsky said. "She is not afraid of hard work and knows how to fight for the things she wants to accomplish. We will look for her to play both the two position and point guard if needed. Although she can be a quiet person, she will get some big things done on the court."
Corbett, a native of Macon, Ga., was a member of the 2005 AAAA state runner-up Westside High School team.
A 5-foot-10 forward transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College, junior Whitley Wiltz was a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges All-Star in 2007-2008 while earning second team All-State honors.
"Whitley Wiltz was a steal for us," stated Britsky. "She is a hard nosed competitor that will make a name for herself in the Peach Belt. Determination and desire sum up how she plays on court. She wants to win and knows how to win. She is just the type of player we need pounding it out in the paint."
A transfer from Gulf Coast Community College (Fla.), Nadirah Gardner was a member of the 2008 NJCAA National Championship team. The 5-foot-7 sophomore point guard, played in 13 games for the Commodores.
"We are excited to have Nadirah in our program," Britsky said. "Even though injury limited some of her opportunities last year on the court we know the potential she brings to this program. Anytime you can get a player that knows how to win and has been a member of championship teams both on the AAU and junior college ranks it is a positive move. Nadirah is hungry for playing time and to get back to her elite status. We can't wait to see this happen."
Gardner was a 2004-2005 third team selection to the Florida Sports Writers Association All-State Basketball Team while at Tallahassee FAMU High School and made the HoopGurlz Top Recruits of Florida Class of 2007.
Junior transfer Brandi Burris joins the Lady Canes after two successful seasons at Northwest Shoals Community College (Ala.). The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 12 points a game for the Patriots while connecting on 29.2% of shots from beyond the arc and 71.2% from the foul line during her career. Brandi was an All-State and All-Region team selection during her two years at Northwest Shoals.
"Brandi is a strong pick up for us," Britsky said. "She can do it all at the guard position, but we will probably concentrate her efforts at the three position where she will bring strength and size. Coming from Northwest Shoals she is not stranger to hard work and she understands what her role will be here at GSW. I look forward to watching what Brandi will do for the Canes this year."
A 5-foot-5 guard, Terra Branch was a two-time All-Region selection and a 2007-2008 Northeast Georgia Second Team selection. A native of Athens, Ga. Branch averaged 15.3 points during her senior campaign at Clark Central High School.
"Terra is a catch and a half for the Canes," said Britsky. "She is a true scorer. She knows how to put the ball in the basket and her potential in the league is huge. Terra comes to us from a fantastic high school program so she, too, has winning encoded in her brain. The next four years with this talent young lady should be great."
Tiandra Billings, a 5-foot-6 guard from Perry, Ga., was Second Team All-Region in 1-AAAAA for Warner Robins High School last year while earning Honorable Mention All-Middle Georgia.
"Tiandra will definitely be one of our defensive stoppers," Britsky noted. "Although she can score, we will look for her to put the pressure on other teams with her quickness and court sense. If she develops like we think she will, you can look to see her defending some of the best offensive players in the league."
5-foot-7 guard Sylvia Elkins, from Heritage High School in Conyers (Ga.), was a 2007 Wendy's High School Heisman recipient and an honorable mention All-Area 2006-2007. Her GPA ranked sixth out of a class of 359.
"Sylvia is a ball of exciting potential to me," Britsky said. "She can play the point, the two or the three. She is a great athlete and I think she will become one of the better players in this program. Her desire to play basketball at a high level and her love of the game is contagious."
"Keep you eye on this young lady," Britsky added. "She has the potential to become something special early in her career."