by Alan Hoskins
Reaching a new personal pinnacle in wins in a 24-8 season wasn’t enough for Kansas City Kansas Community College coach Valerie Stambersky. Now she wants to do it again.
Working closely in conjunction with assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Shaun Burki, Stambersky has eight signees for the 2014-2015 season with what could be one of KCKCC’s best recruiting classes.
“This group is going to bring so much more versatility and depth, especially to the guard position where we needed more depth this past year,” Stambersky said. “With a good corps coming back, it’s exciting to think about this group for next year.”
The Blue Devils return seven players from this year’s team including five players who started 15 or more games.
Two of the newcomers, teammates Cierra Gaines and Erin Anderson at Edwardsville, Ill., High School, are already in the Blue Devil camp having transferred in at the start of the spring semester. A 5-7 shooting guard, Gaines averaged 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds at St. Louis Community College while Anderson is a 5-8 guard who signed with Southwestern Illinois but redshirted because of a knee injury.
“Both are legitimate starting prospects with their ability to score, rebound, play defense and compete along with the benefit of being here for a semester and understanding of the expectations both offensively and defensively,” says Stambersky.
Point guard depth will come from 5-3 Aricca Daye of Des Moines East and 5-7 Artasia Carnes-Marshall of Memphis East. A first team all-conference selection, Daye averaged 10.3 points and 4.1 assists on a 20-3 East team that finished ranked No. 7 in Iowa while Carnes-Marshall was ranked among the top 25 players in Tennessee. Averaging 12 points and 3.6 assists, she originally signed with Kennesaw State, an NCAA Division I member.
They’ll join Cassidy Harbert, an honorable mention All-American, at the point guard position. “All three are different and will provide depth,” Stambersky said . “Arrica is more of a ball distributor; Artasia can also play the two position.”
Two Kansas standouts will be in the mix at the small forward position, 5-10 Janay Jacobs of Wichita’s Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High School and 5-9 Sierra Roberts of SM South. Jacobs was a member of a team that won the state championship in her sophomore season and was fourth and third the last two seasons. A participant in the Kansas-Missouri All-Star game, Roberts averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds to earn first team all-conference honors.
“Jacobs is a blue collar athlete who can shoot, rebound and works hard; Sierra has a great shooting touch from the outside. Smart, she can also get to the rim,” Stambersky said.
The Blue Devils will also get valuable help from a pair of standouts from Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee, 5-9 guard Ky’Ana French and 5-11 forward Myranda Keeler. One of the top 20 players in Wisconsin as a senior, French averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists while Keeler averaged 9.8 points and 11.8 rebounds with season highs of 24 points and 23 rebounds.
“A lefthander, French is a slasher with a great scoring mentality; Keeler brings a lot of athleticism – a rebounder and shot blocker who runs the floor,” Stambersky said.
In addition to Harbert, the Blue Devils will return guards Rashaun Casey and Alyson Weber, forwards Janai Mitchell, Iland Shurn and Eirenei Alesana and post Julia Garrard.
“We’re not done recruiting yet,” Stambersky said. “There’s always a place for good players.”