Upstate Women’s Hoops Announce 2012-13 Recruiting Class
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's basketball program and head coach Tammy George announced the signing of seven student-athletes to the team's 2012-13 recruiting class.
The incoming Spartans are made up of four guards and three forwards with three signees from the Peach State, including Madison, Ga., native Tweety Hawkins. Hawkins is a 5-foot-6-inch stand-out guard from Morgan County High School. She helped the Bulldogs to a 28-2 record during her senior season, highlighted by a trip to the AA Elite Eight Georgia State Playoffs. The guard collected numerous all-tournament team accolades along with being named to the First Team 4AA All-Region Team the last two seasons. In the 2011-12 campaign, Hawkins averaged 17.3 points per game, dished out 5.1 assists per contest, while pulling down 4.3 rebounds an outing.
Upstate also brings in a two-time Coastal Plains 1-A Conference Player of the Year in Travonda Haddock from Jones Senior High School in Pollocksville, N.C. The 5-foot-9 guard helped her team to a 60-17 record in her four seasons at Jones Senior High, while she surpassed the 1,000 career-point mark. She was picked to play in the North Carolina/South Carolina All-Star Women's Basketball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Last season, Haddock tallied 17.4 points per game, 3.7 assists a contest, 9.1 boards per outing and 4.5 steals a game.
Sumter, S.C., native Brittany Starling is another incoming freshman for the Spartan women. The 6-foot-1 forward from Sumter High School had to sit out her senior season due to a knee injury. However, she came off of a very successful summer in the AAU circuit. During her junior year, Starling was named to the All-Region team, while also picking up team MVP accolades. As a dual sport athlete at Sumter High School, she also earned the Most Valuable Offensive Award for basketball along with the MVP honor for volleyball.
The Spartans signed Brittany Clency from Greensboro, N.C., after an outstanding career at Western Guilford High School. The 5-foot-8-inch guard is a four-time All-Metro 4A All-Conference Team selection, while earning First Team All-Area and All-State honors for her senior campaign. Clency finished her high school career tallying over 1,700 career-points. She was also chosen to play in the North Carolina/South Carolina All-Star Women's Basketball Classic.
"We are very excited about this year's recruiting class," George said. "Our staff felt like we needed to add depth throughout our roster and I believe we did that. Each position will be very competitive day-in and day-out at practice. I feel competition at practice each day allows kids to become better players and we now feel like we have that. Not only did we add a very solid freshman class, we also added some experienced winners from the junior college ranks."
Upstate inked three junior college transfers for the 2012-13 recruiting class, including one guard and a pair of forwards. Ameshia Kearney is the lone guard among the JuCo transfers for the Spartans. The 5-foot-9 guard helped Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan., to a 64-8 record over the past two seasons. Kearney led the Cavaliers in back-to-back appearances in the Division-II Junior College National Tournament. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native earned honorable mention All-Region accolades as a sophomore, while posting 8.2 points per game, recording 3.2 rebounds per contest and dishing out 2.2 assists an outing. Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ranked Kearney the 52nd best JuCo player in the nation and eighth best shooting guard for the 2011-12 campaign. Prior to becoming a Cavalier, she helped her team at Minneapolis South High School win the Minnesota State Championship.
Six-foot forward Valese McAllister comes to Upstate by way of East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Ga. She led the Bobcats in multiple statistical categories, averaging 15.3 points per game and 11.9 boards a contest. McAllister was a member of the inaugural recruiting class at East Georgia. The Twin City, Ga., native played high school basketball at Emanuel County Institute. She earned Honorable Mention All-State as a senior at ECI, averaging a near double-double of 13.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
The third Peach State signee to join the Spartan squad is KeArrow Jenkins, who originally hails from Stockton, Ga. The 6-foot post player returns to the Southeast after spending two seasons playing at Casper College in Wyoming. Casper is a very successful Division-I junior college program. Jenkins helped the Thunderbirds to a 51-13 mark the last two years, finishing the 2011-12 campaign ranked No. 3 in the nation. She helped a balanced Casper team by contributing 9.5 points a game and five boards per contest. Jenkins was a standout high school player at Lanier County High School in Lakeland, Ga. She recorded big numbers in high school, tallying 20 points per game and 11.5 rebounds an outing.
"These young ladies are excited to be a part of our program here at USC Upstate, which we feel is very important," George said. "With these additions along with our returners, we feel the future is bright here at Upstate."
The Spartans return six players from the 2011-12 team, including All-Atlantic Sun Conference First Team selection Tee'Ara Copney. Copney led the squad in scoring with 15.7 points per game. Follow Upstate on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.