Versatility on the court and overall character highlight each of the four signees
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2013) – First-year ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell announced Monday the signing of Kaylee Barnard (Orlando, Fla.), Shomari Kendrick (Lexington, Ky.), Mendy McNeese (Greeneville, Tenn.) and Malloree Schurr (Montgomery, Texas) to National Letters of Intent for the 2014-15 season.
“Our coaching staff is honored and elated to announce the signing of four new Buccaneers to the ETSU basketball family,” said Ezell. “All four of these young women possess the type of character, work ethic and competitive spirit that makes them ideal fits for our program.
Barnard, a 5-foot-8 guard from University High School in Orlando, Fla., comes to ETSU after averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in a limited 2012-13 season. Prior to the 2012-13 campaign, the basketball and volleyball letterwinner was named Preseason First-Team All-Metro East before playing in only four games that season due to injury.
Accomplished on the court, Barnard also proves her value in the classroom. Carrying a 3.81 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and having membership in both the National Honor Society and the mathematics honor society (Mu Alpha Theta), the daughter of Math teacher and basketball coach Jason Barnard embodies the true essence of a student-athlete.
"Kaylee has worked extremely hard to achieve this goal and all of us here at UHS could not be happier,” said Barnard. “Her dedication and desire, both on and off the court, directly correlates to this amazing opportunity to become a part of ETSU women's basketball.”
Ezell notes Barnard’s on-the-court versatility and intangibles as early indicators of the success she can have at the collegiate level.
“Kaylee Barnard is a competitor and a fighter,” said Ezell. “As the daughter of a coach, Kaylee has an incredible grasp on the intricacies of the game and has put in countless hours of sweat equity in developing her game. She is another of our signees that can play multiple positions and will be a great addition to the program’s culture as we continue with our process of progress.”
Kendrick, a 6-foot-3 center from Lexington, Ky. and Pensacola State College in Pensacola, Fla., arrives as a Buccaneer after averaging 9.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 24 games in 2012-13, while also shooting 48 percent from the field for the Eagles. Following the 2012-13 campaign, Kendrick was named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) all-star and was a second-team All-Panhandle Conference selection.
Kendrick’s head coach at Pensacola, Leah Drury, commented on the development the center has shown since arriving on campus.
"It has truly been an honor to coach Shomari and watch her grow over the past two years,” said Drury. “She has worked really hard to improve her game and establish herself as one of the top players in our conference. I am proud of how much she has already accomplished and know that she will greatly impact the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State."
Ezell is excited about the mixture of talents Kendrick holds and the quality of coaching she has already received at the junior college level.
“It is rare to find a post player that possesses such an incredible combination of power, skill and sheer effort, but we believe that we have found it in Shomari,” said Ezell. “She is a top 100, nationally-ranked junior college recruit and is playing at one of the premier junior college programs in the country under the direction of coach Leah Drury. We believe that Shomari will bring a needed strength to our program on and off the floor.”
McNeese, a 5-foot-6 guard from Greeneville, Tenn. and North Greene High School, becomes a member of the Blue and Gold after averaging 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 2012-13. The all-state team member and 2013 Greene County Player of the Year also finished her junior season at North Greene with 1,409 career points and helped lead the Huskies to a district championship.
Off the court, McNeese is a Tennessee Scholar and President of the National Honor Society at North Greene, among many other accomplishments.
McNeese caught Ezell’s attention long ago and the first-year head coach is glad to keep the Greeneville native in east Tennessee.
“I have been a Mendy McNeese fan since seeing her at the Tennessee state tournament as a freshman,” said Ezell. “She is the ultimate competitor and a natural leader. Mendy has long dreamed of being a Division I basketball player and I can only imagine how incredible it will be for her to live out her dream only a stone’s throw away from her hometown of Greeneville. We are excited to keep her in the east Tennessee region and we look forward to what she will do at the collegiate level.”
Schurr, a 5-foot-10 guard from Montgomery, Texas and Montgomery High School, comes to ETSU after averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game during the 2012-13 season. A letterwinner throughout her high school career in both basketball and softball, the native Texan was also named county Offensive Player of the Year and was first-team all-region as a junior at Montgomery.
In the classroom, Schurr has been named to the district all-academic team three times as well as owning membership in the National Honor Society.
Schurr’s head coach at Montgomery, Stacey Blalock, described the complete package that Schurr possesses as both a student-athlete and as a person.
"Malloree is a dedicated and determined athlete that works extremely hard,” said Blalock. “She is a competitor that fights to the end and is a coach's dream to have in the program. We are very blessed to have her in our lives!"
Ezell commented on Schurr grabbing the attention of the ETSU coaching staff early on in the evaluation process and the potential she has that can help the Bucs.
“We targeted Malloree early in the summer evaluation period,” said Ezell. “Her athleticism and competiveness on the glass jumped out to our staff immediately. Coupled with that was her ability to score and defend from all five positions. Mal is extremely versatile and has yet to scratch the surface of her potential. Aside from her natural athleticism, what makes Malloree even more valuable is the fact that she places a high value on being a good teammate and is remarkably selfless.”
“Overall, each of the young women we have now welcomed into our family share in the core values of our program and understand the incredible tradition that surrounds ETSU women’s basketball. They believe in the culture that we are developing and have the collective capabilities to make an immediate impact in all facets of our program.”
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