Another top senior prep player has finalized her college choice as we near the new season. During September and October, seniors will be making official visits to colleges all across the country. However, Paige Smith of Hamilton Southeastern has already made her selection, choosing to stay relatively close to her home state with the selection of D-II Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
The 6'0 forward (left) averaged 13.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season, while shooting 58.7% from the field. She was instrumental to the Royals' 16-5 record in 2007-08. HSE fell to eventual 4A state champion Carmel 56-51 on the 'Hounds home court in the first round of sectional play last February.
"GVSU is getting a very skilled post player that has a strong work ethic," says four-year head coach Chris Huppenthal. "Paige will be a great asset to the the Laker program."
Grand Valley State, located in Allendale, Michigan, was the D-II National Champion in 2006 and has made four appearances in the NCAA D-II Tournament the past five years. The Lakers went 16-12 under new head coach Janel Burgess last season. She took over for former head coach Dawn Plitzuweit, who is now an assistant coach at Michigan. GVSU is well known in the D-II community for its high-quality athletic facilities and programs.
"I am excited to continue my basketball career at Grand Valley State University," says Smith. "I am really looking forward to playing for Coach Burgess. She is extremely passionate and enthusiastic."
When Smith arrives on campus in 2009, she will join former Winamac standout Kara Crawford on the GVSU roster. But before her college debut, Smith will be focusing on her final high school season. The three-sport athlete (volleyball and track) will be a major cog of the Royals' girls basketball machine in 2008-09. Together with Miami recruit Courtney Osborn, HSE's seniors could be poised for a great season.
ELKHART MEMORIAL'S WATSON RULED INELIGIBLE IN TRANSFER TO POWERHOUSE SB WASHINGTON
According to the South Bend Tribune, Elkhart Memorial standout Jasmine Watson (left) has been ruled ineligible for her senior season after she transferred to South Bend Washington over the summer. The 6'2 forward is being courted by a bevy of D-I programs after a successful summer of exposure basketball. As a junior, the agile and athletic post logged stats of 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Watson's family moved to South Bend from Elkhart due to financial difficulties. However, the IHSAA has ruled that the move was made for athletic reasons, not financial. Watson plans to appeal the decision. Photo from the South Bend Tribune.
WINCHESTER LOSES PROLIFIC COACH GARY HORNER
Longtime head coach Gary Horner (right) of Winchester died in his sleep last Monday morning, reportedly from heart complications. Over 16 years as the leader of the Golden Falcons, Horner compiled a 246-105 record, but more importantly, a reputation as a great guy and "gentle giant". According to one player's parent, "He meant a lot not only to these players, but he touched a lot of lives. He put the student and the person above the sport." Horner will be greatly missed by his family, team, community and the greater girls basketball community in Indiana. Photo from the Muncie Star Press.
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