WKU inks nine on the first day of early signing period


Yesterday began the early signing period, meaning top JUCO and high school recruits could ink their name to their next destination in their athletic careers.

For WKU, the Hilltoppers added a total of nine players across the rosters of three sports for the 2015/16 athletic years, and if these sports were already good, the additions coming in will only bolster that, and make WKU even more of a force and look to take Conference USA by storm in their second year.

In case you were in the dark yesterday, or you just want a refresher of who’s coming in, here’s a round up of everyone coming to the Hill for next season.

Coach Harper and his squad had three NLI’s come in yesterday, as Fredrick Edmond (6-3 guard), Marlon Hunter (6-2 guard) and Chris McNeal (5-11 guard) will suit up and take John Oldham Court next year. Edmond coming to WKU is a long time coming, and finally has his academics in order and is headed our way. Currently, Edmond is playing at College of Southern Idaho, and averaged a team high 18 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last year in his freshman year. He helped lead the Golden Eagles to a 27-5 record and was named a National Junior College Athletic Association second-team All-American.

Hunter comes to WKU from south of the border (Tennessee, that is), and averaged 24 points, eight boards and four steals per game in 2013-14 at Houston High School in Memphis. Hunter is a member of the Arkansas Wings Elite on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League travel circuit, and lead all players in steals last summer. The three-star recruit (Rivals.com) picked the Tops over East Carolina, South Alabama, UALR and UMass.

McNeal also comes to the Hill from the Volunteer state, and is getting ready for his senior year at South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn. Last year in a state championship year, he averaged 19.3 points, four boards and assists, and picked WKU over Cleveland State, UMass and MTSU (hahahahahaha Blue Raiders).

Women’s Basketball:
The Lady Tops are bringing in four fresh faces next year, as Dee Givens (6-1 forward), Sidnee Bopp (5-6 guard), Simone Goods (6-2 forward) and Kayla Smith (5-11 guard/forward) will play for Michelle Clark-Heard and the Lady Toppers come next season.

The lone Kentucky product is miss Givens, who comes from Lafayette High School in Lexington. Givens has played in Diddle Arena before, last year as a matter of fact, as she helped lead the Lady Generals to a 28-4 record and Lafayette reached the quarterfinals of the KHSAA Girls state tournament. Givens averaged 16.8 points and seven rebounds per game in her junior campaign, and knocked down 37 threes on her way to shooting 43.7% from the floor.

Sidnee Bopp comes to south-central Kentucky from Arkansas, and averaged 14.6 points, five steals and four assists in 20 minutes per game in her junior year at Marmaduke High School. (Say that without laughing. I dare you. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Did you do it? Ha, it’s awesome.) Bopp is a two-time All-Conference and All-Region selection, as well as an All-Tournament honor she garnered in her sophore year. Bopp is two-sport athlete at Marmaduke, and she won the Class 2A, Region 3 400 meter dash both in 2013 and last year.

The winner of the farthest distance to the Hill is Simone Goods, who is gearing up for her senior year at Omaha Benson High School, where she helped win the 2014 Nebraska state championship. Goods will look to bring the goods (I just had to), and will look to improve upon a junior year in which she averaged 13.3 points, 10.8 boards and two and a half blocks per outing.

The final addition to the 2015/16 Lady Toppers roster is, by far my favorite – the Georgia Peach herself, Kayla Smith. Smith has been rated among the nation’s top players, as she’s been ranked as high as 83rd by the All Star Girls Report during the 2014 calender year. Currently, she sits as a top 50 shooting guard. Smith Averaged 18 points and five boards last year for Fayette County High School, and helped lead them to a 21-9 record.

Finally, the volleyball team added to their ranks, and brought in two girls from the Wolverine State in Rachel Anderson (6-1, middle hitter) and Taylor Dellinger (6-0 outside hitter).

Anderson comes from Sturgis, Michigan, and has played all four years of her high school career at Sturgis High School, where she’s been recognized as an AVCA Under Armour All-America Third-Team member to go along with her numerous All-State, All-Conference and MVP honors. She’s been named a PrepVolleyball.com Top 50 Junior and Top 100 Senior, and broke a 39 year-old school record for career kills and kills in a season. This past year, she recorded 675 kills and a .427 hitting mark.

Dellinger is from Clarkston, Michigan, and is a three-year letterwinner for Clarkston High School. Dellinger actually spent a year in Alabama, and recorded 593 kills, 489 digs and 74 blocks, leading Hartselle High School to their first ever state title.

It’s hard to not get excited by looking at this list, and the talent that continues to come in year in and year out keeps growing the talent pool for the Tops, and continues to grow WKU as a place to be.