ABILENE - New ACU women's basketball coach Julie Goodenough announced Wednesday that she has added five new players to the roster for the 2012-13 season.
The Wildcats have signed high school standouts Cemetra Jenkins from Mesquite High School and Whitney West from Gregory-Portland High School, while getting Shannon Sanders to transfer to ACU from Charleston Southern and Ryan Green from Weatherford College
Sanders was at Charleston Southern where she played last year as a freshman for Goodenough. The Wildcats' new coach also announced that Big Country standout Chera Chaney will also be joining the squad.
Sanders brings collegiate experience - as well as experience in Goodenough's system - to the Wildcats. A 5-8 shooting guard, Sanders is originally from Longview where she played at Spring Hill High School.
As a high school standout, Sanders was District 16-3A MVP and all-East Texas MVP as a senior. She also earned Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) all-region and all-state honors while averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game.
"I was impressed with ACU when I started researching colleges," Sanders said. "After talking with my friends who attend ACU and noticing their enthusiasm and pride I knew this was where I wanted to be. I really liked the team when I had the chance to meet them. I feel very blessed to be playing again for Coach Goodenough and am excited about this new opportunity."
Goodenough said Sanders' toughness will make an immediate impact on the Wildcats.
"Shannon is a very tough player, mentally and physically, and will be able to make an immediate impact on our team on both ends of the floor," Goodenough said. "As a freshman for me last season, she was asked to play several positions because of injuries on our team. She always rose to the occasion and did whatever she needed to for her team. I am excited to continue coaching Shannon."
Jenkins could fill the Wildcats' need for a point guard as she signs with ACU out of Mesquite High School. Last season as a senior she was first team all-district, the district's Offensive MVP, an all-region and all-state selection. She won the Academic Excellence Award from the school and was the 2012 Prom Queen. She did all of that while averaging 16 points per game for the Skeeters.
"I chose ACU for academic and athletic reasons," Jenksins said. "ACU has been known as a prestigious academic university and I will be able to achieve my career goals there. Athletically I chose ACU because I met the coaches and they are great Christian people with intense passion for the game like me. I believe they will help me become the best basketball player I can become. ACU seems to be the perfect fit for my plans as a college student-athlete."
Jenkins could fill a spot on the floor the Wildcats haven't truly filled since Kat Kundmueller completed her career in 2010.
"Meme has played for a very intense high school coach in Coach Jan Newland, so she knows how to work hard and will be expected to lead by example in practices even as a freshman," Goodenough said. "Her scoring ability combined with her great court vision will make a great combination for a point guard in our system."
West is a big guard at 5-11, who averaged 19 points per game last season as a senior. She was district Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, a three-time first team all-district pick, three-time all-South Texas performer, all-district volleyball player and regional qualifier in the pole vault.
"I went and visited and watched them (ACU) play, and they play like I do, so I thought I'd fit right in," West said. "They're very fast-paced and all about defense. That's how I like to play. I really liked Abilene and how the whole town is centered around Abilene Christian University."
Goodenough said West's height and scoring ability would make her an immediate contributor in the Wildcats' backcourt.
"Whitney has had a phenomenal high school career in not only basketball but volleyball and track as well," Goodenough said. "We are excited to have another solid scoring point guard join our 2012 class."
Green - a solid post at 6-1 - joins the Wildcats from Weatherford College where last year she was a second team all-conference performer after averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds per game. As a freshman in 2010-11 she was a first team all-conference pick after averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.
"I chose ACU because it is a strong Christian school," she said. "I look forward to growing as a person academically, spiritually, and as an athlete. I believe that ACU is the best place for me to achieve my goals."
Green will compete with returning seniors Kesley Smith and Emily Miller and returning sophomore Paige Parliament for playing time along the front line.
"Ryan will give us immediate depth in the post position which is what we were missing," Goodenough said. "The Westerford College coach, Bob McKinley, is a great teacher of the game, and I believe the opportunity to play for him in a very tough conference combined with her winning experience, will be invaluable assets for our team."
Chaney joins the Wildcats as a walk-on after leading the Merkel Lady Badgers to a 33-1 season that ended with a loss to Wall in the Region I-2A quarterfinal round.
With Chaney's help, the Lady Badgers won all three tournaments they played in, along with a district title and an area championship. A 5-8 guard, Chaney averaged 12 points, 5.5 boards and 2.3 steals per game. Chaney was selected to the Class 2A all-state team by the TABC and the Texas Girls' Basketball Coaches' Association.