Some thoughts on Kent State’s incoming freshmen, looking at their statistics, honors and record in their senior year:
- It doesn’t look to me as if any of the four fall signees had a breakout season.
- The best of the group could be Monique Smith, a 5-10 forward from San Diego who averaged a double-double in both her junior and senior years. 6-3 center Amanda Sape from suburban Detroit also effectively averaged a double-double (9.9 rebounds) for the second straight year.
- There’s talent. But if there’s elite talent, it will need to be developed by the KSU coaches.
None of the five new players (a fifth was added in April) made any first, second or third all-state team, as far as I could find.
Most of their statistics were comparable to their junior years. All of their high school teams had winning seasons. Three had very good seasons.
Here’s a look at the group:
MONIQUE SMITH, 5-10 forward, Serra High School, San Diego
Smith averaged 18 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.6 steals, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 assists in a major league in a major city in a major state. She made all-section and all-county teams and was nominated to be a McDonalds All-American (so were 350 other players). Smith’s high school team lost the state’s Division II regional finals, finishing with a 23-11 record, 11-1 in its league. One story I saw said she was clearly the best player in her league. Her junior stats were comparable to her senior year — slightly lower in scoring, somewhat higher in rebounding and steals. Smith played for one of the better AAU teams in the nation — the GBL Lady Rebels in Los Angeles.
AMANDA SAPE, 6-3 center-forward, Bloomfield Hills High School, suburban Detroit
Sape averaged 13 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks a game on the best team in her high school’s history (20-2, 10-0 in its league). She had 24 points of her team’s 52 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks in a one-point win over Clarkson, an above-average non-conference opponent. She was honorable mention all state for the second year in a row. Her statistics were slightly lower than her junior year, but her team was substantially better. Sape is also an all-state caliber thrower (discuss and shot put) in track. KSU coach Todd Starkey said she also ran cross country in fall to get herself in better shape.
KASEY TOLES, 5-9 guard, Sandy Creek High School, suburban Atlanta.
Toles averaged 11.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on a team that went 24-7, (10-2 in its league) and made the state AAAA (third largest division) semifinals. She was an all-county and all-regional player for the second year in a row. Her statistics were slightly lower than last season, but her team added a senior point guard transfer who was county player of the year and also had a co-conference freshman of the year. So Toles didn’t have to carry as much of the load herself. Toles is the sister of Kent State assistant coach Morgan Toles.
ERIN THAMES, 5-5 point guard, Hopewell High School, suburban Charlotte, N. C.
Thames is the hardest of the recruits to figure out from the numbers. She averaged 7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals a game and just 1.4 assists, which seems very low for a point guard. Both Starkey and her AAU coach, though, talk about her as an excellent floor leader. Thames was a member of the Charlotte Observer’s 14-player all-MECKA team, which seems to be the major conference in the Charlotte area, for the second year in a row. Thames’ statistics were about three points a game higher than her junior year. Her team went 18-8, 8-4 in her conference. The most encouraging thing about her resume is that she also was recruited by Rhode Island, Boston College, Cleveland State and Wisconsin, though I don’t know whether she had offers from any of those schools.
KENNEDY ROBERTS-ROSSER, 6-1 forward, Fairfield High School, Cincinnati
Roberts-Rosser signed with the Flashes in the April period. (The others all signed in November.) Roberts-Rosser averaged 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds on a team that went 15-9 (11-6 in its league). Both KSU’s announcement of her signing and an online scouting report called her an athletic player whose specialities were defense and rebounding. She averaged 4.5 points and 5.3 rebounds as a junior. Her high school team averaged about 50 points a game, with Roberts-Rosser and two others averaging between 8 and 10. She missed 10 games this season with an injury.
Celebrate with the team
You can still get tickets to KSU’s year-end banquet Saturday. Here are the details from the team’s Twitter feed. Deadline has been extended until 5 p.m. Tuesday.