Central Connecticut women's basketball head coach Beryl Piper announced the addition of five players for the 2008-09 season. Rachel Chandler, Verree Harris, Christie Leverette, Gabrielle Oglesby and Shontice Simmons will join the Blue Devil program for the upcoming campaign. They will accompany Leanne Crockett, who sat out last season after transferring from UMBC, as first year players.
LISTEN to Piper discuss the recruits In the Paint
Chandler is a 5-7 guard out of Dayton, OH. She was a four-year letterwinner at Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High. Coached by Marc Greenberg, Chandler helped lead Chaminade-Julienne to an Ohio State Championship in the 2004-05 season and three district championships. Off the court, Chandler is active in poetry. She represented Ohio at the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest after winning the state competition.
"We are excited to welcome Rachel," Piper said. "She is such a well rounded student-athlete, who will provide speed and hustle on the court and strong character out of the gym."
Harris, who played at Peekskill High before attending Monroe College, will add depth to the front court. A 6-0 forward, she served as a team captain at both Peekskill and Monroe. Harris helped lead Monroe to a NJCAA Division III National Championship last season. An all-tournament honoree, she averaged over seven points and six rebounds on the season.
"Veree is going to bring much needed experience to our post players," Piper said. "She has the ability to help boost our rebounding on both the offensive and defensive end."
Leverette will come to New Britain via Marietta High in Georgia. An honorable mention Class AAAAA All-State selection as a senior, Leverette is a combo guard who Piper envisions playing at the 1 and 2 spots. In addition to her all-state play in basketball, she was the 2008 Class AAAAA State Champion in the high jump. The Dallas, GA native has captained her track and field team since 2006. On the court, she left Marietta High as the school's all-time leader in steals and assists and second all-time leading scorer. In addition to her honorable mention All-State honor, she collected an All-State award from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was named the 2007-08 Girls Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County.
"Christie is another outstanding student-athlete," Piper noted. "She will bring speed and athleticism to our back court and comes to college after carrying a grade point average of over 4.0 at Marietta."
Oglesby, a 1,000-point scorer at Hill Regional Career in nearby New Haven, is a versatile player guard who will be able to play inside and out. Named a first team All-State performer by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Register as a senior, she helped lead Career to 71-66 Connecticut State Championship on the Detrick Gymnasium floor earlier this year. In addition to her All-State honors, the 5-10 Oglesby also holds all-area, all-county and all-league selections.
"Gabrielle brings more versatility to our team," Piper said. "She is going to be able to play on the wing and on the inside, where she is an effective rebounder."
Simmons rounds out the class. A 5-7 guard, she was a first team Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and All-Gazette selection as a senior, averaging 14 points, six rebounds and five assists per game at the Academy of the Holy Cross. She was also a second team All-Metropolitan selection last season. As a junior, Simmons helped lead Holy Cross to the WCAC Championship.
"Shontice adds depth to our guard corps," Piper said. "Her skill, hustle and energy will help us at both guard positions on both ends of the floor."
The five freshmen join Crockett, who starred at nearby Manchester High and won back-to-back state championships as a junior and senior while also earning first team All-State honors from the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register in 2005. After spending her freshman campaign at UMBC, she sat out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer rules.