Updated Nov 17, 2004 10:51:52
Techsters Sign Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech completed its early period signing class Tuesday as Ft. Smith Northside High School forward Clorice Kursh inked with the Lady Techsters.
Kursh joins her sister Tamika, who is a red-shirt sophomore for Louisiana Tech, to become only the second sister tandem to ever don the Lady Techster uniforms (Jeannie and Patsy Speights, 1975).
The 6-foot-1-inch prep star also joins a trio of guards in Jessica Houston, Eboni Mangum and Quantae Thomas to comprise this year's Techster recruiting class.
"I'm very, very pleased with this class," said Tech head coach Kurt Budke. "We identified our needs and who we wanted and we were very successful (in signing who we wanted). These four can help keep this program in the Top 25 for the next four years."
Kursh was one of the most highly touted players in the country during her freshman year at Ft. Smith Northside, as most experts considered her one of the top 10 players in the nation in that year's freshman class.
However, a knee injury between her freshman and sophomore season slowed Kursh's progress and, despite earning the Gatorade Player of the Year Award in the state of Arkansas as a junior, scared off many schools.
"Clorice is a young lady who would be considered one of the top 20 seniors in the country if she hadn't had the injury two years ago," Budke said. "She is a lot like Tamika, and I think you will see Tamika be an impact player for us this year. They have a lot of the same physical skills although Clorice probably scores a little better. She is the type of athlete that this program has won with over its history."
The 6-foot-1-inch Kursh averaged 12.1 points and 7.9 rebounds for head coach Ricky Smith last year helping lead Ft. Smith Northside to a 23-6 mark and the semifinals of the state playoffs. An honorable mention All-American selection by Street & Smith's, Kursh was a first team all-state selection last year and participated in the Nike All-American Camp this past summer.
"Clorice has really been hindered by a number of injuries over the past few years but has been healthy since March," Smith said. "She didn't play AAU ball this summer in order to give herself an opportunity to get healthy and she looks as healthy as she has since her freshman year."
Budke said the Techsters were finished with their early period signings.
Ft. Smith Northside HS
Ft. Smith, Ark.
High School: In her fourth year of varsity at Ft. Smith Northside High
School under head coach Ricky Smith ... As a freshman was one considered
one of the top 10 players in her class in the country ... Suffered a knee
injury between her freshman and sophomore season which has slowed her down
during the past two years ... Averaged 12.1 points and 7.9 rebounds as a
junior ... Averaged 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore ... Helped
lead Ft. Smith Northside to a 23-6 record and the semifinals of the Arkansas
state playoffs last year ... Named the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year
as a junior ... Named honorable mention Street & Smithıs All-American ...
Two-time 5A West All-Conference selection ... Named 5A all-state as a junior
... Named to the Arkansas Democrat All-Sophomore Team ... Named to the
Southwest Times Record Super Sophomore Team ... Participated in the Nike
All-American camp in the summer of 2004 ... Personal: Daughter of Sharon
Smith ... Has one sister, Tamika, who is a sophomore on the Lady Techster
team ... Born Nov. 6, 1986 ... Age 18.