Nov. 19, 2012
RUSTON - Brandi Wingate has the pedigree to be a superstar.
The 6-foot-1-inch strong forward/wing from Northwest Florida State also has the God-given talent and ability to shine on the Division I level.
Teresa Weatherspoon and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters outworked more than 30 other Division I programs in inking the No. 2 ranked strong forward/wing (No. 12 overall) in the country during the early signing period.
"She is a mentally tough young lady," Weatherspoon said. "That is what we are looking for in the kids we recruit. We are looking for mental toughness. She adds tremendous depth to our perimeter. She is long and lanky and can play any position on the floor. Her size is deceptive. She has a lot more strength in that body of hers. We do want her to gain a little more muscle to her frame.
"This is a kid that brings the ability to make everyone else around her better. She will do whatever it takes to win. She brings many, many positive things to our program, and we are happy to call her a Lady Techster."
Wingate, the daughter of former Georgetown All-American and 15-year NBA veteran David Wingate, chose the Lady Techsters over the likes of Auburn, Memphis, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Cincinnati as she signed her national letter of intent on Monday.
"I like the program," Wingate said. "I think it will make me a better person. I will grow on and off the court. I felt it was a good fit for me and what I want to do in the future which is play professionally. I know that Coach Spoon can help me get to the next level."
Now Wingate just needs to get healthy. After earning second team all-Panhandle Conference accolades as a freshman for coach Patrick Harrington at Northwest Florida State in 2010-11, Wingate has missed the past two seasons - including the current one - after suffering season-ending knee injuries.
"She has high major potential and talent there is no question about that," Harrington said. "When she is healthy she is as good of a wing player as you find in the SEC, both talent- and potential-wise. She is long and athletic. She has great anticipation. She is versatile, can rebound and handle it well. She has a knack for scoring. She reminds me of a female George Gervin. She is a kid that can create her own shot within the context of what you are trying to do."
"I felt great," Wingate told Brandon Walker of the Daily News back in early October. "I went up for a layup, and I landed a little wrong. As soon as I landed, I knew it was happening again. I was crushed."
Wingate had suffered the first injury almost a year earlier while preparing for the start of her sophomore season at the school. However, the silky-smooth forward said she isn't letting the setbacks stop her from pursuing her ultimate dream of playing on the Division I level and hopefully the WNBA.
"I am not going to stop," she said in her interview with Walker. "Since I've been through this before, I know what it takes to get better and I will.
"Everything happens for a reason. Even though I didn't understand it last time and don't understand it now, I am not going to stop fighting. I'm going to work as hard as I can. I am going to try to go to a place that helps me reach my potential. I am going to live my dream of playing basketball."
That dream will continue at Louisiana Tech next fall.
"I think she will come back strong and hungry," Weatherspoon said. "She wants this more than anything. It's her mentality to get it done and get back on the court."
Wingate joins Kevione Moten and JaQuan Jackson as the newest Lady Techster signees.
Columbia, Maryland (Northwest Florida State/Howard HS)
High School: Played as sophomore and senior at Howard High School ... Led team to the district title as a senior while averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals ... Named to the Baltimore Sun's All-Area Team as a senior ... Named second team of the all-county team by the Howard County Times ... Junior College: Lettered one year for coach Patrick Harrington at Northwest Florida State (2010-11) ... Missed the past two years with knee injuries ... Led Northwest Florida State to a 24-7 record and a No. 8 ranking in the NJCAA Coaches' Poll in 2010-11 ... Elected to play in the 2011 NJCAA Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Event ... Named second team All-Panhandle Conference as a freshman ... Averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line ... Ranked as the No. 2 strong forward in the junior college ranks (12th overall) by Dan Olson's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ... Full name: Brandi Allstin Wingate ... Daughter of David Wingate and Tyra Holland ... Has one brother, Bryce ... Has one sister, Brittany ... Father was an All-American for the Georgetown Hoyas helping lead the program to the 1984 NCAA National Title ... Finished his career at Georgetown as the program's third all-time leading scorer ... He spent 15 years (1986-2001) in the NBA playing for six different teams (Sixers, Spurs, Bullets, Hornets, SuperSonics and Knicks) ... Born Feb. 25, 1991 in Columbia, Maryland.