Lancers Ink Four For 2015-16 Season
Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015
FARMVILLE — Head coach Bill Reinson and the Longwood women’s basketball staff has strengthened its incoming recruiting class with the addition of Ciarah Bennett and Ashlee Jones. Those two will join fall signees Eboni Gilliam, junior college transfer, and Kemari Jones for the 2015-16 season.
“With this year’s recruiting class, we tried to address our size and athleticism,” Reinson said. “During the fall signing period, we added Eboni Gilliam and Kemari Jones. They are two front court players who will shore up our interior play and improve our rebounding. They also love to compete and will bring a competitive edge to our team. “Looking back on last season, I felt that we played at a very slow pace and we needed to change that. I believe the addition of our spring signees, Ashlee Jones and Ciarah Bennett will go a long way toward implementing that change.”
Ciarah Bennett — Camden, NJ
Bennett will come to Longwood from New Jersey, as the Lancers’ roster in 2015-16 will be made up of players from seven different states. She starred for Woodrow Wilson during her high school basketball career, but will receive her diploma from Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts School.
“Ciarah [Bennett] has some of the same qualities as Daeisha Brown,” Reinson said. “She is lightning quick, has a terrific handle, can apply pressure on the defensive end and loves transition basketball. She is a true point guard who has the ability to break down her defender off the dribble and find the open player. Ciarah also has very good range on her shot, which will make her a dual threat offensively. More importantly, Ciarah possesses an attitude that we have lacked. She is confident, competitive and fearless.”
On the basketball court, Bennett averaged 12.1 points per game to go along with 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals per contest during her senior campaign at Woodrow Wilson. She was named to the All-National Olympic Conference Second-Team as a senior and was the MVP in the Bishop Eustace Girls Shootout.
Academically, Bennett was a recipient of the Olympic Conference Scholar Athlete Award and was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior during the 2013-14 school year.
Eboni Gilliam — Richmond
Gilliam comes to Longwood after posting a strong two-year career at Cape Fear Community College. The product of Richmond, averaged 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in her sophomore campaign with the Sea Devils.
In her two seasons with Cape Fear, Gilliam posted 33 double doubles and was named first team All-Region in each of her seasons. A two-time team captain, the forward helped Cape Fear finish with a 26-6 overall record.
“Eboni [Gilliam] gives us something we have been missing, a physical presence,” Reinson said. “She is such a respectful young lady off the court, but when she gets on the floor she doesn’t back down from anyone. Eboni will provide a post presence, who can shoot the mid-range shot, and solid defense and rebounding on the other end of the court.”
In the classroom, Gilliam was named to the All-Academic team, while also being recognized for the Cape Fear Coaches Award following the 2013-14 campaign.
Gilliam will begin competing with the Lancers as a junior and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Ashlee Jones — Orlando, FL
Ashlee Jones becomes the second member of Longwood’s recruiting class to call the Sunshine State home, joining fall signee and Melbourne, FL, product Kemari Jones. She becomes the second player on Longwood’s roster to call the immediate Orlando area home, joining rising senior Kyndal Skersick.
Jones averaged 12.6 points to go along with 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals in her senior season at Orlando’s University High School. For her effort during the season, she was named the school’s 2015 High School Female Athlete of the Year while being named to the 2015 Second-Team All-Metro Orlando East Team.
“Ashlee [Jones] oozes talent,” Reinson said. “Every time I watch her on film I get more excited about working with her. She has the size and skill to be a dominant player in the Big South Conference. She is an excellent shooter, will attack off the dribble, can post up smaller guards and rebounds like a forward. Her best skill, however, may be her passing ability. She has great vision and delivers the ball on time. As with Ciarah, she will flourish in an up-tempo system.”
Jones leaves University High School, scoring over 850 points in her career to go along with more than 500 rebounds.
Kemari Jones — Melbourne, FL
Kemari Jones, a nominee for the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game, will also add to Longwood’s recruiting pipeline to come from the Sunshine State. While at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, Jones has been an integral member of three regional appearances and two District Championship teams.
“Kemari has as much potential as anyone we’ve recruited,” Reinson added. “She has size, quickness, athleticism and a love for the game. Defensively, she could make an impact on our team right away. As she matures offensively, the sky is the limit for how good she can be.”
In addition, she became a member of the Melbourne Central Catholic 1,000 point club as a junior in 2013-14 and leaves as a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. Among her other accolades, include being recognized on the Florida Today All County First Team in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
As a senior, Jones was named 2015 Florida Today Girls Basketball Player of the Year and the 2015 Bright House Networks Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Jones was also selected to both the FABC and the Source Hoops Class 3A All-Star Basketball Team as a sophomore, junior and senior.