TERRE HAUTE —
The caliber of athletes that the Indiana State women’s basketball coaching staff is bringing in is on an upswing.
Once the fan base gets a more extensive look at this year’s freshman class, it will be impressed. Post players Marah Morris and Racheal Mahan may not see much action early this season after being set back by knee injuries, but they’re both seeing more repetitions in practice recently. With strength and mobility, they both look like impact players in the future.
The freshmen backcourt players will be called upon to contribute immediately as ISU looks to be a more up-tempo team that would like to press for a good chunk of 40 minutes.
It’s definitely best to take a wait-and-see approach with freshmen since only one exhibition game has been played. But these backcourt newcomers, point guard Natasha Zurek, lightning quick Travecia Franklin and offensive-minded Jessica Valley, look ready to help in the short-term, gathering minutes that will aid their development.
That’s part of Moren’s philosophy on building the program to what she hopes is a perennial winner.
“There’s no doubt about it. The prospective student-athletes we’re going to recruit and ask to come in our program are going to enjoy that type of play. They like that up-tempo style of play. I think we’ll attract a lot of young players that want to play that way,” Moren said.
Moren also announced this week the signing of her 2012 class, which includes two guards and two posts.
n Kasey Johnson of Plainfield was the first of this class to commit to ISU. Her athleticism has been on display on the basketball floor, and she has also been an All-State runner in the 400 meters. Johnson averaged 13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Quakers last season.
“She is a tremendous athlete that can score on the outside or get to the basket,” Moren said. “Kasey is a very good on-ball defender and will compliment us defensively. She’s a tireless worker, spends extra time in the gym improving and will make an impact immediately.”
n Kalliste Haskins is a 5-7 point guard for Warren Central, which is ranked No. 8 in Class 4A to start the season. Haskins averaged 5.9 points and 5.5 rebounds during the Warriors’ 18-5 season last year.
“Kalliste is a solid point guard who can handle the ball, direct things on the court and be a calming influence for her team,” Moren said. “She comes from a very good high school program and is used to winning. Kalliste brings a confident mentality to the game and is an intense competitor.”
n Marina Laramie is a 6-2 post player from O’Fallon, Mo., where she led Fort Zumwalt West to the Missouri Class 5A state quarterfinals.
Laramie averaged 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds last season.
“Marina has size, skill and strength. She’s extremely intense and competitive,” said head coach Moren. “Marina loves to battle on the inside and goes to work on the low block each night. With the graduation of Shannon Thomas she will immediately be called upon to contribute. Fans will love her intensity!”
n MaKenzi Reasor averaged 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds for a talented Mount Vernon squad that is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A to start the season.
Reasor is a face-the-basket type of post player.
“MaKenzi is a versatile player who can play inside or outside and will be able to defend both of those positions,” said head coach Moren. “She has range but also has tremendous touch around the basket. Mak has the characteristics of becoming a leader in this program and will be a great addition to our team.”
While Moren has a team capable of developing into a quality basketball team this winter, it will be interesting to see how these two most recent recruiting classes mature in the coach’s system.
Craig Pearson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @TribStarCraig.