Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the upcoming season.
Up now ...
- Tamara Miskovic, a 5-foot-9 freshman guard: She has played for her native Serbia's Under-20 National Team, and spent the past two seasons playing for Vrbas Medela in Serbia, where she averaged 5.4 points and had 51 assists last season. She was the MVP of two international tournaments as a member of the first-lace team at the Vojvodina Under-19 Championship. "Tamara is a high-level passer who sees the game two steps ahead," said Canisius coach Terry Zeh, in a release issued by the school. "She has played a great level of basketball internationally and brings that experience to our program."
- Royce Shields, a 5-6 junior guard: She has played the past two seasons at Highland Community College in Kansas. There, she averaged 10.0 points per game this past season. As a high school senior at Wyandotte H.S. in Kansas, she averaged 15.4 points per game. "Royce brings an added dimension of quickness and athleticism and is a great perimeter defender," Zeh said. "Royce comes from a good junior college program and really understands how to play."
- Lauren D'Hont, a 5-11 freshman guard: She averaged 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals per game as a senior at Pittsford-Mendon H.S. in the Rochester, N.Y., area this past season. In high school she also played soccer and softball. "Lauren is a multi-sport athlete who has a tremendous desire to succeed," Zeh said. "Coupling that desire with her basketball skills and academic abilities, Lauren is a great fit for our program.
-Laniere Coleman, a 6-1 freshman forward. She averaged 12.7 points per game as a senior at Lake Mary (Fla.) High School this past season. As a junior there she averaged 9.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. "Laniere brings good size and toughness to our interior," Zeh said. "She has a good mind for the game and has shown the ability to defend in the post."
ANALYSIS: Just about every player of significance is back, including a strong recruiting class four years ago that now has forwards Jamie Ruttle, Jen Lennox, Courtney VandeBovenkamp and guard Jen Morabito in their fourth years in the program. VandenBovenkamp, though, missed all of last season with an injury and her return will give the Griffs a nice boost. Sophomore Tiahana Mills looks like she could be one of the league's better point guards. JC players rarely get recruited to sit the bench, so Shields should play right away. Miskovic brings international experience, although foreign players traditionally go through an adjustment period. Coleman brings inside toughness to a program that lacked it last season, particularly in VandeBovenkamp's absence, and D'Hont brings athleticism. The youngsters should contribute to the team's depth and the incoming talent could help lift Canisius higher than its predicted sixth-place finish as per the preseason coaches' poll.