Fresh Talent Looks to Help Rebound Sailfish Women's Basketball Program
October 9, 2008
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Anyone close to the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s basketball program during the 2007-2008 season saw a wide range of emotions from the players, coaches, and fans. Unfortunately many of those emotions were due to close defeats, injuries, and a small roster. With this year’s incoming recruiting class, head coach Robin Potera-Haskins is looking to change the culture of PBA women’s basketball.
Seven new faces. These along with a solid core of returning players is what Potera-Haskins and Sailfish fans hope will result in a different outcome for many of the games in 2008-2009.
Leading the group of incoming players for the Sailfish is a few standouts who Potera-Haskins believe will make an immediate impact.
Kristine Webb, a 6’4” junior transfer from NCAA Division I Winthrop University, is not only expected to be a presence in the paint but a vocal leader for the Fish on and off the court. A Tuckasegee, North Carolina native, Webb brings the Fish another low post option to go along with top-returner Brooke Burgess.
“Kristine is a leader this team really needs,” said Potera-Haskins.
“Her experience and skill set are obvious but it’s the intangibles that I believe she will bring to help our younger players that truly makes her a very valuable addition to our program,” continued Potera-Haskins.
Helping set up the offense will be two young guards that not only possess speed and athleticism but a court awareness that will make them tough for opponents to defend.
Lynsey Poole and Hayley Fields, both talents originally from the state of Texas, bring the Fish a point guard/shooting guard combo that should have Sailfish fans pleased for years to come.
A graduate of Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, Poole is a 5’5” point guard with the accolades and experience to make an immediate impact at a crucial position for PBA. A two-time District MVP and an All-State 3rd-Team selection, Poole will be looked upon to be the floor general for the Fish in the early stages of her career.
“Lynsey is a special player. She not only has the speed to get up and down the floor but as a person, she is exactly the type of player we want to build up our program with,” said Potera-Haskins about Poole who graduated in the top ten percent of her high school class.
With Poole in place as a top-notch point guard option, Potera-Haskins also seeked out another standout who can shoot and put points on the board for the Sailfish. She believes she has found a player to fit that description in Haley Fields.
An All-District and All-Region selection from Princeton High School in Plano, Texas, Fields is a two-guard with big play ability.
“Hayley is the type of player we coveted as we entered our recruiting. She can shoot from anywhere, handle the basketball, and isn’t afraid to make the extra pass to find an open teammate. These are the type of players we look for in our program,” said Potera-Haskins.
Joining Webb as a front-court teammate is freshman Selethia Jackson who comes to the Fish from nearby Riviera Beach, Florida and Suncoast Community High School. A 6’1” power forward, Jackson was a 2nd-Team All-Conference performer at SCHS while bringing her toughness and aggressiveness to the Fish this season.
“We really will look to Selethia as someone that does the little things to make our team better,” said Potera-Haskins.
“I believe she can develop into a very solid player for us as she possesses the talent to not only play a number of positions, but excel in each role she is asked to do,” stated the Sailfish head coach.
One area that Potera-Haskins knew she must address in the offeseason was her team’s depth. Forced to run a roster of six, seven, or sometimes eight healthy players on a given night left the Sailfish vulnerable and weak down the stretch of games.
The addition of Loren Wilkins, Jordan Kong, and Melissa Sandison, a trio of guards, should give the Fish even more dangerous options off the bench.
A Covington, Georgia native and a product of Newton High School, Wilkins should provide her team with a great defensive presence as well as someone who isn’t afraid to do the little things to help her team win. Her team’s Defensive Player of the Year twice during her prep career, Wilkins will use her athleticism that allowed her to be a three sport standout in high school (basketball, softball, and track) to help aide the Fish in her freshman campaign.
“I love Loren’s work ethic each day in practice. She is a player who will push her teammates and make everyone better. As she develops her skill set, she can become a very nice player for us in the future,” said Potera-Haskins.
Another one of the newcomers for Potera-Haskins and the Sailfish basketball team in 2008-2009 is Jordan Kong, a 5’7” guard from Sanford, Florida.
The District Player of the Year and also her high school’s Female Athlete of the Year, Kong’s accolades list proves her worth on and off the court. Not only a standout on the hardwood, Kong graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a Dean’s List selection. Having scored over 1,500 points during her high school basketball career, Kong gives the Sailfish another dangerous option.
“Jordan is a player that catches on quickly to new things. She gives us another shooting threat as she can hit the long three from anywhere,” said Potera-Haskins.
Joining Wilkins as a player with a wide sports background is freshman Melissa Sandison. A former standout basketball, volleyball, and soccer player at Calvery Christian School in Muskegon, Michigan, Sandison hopes to transition from a very solid prep career into a collegiate basketball top performer.
“Melissa was an Academic All-State selection in high school and it shows not only in the classroom but in her approach to the game, she is a blessing to have as a part of our team,” said Potera-Haskins.
One other player that will be making her Sailfish debut in 2008-2009 is junior Chanell Byrd. While not technically a newcomer as she enters her second year with the Fish after a medical redshirt last season, Byrd looks ready to make a big splash after a year off.
Another Texas native, Byrd came to PBA from Temple College where she was a 5’10” guard/forward. An All-Conference 1st-Team selection while in high school, Byrd should give the Fish a great option on both ends of the floor.
“Chanell is going to turn some heads when she gets out there and shows what she is capable of,” said Potera-Haskins.
“Her size as a guard will make her a dangerous player at either the two guard or small forward position. I’m very pleased with how she is coming along and what she has to offer this team,” continued Potera-Haskins.
Having gone 1-26 a year ago, many may overlook the Sailfish in 2008-2009. However, insiders with the program believe that the new faces for the Fish along with their returning players could certainly turn some heads as they hit the floor this season.
Stay tuned to www.pbasailfish.com for a full preview of the Sailfish and their upcoming season as they hit the floor in just a few weeks.