JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman women's basketball coach Mike Mincey announced the signing of three local players to next season's recruiting class. Madison Brantley (Union, Tenn.), Chanler Geer (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Tori Griffin (Dandridge, Tenn.) have signed and will join the Lady Eagles in 2016.
Carson Newman will need to replace four seniors next season. Guards Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.), Jai Jai McLaughlin (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Kianna Sedlacek (Cardington, Ohio) and forward Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) will graduate.
"We knew we needed to go get some guard play and get some shooters," Mincey said. "Last year we brought in Briana Smith to help offset the loss of Jai Jai [McLaughlin] this year. We wanted some more size and length."
Each of the players brings something different to the table but Mincey has high expectations for the group once they arrive on campus.
"This particular class is probably the most athletic class that we've brought in in terms of its production that has yet to be seen," Mincey said. "It's hard to get past Jai Jai and Tatum and Jecca [Simerly] and [Allison] Hodge's class was pretty strong. We expect big things when they arrive in Jefferson City next year."
Madison Brantley – 6-0 – Forward – Union, Tenn.
Brantley set a pair of milestones before her senior season even began racking up over 1,000 points and 500 blocks in her career during her junior campaign. A three-time All-District performer, Brantley has been named the PrepXtra Player of the Week on two occasions and was the PrepXtra Sophomore of the Year. As a freshman against Austin-East, Brantley tallied a triple-double with 16 points, 18 rebounds and 12 blocks.
"She is kind of being recruited to replace Taylor Peterson," Mincey said. "We don't necessarily have that player at 5'11 that can get out the perimeter and shoot three's and rebound. If she had to play the five I guess she could. Theoretically she could play the three but with the amount of guards we have she will come in and play the four. She has really long arms. I think she was No. 1 in the state in block shots. She has really good timing."
Chanler Geer – 5-10 – Forward – Knoxville, Tenn.
Geer has been a three-year varsity starter at Bearden High School while playing for the Lady Trotters run by Carson-Newman assistant coach Ashley Kyle's father. The forward has been named to the All-District, All-District Tournament and All-Region teams twice in her career. Geer helped Bearden reach the semi-finals in Class AAA hitting a buzzer beater against Jefferson County in the sectionals. In 2014, Geer was named an All-Tournament team pick at Music City Madness featuring some of the top talent in the nation. As a freshman, she helped get Bearden to its first state title appearance since 1981. Geer has also been a member of the National Honors Society for three years.
"We got on her a little late," Mincey said. "Quite honestly I didn't know we could land her. I thought the D-1's were going to get her. We end up talking. She liked Carson-Newman and obviously we liked her. A good athlete. Both of her parents were college athletes. She has the genes for it. It's a really good get for us."
Tori Griffin – 5-7 – Guard – Dandridge, Tenn.
As a junior at nearby Jefferson County High School, Griffin averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per night. Griffin was the 2-AAA Region Tournament MVP to go along with being named to the All-District team, the All-Girls Basketball team by PrepXtras and to the Land Air Classic All-Tournament team. The guard was an All-District and All-Tournament team selection as a sophomore.
"Tori Griffin from Jefferson County High School, a local product, was a kid that we had targeted after her sophomore year," Mincey said. "We didn't get the offer out until the middle of her sophomore summer. A 5'9 guard is this athletic. She can play the press really well. The one thing that I really like is that she is a sharpshooter. I tell her all the time that she has been recruited to fill Tatum's shoes and I hope she will be able to do that."
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