Nov. 11, 2004
ATLANTA – Three high school women’s basketball standouts have signed letters of intent to play at Georgia Tech beginning in the 2005-06 season, Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph announced Thursday afternoon.
Joining the Yellow Jacket program are 5-11 April Phillips of Long Beach, Calif., 6-1 Miami, Fla. native Tabitha Turner, and 5-7 Jacqua Williams from Seattle, Wash.
“I think that Art PreVost, our recruiting coordinator, and Sytia Messer, our other recruiter, did a great job going out and finding not only great athletes, but great students as well,” said Joseph. “These three players are an ideal fit for Georgia Tech, both academically and athletically. Two of the three have two of the highest SAT scores that we’ve signed at Georgia Tech, and the fact that they fit our needs perfectly is just compliment to my assistants that they understand what it takes to be successful at Georgia Tech.”
Phillips, a wing/small forward from Long Beach Polytechnic in Long Beach, is a two-time Nike All-American that has also been named Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-America on a pair of occasions. She is currently ranked 35th nationally by All Star Girls Report and is No. 6 in the country at her position. A member of the USA Developmental Hoop Festival Champion Team in 2004, Phillips was named to the Press Telegram Dream Team and All Moore League in 2004 while earning MVP honors at the Tennessee River City Classic and being named the Best All-Around Player at her high school. She led her prep team to the Moore League Championship during her junior year and helped Long Beach Poly to runner-up honors in the region championship. Phillips also excelled at track and field, finishing fourth in the state in shot put last season year while leading her prep team to the state championship. Recruited primarily as a three-guard, Phillips chose Georgia Tech over Kansas, USC and Santa Barbara.
“Heading into this season, the goal for this season was to find a point, a wing player, and a post, and we knew that we had to find an elite player that could score from everywhere,” Joseph said. “Really, we were looking for a combination player and April Phillips is exactly what we needed in that position. She is a go-to player, an impact player, and ranked as one of the top 35 players in the country. I would put her up against anybody though, and her size and strength at the wing position is unbelievable. She can play three positions on the floor and she brings a tremendous amount of versatility, but the thing she does best is score, and that’s what we needed at that position.”
“The fact that we’re not going to lose anybody meant that we were very selective in which players we were going to recruit this year and she was one of the elite players that we wanted to bring in. We wanted to bring in players that would challenge for starting positions and I really believe that April Phillips has that kind of potential. We wanted to bring someone in that had the toughness and the size to defend at that position also, and in our conference the wings are getting bigger and stronger and we were looking for someone of her caliber and were pleased to sign her.”
A 6-1 forward from Monsignor Edward Pace High, Tabitha Turner has been a part of two state championship teams in her prep career. She was named third-team All-Dade County following her junior season and the Rookie of the Year in her first year. The four-year co-captain was named one of the top female prep basketball players in the state of Florida by Breakdown Magazine and has been a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. A younger sister of Old Dominion’s Corrina Turner, she averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds per game during the 2003-04 season and chose the Yellow Jackets over Florida.
“Tabitha Turner is an outstanding student-athlete,” Joseph said. “She is a very smart player that is very competitive and plays for one of the top high school programs in the state of Florida. We went out looking for another post player, someone that could play the four or the five, but someone that was versatile enough to guard on the perimeter and also defend inside. Tabitha has that, along with a 15-foot range and the ability to score with her back to the basket, but the thing that I think separated her most from the other players that we were recruiting was her work ethic and her desire to be at Georgia Tech. Her desire to be at Tech was the thing that stood out to me all along and she was the first person in this class to commit.”
Rounding out the 2005 recruiting class is Williams, a graduate of Rainier Beach High in Seattle, Wash. A member of the 2004 News-Tribune All-State Second Team, Williams was named the Seattle Times Metro Female Athlete of the Year, a Post Intelligencer All-Star, and the League MVP following her junior year. A member of the Seattle Times All-Metro Team in 2004, Williams was placed on the all-league team in both 2003 and 2004 and has averaged 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists and five steals per game in her prep career. Williams is another two-sport star joining the Yellow Jacket program, as she ranks as one of the top 20 athletes in the nation in the 200 meters after earning the state championship in both the 100 and 200 meters and long jump during her prep career. An athlete that can play the one or two positions, Williams chose Georgia Tech over Arizona and Indiana.
“One of the things that we were looking for heading into this class was speed and quickness,” said Joseph. “One of the things that you can’t teach is speed, and from the beginning, we felt that one of our team’s weaknesses was somebody that could pick up the ball in the backcourt and defend against some of the quickest guards in the country in the ACC. I think that we definitely found that in Jacqua Williams. Another thing that she does well is she handles the ball better than a lot of females that I’ve seen. Her athleticism, her jumping ability and her quickness are just outstanding, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a female with the vertical leap that she has. The fact that she’s so quick with the ball really amazed me. We were looking for someone that could play the one-two guard, and she was exactly what we were looking for at Georgia Tech.”
Georgia Tech Women's Basketball SigneesApril Phillips, G/F, 5-11, Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Polytechnic)Tabitha Turner, F, 6-1, Miami, Fla. (Monsignor Edward Pace)Jacqua Williams, 5-6, Seattle, Wash. (Rainier Beach)