Nov. 10, 2010
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team has added a dynamic duo, beginning in the 2011-12 season, with the signing of Tjasa “TJ” Gortnar and Sydney Wallace, announced today by head coach MaChelle Joseph.
Gortnar, ranked 10th nationally by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, is a 6’2″ power forward from Kranj, Slovenia, and Wallace, ranked 22nd by Blue Star Basketball, is a 5’10” combo guard from Duluth, Ga.
“We are very excited about this recruiting class,” Joseph said. “Both TJ and Sydney are tremendous student-athletes that will be impact players at the next level.”
Gortnar adds to a Yellow Jacket squad that is already deep in international flavor and experience. As a member of the 2009 Slovenian U18 European Championship team that finished second, Gortnar averaged 12.1 ppg, 12.6 rpg and 1.4 apg. Her rebound averaged led all competitors, as did her 86.0 percent conversion rate from the charity stripe. She helped Slovenia reach the finals with 22 rebounds in a 67-61 comeback win over host Israel in the semifinal.
“TJ is an elite player and had a great summer playing for the Slovenian national team in the U18 European Championships,” Joseph said. “She is a very physical post presence on both ends. She led her Slovenian team in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. I am looking forward to having TJ as a part of our program at Georgia Tech.”
At the 2010 U18 European Championship, she finished fifth among all players with 16.5 ppg, to go with 7.0 rpg, helping her team advance to the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships to be held in Chile.
While Joseph and her staff had to go half way around the world to find Gortnar, they just had to go down the road to find Wallace, who attended Northview High School in Johns Creek, Ga. She has led her high school squad in assists and steals her first three years on the hardwood and was named the team’s best offensive player as a sophomore and junior. Twice Wallace has set the single-game scoring record, once, with 36 points, as a sophomore and once, with 37 points, as a junior. Wallace has seen her scoring average increase each season, from 10.0 ppg as a freshman to 18.5 ppg in her second season to 24.0 ppg as a junior on her way to becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,354 points.
“Sydney is the premier combo guard in the State of Georgia in this class and one of the top combo guards in the country,” Joseph said. “She had a great summer playing for FBC Southeast and performed well against the best players in the nation.”
Wallace earned first team all-region and team MVP honors in both 2008-09 and 2009-10. In her junior season, she played in the Georgia North-South Junior All-Star Game and earned All-Metro Team honors from the Atlanta Tipoff Club in 2010.
Collegiate Girls Basketball Report has the Yellow Jacket class ranked 11th nationally and second in the ACC, behind only Duke. The Blue Devils also hold the top national rank.
What they’re saying:
Toni Gore, FBC Southeast Head Coach, on Sydney Wallace:
“Sydney is a difference maker. She is athletic, skilled and competitive. These are the attributes that will make her a great player at the collegiate level. She has an unbelievable amount of potential. She is a great talent, but more important a great person. Congratulations to coach Joseph and her staff, Sydney is going to be a joy to coach. They couldn’t have chosen a better kid to represent Georgia Tech and the women’s basketball program.”
Daniel Prince, PassionHoopsInternational.com, on TJ Gortnar:
“TJ is a remarkable player that will bring a high level of power and finesse to the already talented Georgia Tech team. She is one of Europe’s main guns from her days in the U16 and U18 FIBA European Championships. Gortnar will broaden her horizons and bring a unique threat to all ACC opponents. TJ is a scorer, a passer and rebounder in the truest sense of the word. I have been able to watch her literally power, dismantle and finesse her opponents for the past two plus years. TJ is a hard nose player who will lay it on the line. She won’t just rely on her high fundamental skills to get the job done. She doesn’t mind giving up her body on one end, and then making a Manu Ginobili or Dirk Nowitzki move on the other. She can pull the trigger from three or take it off the dribble for the mid-range; Gortnar will post and gain respect on the block as well. Her potential is unlimited. At 6’2” Coach Joseph will have the pleasure of creating havoc with Gortnar on the floor. Tjasa “TJ” Gortnar ranks easily within the top 20 players of the 2011 class. Her physical ability along with her excellent knowledge of the game powers her high into the 2011 class ranks.”
Daniel Olson, Collegiate Girls Basketball Report:
“Georgia Tech has yet another significant recruiting class, going abroad to find Tjasa, who should have an impact as a rookie in the ACC. Gortnar brings a tenacity to the key with consistent scoring, while being a defensive presence as well. Wallace will push for quality minutes too as a freshman. Coach Joseph has landed two Top-50 prospects.”
— RamblinWreck.com —