After an up and down season during the 2016-17 season, coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener will have a chance to reset everything at the start of the 2017-18 season. Not only will it be a new season, but the team will look at lot different. The Panthers lost nine players from last years team and two coaches. There were five seniors on the team who all graduated and won’t return along with four other players. Kennesha Nichols, Makeba Ponder, Astaja Tyghter and Jaylyn Harrison wont be back with the team next season. And assistant coaches Erin Bathe and LaTrica Trammell. Bathe is now coaching at Liberty University and Trammell is now an assistant coach with the San Antonio Stars.
The Panthers have added six new players to the roster along with two new coaches. Shay Fluker, Juliet James, Jasmine Murphy and Walnaita Wright all come to Georgia State via transfer. Rakeah Williams, and Deja Mitchell signed to their National Letters of Intent to attend Georgia State back in the fall.
Fluker was rated as one of the best JUCO transfers in the nation last year She last played at Walters State Community College. During her one season at Walters, she broke the single-season scoring record, which had previously stood for 31 years. Fluker finished the season with 614 points while averaging 19 points per game. Fluker was named a second team All-American by the NJCAA. She was also named the TCCAA player of the year.
“Shay Fluker is a great sized guard that can shoot the 3, drive and plays a very physical game,” Baldwin-Tener said.
James come to Georgia State after playing last season at Northwest Tech Community College. James is originally from Nigeria. She moved to America in 2013 and enrolled at Paterson Eastside in New Jersey. During her first season, James averaged 15 points per game and 9 rebounds per game. In her second season she averaged 11.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. She was ranked the No.1 rebounder in her region.
“Juliet is a great addition with her ability to rebound the ball. She is a competitor that will give us skill and be a physical prescience for us,” Baldwin-Tener said.
Murphy is a native of McDonough, Ga where she attended Dutchtown High School. Murphy played at Tallahassee Community College. During her career she averaged 9.3 points per game.
“Janessa helps give us another guard that is good at an up-tempo style of play,” Baldwin-Tener said.
Wright is a transfer student from Texas A&M. She is a native of Augusta, Ga. Wright player her high school ball at Laney and after high school she went to play at Midland Junior College. During her freshman season she averaged 9.7 points and 7.7 rebounds. In her sophomore season, she nearly doubled her scoring average with 17.6 points per game. Shen then went on to play at Texas A&M, where she appeared in 26 games for the Aggies. She will have to sit out one year due to NCAA transfer rules.
“Walnatia has to sit out this year after transferring but will help us in practice and be able to boost our post play the following season,” Baldwin-Tener said.
Williams comes to Georgia State from Westlake high School where she made she made several All-State teams. Before she played at Westlake she played at Arlington Christian.
Mitchell attended Duluth High School. During her career she averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Panthers have been working hard during the offseason to improve on last year and with their new recruits they hope to have a great season next year.
“Off season have been going very well and we have gotten stronger in the weight room. It is too early to predict who will make biggest improvement for next season,”Baldwin-Tener said. “November is a long way off and we just continue to get better every day.”