Wes Moore looked a couple of years down the road when it came to recruiting players for the upcoming University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball freshman class.
There are six juniors on UTC's roster this season and Moore received five signed national letters of intent Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, and is expecting one more this week.
"We're losing six seniors a year from now and rather than have to count on freshmen to come in and carry the load completely, we're trying to get a nucleus in here that can get a year under their belt," Moore said. "Plus, I just think competition is good for everybody."
The Lady Mocs signed two guards: Moses Johnson of Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy (Ga.) and Whitney Hartlage of Mercy Academy (Ky.); two forwards: Aryanna Gilbert of Columbia Central (Tenn.) High School and Jasmine Joyner of Southaven (Miss.) High School; and center Ansley Chilton of Dade County (Ga.) High School.
UTC also has a commitment from Chelsey Shumpert of Paducah Tilghman (Ky.) High School, a high-scoring point guard that averaged 25.4 points per game last season.
In describing his signees, Moore used the word "athletic" quite often. He said UTC needed to get more athletic to get back to the top of the Southern Conference -- but you also need more than just athletes.
"I do think we're conscious of trying to be more athletic, but at the same time I think you've got to have a good mix," he said. "You've got to make sure you also have a skill set with people that can put the ball in the hole."
Shulman signs a forward
UTC men's basketball coach John Shulman received paperwork from 6-10 post player Christian Kennedy of Warner Robins, Ga. He is the No. 15 prospect in Georgia, according to 247Sports.com, and a top 60 power forward in the nation.
"He doesn't have the strength to be a true back-to-basket player, but he can score in transition and he can guard a 5," Shulman said. "He's long and athletic and he's got great size which is what we need inside. He can block a shot.
Kennedy chose UTC over Jacksonville after an early offer from Auburn.
"He's just got to get bigger," Shulman said. "He needs to work on eating."
Locals join softball squad
Heritage High School teammates Jesslyn Stockard and Savannah Goldsmith signed on Wednesday to play for the Lady Mocs next August.
"We are excited about getting some local talent back in the school," coach Frank Reed said. "They bring a lot of experience and they are used to playing a tough schedule. They both have a great mental knack for the game."
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...