Nov. 14, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State women’s basketball head coach Kellie Harper announced her recruiting class on Thursday during the November early signing period.
Harper received signed National Letters of Intent from Ashley Eli (Mansfield, Texas/Summit HS) and junior-college transfer Markeisha Gatling (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive HS/Gulf Coast CC)
Eli is a 5-11 wing who ranks No. 50 overall in her class by Blue Star Basketball, and No. 24 at her wing position according to ESPN HoopGurlz. The four-star recruit averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.6 steals at Summit High during her junior season.
She helped lead Summit to a 32-7 record and a spot in the Class 4A Region I semifinals last season. She earned offensive MVP honors in the district and was named all-region by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
Eli was the sixth man on Summit’s state championship team her freshman season.
“Ashley Eli is a winner,” said Harper. “She understands the game and will be able to give us some versatility. Although she will be a wing for us, she has had experience at multiple positions.
“She is a crafty and a hard-nosed defender. All of which make her a perfect fit for our system and my style of play.”
Eli is the fifth player from the state of Texas to sign with the Wolfpack in Harper’s three recruiting classes, and will be the sixth player to join the program from the state when you add in transfer Len’Nique Brown, who will sit out this season after playing at Southern California last year.
“She’s a great team player who is a very heady, smart basketball player, who understands the game very well,” said Summit head coach Tammy Lusinger. “She really maximizes her abilities through hard work.”
The 6-5 Gatling, considered to be the No. 1 post player in junior college right now, will have two years of eligibility remaining when she arrives on campus at NC State.
She joins current sophomore Breezy Williams from Durham as the second player from the Triangle to sign with the Wolfpack under the watch of Harper in the last three years.
After a standout prep career at Athens Drive that saw her compile 1,273 career points and set a North Carolina High School Athletic Association single-season record with a field-goal percentage of 74.1 percent, Gatling went on to play at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla.
She averaged 4.2 points per game in 23 games off the bench for Gulf Coast as a freshman last season. She was efficient from the field, shooting 60.6 (43-of-71) and 73.3 percent from the free-throw line.
“Keisha Gatling has the ability to be one of the best post players in the conference,” said Harper. “With great size and mobility she brings an added dimension to our inside game.
“She has incredible hands and tremendous scoring ability on the block. Plus she is a Raleigh native which makes her signing with NC State that much sweeter.”
Last year she played behind an All-American and another veteran post player from the 2010 national championship team. She is expected to be a critical piece to the Lady Commodores success in 2011-12.
“She has great hands and a great body, athletic, and she just has to be more aggressive,” said Gulf Coast head coach Mary Scoval. “She’s pretty good at the line and she is going to get fouled a bunch.
“In the halfcourt game, she can be unstoppable.”
Gatling was ranked No. 88 in the country by Blue Star Basketball when she came out of Athens Drive. She was also ranked the 20th best post player in the country according to Girls Basketball Report.
What others are saying about NC State’s Signees:
Dan Olson, Girls Basketball Report
On Markeisha Gatling: She has the physical makeup of a next level basketball player. Has a soft touch and a lot of athleticism for a player of her size. I believe her potential is off the charts and with another year working with a Hall of Fame junior college coach she will only become more polished.
On Ashley Eli: An athletic, long, rangy kid. She can score it from deep, and off the dribble. Probably players her best basketball in an up tempo style. Her length and size on the perimeter will help the team immediately when she sets foot on campus.
Bret McCormick, All Star Girls Report
On Markeisha Gatling: This is a great pickup for the Wolfpack. She is a legitimate post that you can throw the ball into and she will score! Not only is she local, but for a third-straight season this class is weak across the board when it comes to post players. Markeisha is certainly one of the top players at her position in this signing class.
On Ashley Eli: An athletic kid with a great body. She does all the little things with a blue collar mentality. She will be able to guard the athleticism you see out on the wing throughout the ACC.
Kevin Lynch, Blue Star Report
On Markeisha Gatling: A 6-4 center who will battle you inside. She has good hands and finishes well with contact. She is a big strong physical player who likes to bang. Markeisha was rated #88 by the Blue Star Report in 2010, and is ready to have a big year for Gulf Coast CC.
On Ashley Eli: A 5-10 guard who does everything well. Eli was a major contribitor for the top AAU program in the country last year DFW-T Jack Elite. Ashley plays with a passion, has a good mid-range game, and is a defensive stopper. She often guarded the oppositions top wing player and most ofter shut them down. She also displayed leadership skills in helping her Club team win both the Boo Williams Invitational and Nike Nationals. Eli is rated at a top-50 prospect in the 2012 class by the Blue Star Report.