In only his second year as the Lipscomb women’s basketball head coach, Greg Brown has reeled in the No. 88 recruiting class for 2014 according to All Star Girls Report. It is the highest ranked class in school history.
“This is a unique class and they are going to be a fun group to coach,” Brown said. “Everyone bought in very early and believed in what we are doing here at Lipscomb.
“They came to us based on what they could bring and where they saw our program heading. It shows a lot about the vision they had for us. The most important thing to us is not where they come into the program, but where they leave at on and off the court.”
Brown signed a big class with seven players. The prized recruit is Chandler Cooper, a transfer from Florida. ASGR ranks her as the 87th best player in the country. Four of the seven rank inside the top 600 nationally.
Danay Fothergill, a transfer from Western Kentucky, ranks No. 459. Guards, Kennedy Potts and Emily Eubank, rank 563 and 573. The other members of the class are 5-9 guard Loren Cagle, 6-1 forward Amber Fuqua and 6-2 center Riley Northway.
Many of the top programs do not have to work as hard to pull in the top classes each year, but the lower level schools do. They have to work that much harder and in order to pull in a top 100 class you must have a top-notch staff. Coach Brown believes he has that at Lipscomb and that combination of staff and players cannot be matched anywhere in the country.
“Our staff worked very hard on this recruiting class,” Brown said. “It is all about relationships. Coach (Pat) Summit always said ‘at the end of the day when all things are equal, go with the people’. That is certainly what we sell here at Lipscomb.
“We are always trying to sell our campus and community and we truly believe it is the best in the country, but it all comes down to the people here at Lipscomb. Our players did a great job of recruiting and being themselves.”
Momentum is key when trying to sustain and improve upon success of a program. To garner any kind of respect you must build and improve on the year before and continue the climb to the top. Brown believes that is what he is building at Lipscomb and it will continue to battle the top-ranked teams for the best players in the country.
“You always set your sights high and we are never going to limit ourselves at not being the best,” Brown said. “We think we are a unique opportunity for kids to come to. We have a unique culture, unique environment, a great city and a great campus. We will continue to search out for the best players in the country. This is just the first step to getting to where we want to be.”
When a coach is hired at a school, most say it takes three or four years to get his kind of players that will fit in a his system. Brown does not believe he fits that mold and every player signs with Lipscomb better be ready to play from the start.
“I am not patient enough for that. We want to find players right away to who buy into what we are doing and also to buy into the campus and culture within the team here at Lipscomb,” Brown said. “Though you are never ahead of the game in recruiting, we feel as though we are right on pace. This class right here definitely sets the bar for upcoming classes.
“We recruit people to play right away and we think it will be a great challenge in practice. Each one of them will bring a unique skill set on and off the floor. They will still be freshmen, but there will be opportunities there for each one of them to come in and contribute right away. “
Coach Brown spoke about each player in his class.
“Loren Cagle is a local player. She is fast and quick with her game. She can shoot and handle the ball very well and will be able to do a lot of things for us. She understands probably better than anyone else the culture here on campus being a product of this area.”
Cagle played at Lipscomb Academy where she broke the 1,000 point barrier in her junior season. In her junior season, Cagle earned All-Region after being selected as All-District twice.
“Riley Northway brings size and skill. She has a tremendous amount of passion and enthusiasm.”
Northway played at Brewer High School in Somerville, Ala. In three years she averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. ESPN High School ranked Northway as the No. 49 forward in the country.
“Kennedy Potts continues to develop and grow. She is a long, athletic kid that can shoot the ball. She is another local player and with her parents attending Lipscomb, understands what we are looking for community wise.”
Potts averaged 15 points and five assists per game for Harpeth Hall School in Nashville. She is a two-time All-Region performer as a sophomore and junior.
“I have seen Emily Eubank play for a very long time and she was one of the first ones we offered when I got here. She is a long point guard and had very successful high school and AAU teams. She comes in with a good skill level and high level of competition throughout her career.”
Eubank is a four-year starter for Murfreesboro Oakland High School and averaged 10.2 points per game as a junior. She is a two-time All-Region and All-District team member as a sophomore and junior.
“Amber Fuqua is a talented kid from just outside of Nashville. She brings length and athleticism and a lot of desire. She is very hungry to prove herself.”
Fuqua was an All-Tournament and All-District team member in both 2012-2013 and 2011-2012 for Sycamore High School. She is averaging 11 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists and 2.5 steals per game
Bret McCormick of ASGR had this to say about Lipscomb’s 2014 class:
“I think this was a huge class for Greg Brown at Lipscomb. This is a program changer,” said ASGR analyst Bret McCormick. “The big get is Chandler Cooper, who is a transfer from Florida. She is a great shooter and a great scorer, and I think she will immediately step into the starting lineup. In addition to Cooper, they added a deep, talented group of freshmen that should make this a program on the rise.
“Kennedy is a smart player with a lot of skills and versatility. Emily has a good feel for the game, she plays hard, and she can hit the three. Loren is another backcourt player with fundamentals and a high basketball IQ. Amber is a wing with good size. She can put the ball on the floor, and her range extends out to the arc. Riley is a post player who can score inside, and she also has the ability to face up and score.”