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Mittie turns to JUCOs to bolster roster

By Joshua Kinder

New Kansas State women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie has been busy since taking over the program in March.

In addition to finalizing his coaching staff — which includes former Wildcat Claire Coggins — Mittie has been on the recruiting trail locking up the services of two players for next year and another for 2016.

Looking for immediate help, the former TCU coach has signed a pair of junior college guards — 5-foot-7 point guard Antoinette Taylor from State Fair (Sedalia, Mo.) Community College and 5-9 guard Deborah Meeks from Trinity Valley (Athens, Texas) Community College.

Taylor and Meeks will join a pair of incoming freshmen guards that were signed during the fall signing period — Salina Central’s Shaelyn Martin and Overland Park’s Lauren Mertz.

Mittie also secured a commitment for the 2016 class in Wichita South’s 6-3 forward Kendrian Elliott, a three-star prospect by ESPN’s HoopGurlz.

Taylor — originally from Gary, Ind. — will join the Wildcats after averaging more than 15 points, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals a game for State Fair as a sophomore. The NJCAA First-Team All-American was also considering Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Arkansas, TCU and Florida A&M.

“Antoinette is a combo guard with excellent speed and we like her ability to slash to the rim,” Mittie said in a release issued Tuesday afternoon. “We feel like we need to continue to add players that can make plays in the open floor and can add some offense for us.”

The decision to sign Taylor comes on the heels of the Wildcats losing All-Big 12 freshman point guard Leti Romero, who has sought a release following the dismissal of former head coach Deb Patterson in early March. Romero led the Wildcats in points (14.2), rebounds (5.8), assists (5.0) and steals (1.9) per game this past season.

“I looked around at who needed a point guard,” Taylor told the Post-Tribune in Chicago. “I wanted to go somewhere I could play right away, and they needed me.

“(Mittie) basically told me they needed a point guard who could come in a play big minutes. With two years under my belt, he thought I could play a big role and really the team out.”

Meeks — a signing yet to be announced by K-State — will join the Wildcats after helping Trinity Valley win its third straight NJCAA national title with a 36-1 record. The Benton Harbor, Mich., native averaged 9.6 points and 2.7 rebounds a game as a sophomore. Meeks began her career at Washington where she played in two games during the 2011-12 season after returning from a knee injury. She redshirted at Washington as a freshman after tearing an ACL during her senior of high school.

Elliott, who helped Wichita South win its second straight Class 6A state title, committed to the Wildcats last week after averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game as a sophomore for the Titans.

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