BASKETBALL: Topper, Lady Topper recruiting notes

Head Coach Ken McDonald turned heads at Thursday night’s awards banquet when he said he expects to see eight fresh faces on the court for Western next season.

McDonald will already add Juan Patillo and Teeng Akol, transfers who are currently sitting out the NCAA’s required one year. Western also signed a pair of junior college guards — Ken Brown and Kahlil McDonald — last week as part of the NCAA’s Regular Signing Period. Those four add on to Stephon Drane, Kene Anyigbo and Brandon Peters, who each signed last November.

But who’s No. 8?

“You never know — you media guys always want to know the ins and outs,” McDonald said. “Stay tuned.”

McDonald pointed out that although the Regular Signing Period ends May 19, recruiting season never truly stops throughout the summer. Case in point: McDonald signed freshman guard Jamal Crook very late in the game before the 2009-2010 season.

Meanwhile, Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said her lucky number is 13 — the number of scholarships she’s seeking to fill for her Lady Topper team next season.

After learning senior forward Arnika Brown will be granted another scholarship, Cowles now sits at 11 scholarships. Mercy Academy (Louisville) guards Therese Montano and Ellen Sholtes were both in attendence at Thursday’s banquet.

“We’re very hopeful in this late signing that we can add one or two more to our roster,” Cowles said. “Some people talk about the No. 13 — I think it can be really lucky, so we’re going to put all those efforts together late in this signing and hopefully have really good news and then just get ourselves refocused and ready for the fall.”

Montano is currently committed to Bellarmine University but told the Herald on Monday she’s starting to consider signing with Western.

Brown’s paperwork almost done

Cowles said she expects to have no problems in finishing senior forward Arnika Brown’s paperwork, which will grant her an official release from her scholarship at Kentucky.

“I think when we talk about paperwork at this point, I think it’s more of the formality of they need to sign here and she needs to sign here, and then it needs to get submitted to the NCAA office,” Cowles said.

Cowles said conversations to give Brown another year at Western were done exclusively through Athletics Director Wood Selig — who said his last day at Western will be May 5 — and Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.

“Just a big thank you to Kentucky for taking that stand and allowing Arnika to have that opportunity,” Cowles said.

Jonathan Lintner

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Filed under Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball

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