Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 newbies who intrigue us

It's a new year in women's basketball, and we're intrigued by a couple of new kids on rosters in the Commonwealth. Will these be the best newbies in our state? We can't say, but we can say each is intriguing for her own reason.

1. Uju Ugoka, Virginia Tech
She intrigues us why? In three words: Tennessee wanted her. But the four more important words: Virginia Tech got her. The Nigerian, who picked up the game just four years ago, was an NJCAA All-American as a freshman and a finalist for the WBCA's national player of the year award for JUCOs and community colleges. The bummer: Ugoka will miss a maximum of nine games due to minor violations of amateurism, an issue that occurred before she arrived in Blackburg. That means she could be a nonfactor during the nonconference season, but we like what Ugoka could deliver come ACC time.

2. Kyndal Skersick, Longwood
How tired does this woman get of spelling her first and last names? We hope the Lancers plan to get the 5-9 guard from Boone High in Orlando, Fla., involved in their passing game, because boy, can she catch. Honored on the All-Central Florida Girls Flag Football Team her senior year, Skersick hauled in 58 receptions for more than 1,200 yards with 14 TDs. (She also picked off six passes.) She's one of seven frosh on a Longwood team excited to be in the Big South, and we bet the ball will be in good hands when it's in hers. Her lineage, by the way, is impressive and in a word, "intriguing." Her uncle Harry (Lozon) played for Sonny Allen at ODU and graduated in 1970, shooting a school-record .607. His nickname was "Mad Dog" and Allen dubbed him "the most consistent player I've ever coached." We're hoping for similar college success for Skersick.

3. Sarah Imovbioh, Virginia

Another Nigerian, Imovbioh has been in our thoughts for a good while as we had hoped to see her playing for the Cavaliers last season. But an eligibility issue due to transcript issues delayed a much anticipated start, but finally the day has come. In the final game of her high school season, the 6-2 forward scored 53 of her team's 60 points. At. St. Anne's-Belfield in Charlottesville, Imovbioh averaged 29.9 ppg and 22.6 rpg (as a junior, 32.2 ppg). She's raw (we know it's not high school) and like Ugoka, new to the game, preferring soccer until six years ago. But we think she'll start out as a rebounding machine and wind up as a scoring one.

4. Angela Mickens, James Madison
Kenny Brooks snagged another quality recruit when the Dukes signed Mickens, the three-time Region III Player of the Year from Robert E. Lee High in Staunton where her jersey is retired. She did not play in preseason due to a hand injury and is listed as "unavailable due to injury" for JMU's season opener on Friday at Virginia.  But we like how a healthy Mickens could bolster a JMU team that has the defense part down but needs the offensive consistency to make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Pairing Mickens with Tarik Hislop in the backcourt could mean the Dukes win a little less ugly than last year.

5. Shae Kelley, Old Dominion
Ms. Colorado Basketball has the potential to lead an ODU team full of guards but in need of some size. Kelley, who played in one exhibition before leaving Colorado and later transferring to Northwest Florida State College, is our prediction as the Lady Monarchs' go-to. The junior college All-American and Lady Monarch team captain has an up side that could make her a double-double waiting to happen every night. We expect big things.

We miss anyone? Sure we did, as the state is loaded with talented newcomers. Tell us who intrigues you!


  1. I think people better watch out for Kyndal. As the wife of Harry (Mad Dog Lozon), she is wreckless. Her passing and shooting are unbelievable. Have gone to as many HS games as we possibly could and will follow her at Longwood. She is unbelievable from the 3 pointers from the corner calling them her (Uncle Harry shots, as they were his shots in college) and she is not a "ball hog", she watches for a play and passes, to hopefully turn it into points. She is definatly one to watch and you can bet she is going to be dynamite!!! Hope coach is VERY WELL PLEASED WITH HER!!!! "Mad Dog" will be in the stands some games yelling her on. Her VERY proud Aunt and Uncle (mad dog)

  2. Thanks for sharing. We'll be following Kyndal and the Lancers!