TSU signed Kayla West, a 5-foot-4 point guard from North Augusta, S.C., Morgan Simmons, a 6-1 forward from Austin, Texas, Ginnesica Lawler, a 6-2 center from Southfield, Mich., Janelle McQueen, a 5-9 guard/forward from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Adijatu Disu, a 5-10 forward from Chicago, and Tineka Lawson, a 6-2 forward/center from Houston.
“As a whole, we’re very athletic,” Texas Southern associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Darren Brunson said. “We were trying to get more athletic overall, and we’ve done that. We were trying to get quicker overall, and we’ve done that.”
Texas Southern’s coaching staff is excited about the addition of West, which fills a void for a true point guard.
“A true point guard is like having a quarterback out there,” Tigers head coach Yolanda Wells-Broughton said. “She’s going to have an immediate impact on our team. She’s going to see the floor immediately.”
Lawson and Lawler add more size and options on the low block as does Simmons. McQueen provides a capable scorer, and Disu is an athletic power forward.
“Our post presence with Tineka and Ginessica, both of them are going to be able to come in and give us a presence. As will Morgan,” Wells-Broughton said. “Janelle McQueen is going to come in and give us scoring. Disu is going to be a big-time defender and rebounder. They call her ‘The Eraser.’ She just plays above the rim.”
Disu plays on a Whitney Young High School team with five NCAA Division I-bound players. Simmons is surrounded by three other Division I players on her Austin-based prep team. West also currently plays with elite college-bound teammates.
“Kayla has very nice handles, shoots the ball very well and can defend,” Brunson said. “She has deep range. Disu, she’s very athletic, and had quite a few other people looking at her.”
McQueen and Disu are presidential academic scholars at their respective current schools.
“Texas Southern is a university of academic excellence,” Wells-Broughton said. “We’re changing our philosophy, knowing that the student-athletes who’ve established themselves in the classroom … we know we’re going to get the same level of consistency on and off the court.
“More importantly, this class is one of character. We all know that talent alone is not enough.”
“You’ve got to be real excited when you can sign six quality kids in the early signing period,” Brunson said. “All of them come from solid family backgrounds. I think that’s what you’re looking for. They’re all committed to compete.”