The GPRC women’s basketball team recently signed two players to letters of commitment for the upcoming hoops season.
With all the recruiting mileage Wolves head coach Mandy Botham has logged under her wheels, her two new prospects are from the north half of the province, with one no more than a brisk jog away.
The team recently signed St. Joseph Catholic High School point guard Carly Rombs and La Crete guard Heidi Derkson.
The 18-year-old Rombs will be looked upon to help fill the void left from the great graduation purge that saw three guards gone from last seasons roster, as Keitlyn Williams, along with top scorers Jordan and Sydney Andres, left for academic pursuits.
The Wolves were last in the ACAC in point-per-game average at 55.9. Sydney Andres averaged a team-high 15 PPG while her sister Jordan was right behind, averaging over 14 PPG. Williams averaged 11.2 PPG.
Botham isn’t necessarily looking for Rombs to fill the void immediately, though it would please her to no end if Rombs actually did it, but she wants the St. Joe’s product to be part of the solution.
“She’s got some big shoes to fill and I see a lot of potential in her game,” Botham said. “She’s very coachable. She enjoys getting feedback on her game. (She also has) a relentless quality about her game. She doesn’t get fazed on the court and has the ability to handle pressure when things aren’t going her way.”
Derkson is a graduate of the La Crete Public School basketball program. The Lancers won the 2A girls provincial title earlier this year.
“I’m really excited to have her because she comes from a really solid program and she’s had excellent coaching in high school,” Botham said. “(La Crete head coach) Suzanne Fisher does a really good job. I’ve watched a lot of their games over the past season and she runs a good basketball program.
“(Derkson) is fearless,” Botham added. “She can shoot, she can drive the hoop and she’s a natural scorer. I like her tenacity on defence. From what I’ve witnessed, and speaking with her coach, she is a tremendous leader.”
Botham has a lot of respect for the way Fisher runs the Lancers program. Derkson is her first Lancers recruit and, who knows?, there may be more in the future. The coach just likes the way the players go about their business on the hard court.
“They have a high basketball IQ and solid fundamentals,” Botham said. “They’re really competitive and they hate to lose, which is something we need in this program.”
Towards the tail end of last calendar year Botham signed Charles Spencer High School guard/forward Sophie Leslie and point guard Kaylee Ruecker from Worsley Central School, bringing the total number of confirmed roster spots to six for next season.
“I (would still) like to add two or three more (players to the roster),” Botham said,
The soon to be second year coach has had plenty of opportunities to sign two or three more players but she’s holding out for something special, though she really didn’t seem all that keen to discuss the specifics of it, at least, not right away.
“I’m actively recruiting right now but I’m looking for a really specific skill set and I haven’t found the right match yet,” Botham said.
For now, the endless recruiting beat will drag on until the coach gets what she wants to round out her soon to be young roster.
“Recruiting is taking up a big chunk of my time right now,” Botham said. “If I had to guess (how much time I spend recruiting in a week, I would say) 12 to 15 hours. I’ve been to Edmonton and B.C twice. in the last month.”