Nov. 13, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant announced today the signing of Kelsey Smith and Jasmine Thomas to National Letters of Intent. Smith (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), and Thomas (Flint, Mich./ Flint Hamady) will be eligible to join the Spartans for the 2009-10 season.
"We are excited to have both Kelsey and Jasmine join the Spartan family," said Merchant. "Both student-athletes will be major factors in the development of the Michigan State women's basketball program."
Smith, a 6-5 center, is one of the top high school post players in the country. She is currently ranked among the nation's top 100 senior prospects by three national recruiting outlets - 54th by Blue Star Report, 67th by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and 89th by Hoopgurlz. Among senior centers, Collegiate Girls Basketball Report also has her as the No. 20 in the nation, while Hoopgurlz ranks her at No. 22. A starter at St. Charles North High School for head coach Katie Sauber since her freshman season, Smith led the North Stars to a 23-6 record, and their first regional and sectional titles. She averaged 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game as a junior, while shooting 62.4 percent from the field. Her play earned her honorable mention All-America honors by Street & Smith's, and all-state accolades from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA), the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. In addition, she was the 2008 Republican Girls Basketball Player of the Year. As a sophomore, Smith posted 14.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, again earning honorable mention All-America honors from Street & Smith's and IBCA all-state kudos. Smith played AAU basketball for Derril Kipp's Illinois Hustle and participated in the Nike Regional Skills Academy during the last two summers. A two-sport star, she also played volleyball at St. Charles North. Smith also excels off the court, having the second best grade point average in her class of 531 and has been accepted into the MSU Honors College.
"Kelsey has the skill set that will allow her to contribute right away in our system," said Merchant. " She is physical, powerful and loves contact, yet can run the floor extremely well and has tremendous hands. We look forward to having her toughness inside, as she possess that hard-nosed, blue collar work ethic that you love to have in a Spartan uniform."
Thomas is a standout multi-sport athlete at Flint Hamady High School. A 5-8 guard for head coach Keith Smith, she led the team in assists and steals as a junior, averaging 9.7 points, 5.8 assists, 5.5 steals and 4.1 rebounds, while shooting 47 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line. Thomas earned Genesee Area Conference (GAC) honorable mention honors as a junior, in addition to being the team's most improved player as a sophomore, helping Flint Hamady to the Class C State finals. An honor roll student and recipient of numerous academic awards, Thomas achieved the best grade point average on her team the last two years. Thomas also lettered in volleyball and track during her first three high school years. She earned all-state recognition in track each year, including winning the state high jump championship as a junior with a new Division 3 record of 5-6 3/10.
"Jasmine brings quickness and athleticism that will make an immediate impact on both ends of the floor," said Merchant. "She has the ability to get after the ball for 94-feet and can create tempo for us on the offensive end. We love her speed and scoring mentality coming off the high ball screen as well as her ability to be a play maker. Her versatility to play the point guard and off guard positions will add depth to our back court next season."