July 18, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College women’s basketball team is now a bigger, stronger and more physical ballclub with the recent announced signing of recruits, Deje Mooney and Darnisha “DJ” Jones from Chicago Simeon High School, and Gabrielle Sanders of Homewood Flossmoor High School in Chicago.
 

Mooney is a 5-foot-9 forward. Jones is a 6-foot-5 center and Sanders is a 6-foot-2 forward/center.

Mooney averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game her senior year, according to her high school coach, Melvin Dillard. She twice was selected to the Windy City South All-Conference team and made All-City last season.

“I’m really excited about playing at the next level,” Mooney said. “I’m looking forward to meeting all my teammates and doing what I can to help the team win.”

Jones is a bit of an unusual case, Dillard said, as she missed both her junior and senior seasons for medical reasons. She did play varsity ball, however, as a sophomore, averaging four points and 10 rebounds per game.

“I think both of these girls will help out John A. Logan College,” Dillard said. “They are both good kids who work hard and are very coachable.  I think their best basketball is ahead of them.”

Jones said she feels comfortable playing with her back to the basket or facing it.

“I expect I would probably play center, but I could play forward, as well,” she said. “I like taking the ball to the basket. I’m really excited about the opportunity to play college ball.”

Sanders was a two-year varsity starter at Flossmoor. She mostly played in the post at the prep level.

“I’ve dreamed about playing college ball since I was little,” Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and am hopeful I can contribute right away.”

Sanders said she enjoyed her visit to Carterville and described herself as “active” around the hoop and “a pretty good shot blocker.”

Her older sister, Wendi Walker, played ball at Chicago State University.

Logan head coach Marty Hawkins said he is happy with the signings.

“I spent quite a bit of time up in Chicago working the area,” Hawkins said. “I believe each of these players brings something different to the floor and I expect each to make contributions right away. Deje has a nice, soft shot and can play inside or out. Darnisha is a big, strong kid who should help us a lot underneath the basket and Gabby is real athletic, a leaper who can also play inside or out.”

Hawkins said he has now signed three perimeter players and four post players with a handful of openings remaining.

“This is a very active time of the year in terms of recruiting,” he said. “I still have a couple of prospects I’ve been communicating with, and you never know who may become available late in the summer due to a coaching change or whatever. I think the seven recruits we have signed are quality players. We’ll be inexperienced, yet talented.”