Kennedy adds three prep players to first roster

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

Putting the finishing touches on Lynn Kennedy’s first signing class, McNeese State officially announced three new players to the program Monday.

A trio of high schoolers were added to the roster, as Kaili Chamberlin, Taylor Wilkins and Mireia Yespes were inked for the fall. That still leaves the Cowgirls with one open spot, which is expected to be filled in the next day or so.

Kennedy, who was hired after last season from Portland State, is putting his touch on the roster for sure. And he is doing it with an international flavor.

After signing four transfers Friday, two of them from Europe, Kennedy went back over the Atlantic Ocean to ink Yespes of Spain. The 6-foot, 2-inch guard/forward has a solid international playing background and can play both inside and out.

Yespes had actually announced her commitment to McNeese last week on twitter.

“She is a very talented player who can do a lot of things on the floor,” said Kennedy. “She will give us length and versatility.”

Yespes joins Christina Gil and Suzanne Kulinska, a pair of transfers, with ties to Europe. Gil is from Barcelona, Spain by way of Boise State while Kulinska, a Colorado transfer, is originally from Gdynia, Poland.

Kennedy went back to his most recent home state of Oregon to add Chamberlin to the mix. The South Medford High School 6-A All-Stater has a good shooting touch from long range.

“Kaili is always a fierce competitor,” her high school coach Tom Cole said. “Kaili possesses a unique versatility to play multiple positions and impact the game in the paint and stretch the floor.”

Also signing was 5-10 Taylor Wilkins from New Orleans.

Wilkins had committed to McNeese last fall, staying with the program through the coaching change.

“I have known that McNeese was the right fit for me from the jump because of the family atmosphere,” Wilkins said back when she committed. “I am super excited to join the McNeese women’s basketball family and further progress my academic and basketball careers.”

Taylor earned high praise of her prep coach.

“Taylor is a competitor with a ton of versatility and the ability to lead,” Mt. Carmel head coach Jamie Thomatis said back in November. “She helps stretch the floor on the offensive side of the ball, playing inside and out. She can also immediately lengthen a defensive lineup and rebounds well for her position. Her impact at McNeese should be seen in the details, as she is fundamentally sound and mentally sharp.”

Kennedy has said all along he was looking to make this a quick rebuild and the key was getting his type of players into the program. That means athletic women who can do multiple things on the court, especially play defense.

“I’m excited about what we have been able to do,” said Kennedy. “We have been able to add some talented, versatile players who can play at a high level.

“We are looking forward to seeing this group come together this fall.”

Kennedy is planning a press conference Wednesday to formally introduce his new class.””McNeese athleticsMcNeese State University

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