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UNR signs three players

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

First-year University of Nevada women’s basketball coach Kim Gervasoni announced the signing of three players for the 2004-2005 season during the fall signing period on Friday.

Meghan McGuire of Orange County, Calif., Cherlanda Franklin of Phoenix, Ariz., and Jourdan Willard of Carmichael, Calif., have all signed with the Wolf Pack.

McGuire led Troy High to the Division II state title last year as a junior when Troy beat Vacaville 53-40 in the finals. McGuire had her best game of her career in the finals with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

“She is just a great, big time shooter,” Troy coach Kevin Kieman said. “Meghan is a physical player that brings a lot of diversity.

“She has an incredible three-point shot, but can also take it inside, too. It is rare to find someone who can play as well as she does both outside and inside.”

McGuire, a 6-1 forward, was named first-team All-Freeway League. She led her team in three-pointers and steals.

“Meghan was the player the coaching staff felt it needed in this class,” Gervasoni said. “Her aggressivement and physicality will allow her to make an immediate impact. She is an extremely versatile player that can score inside or out.

“Like the Nevada coaching staff, Meghan has never been identified with a losing program. There is a lot of tradition and high expectations for players at Troy High School. She understands the commitment and work that is required to be a champion. She will be integral in helping Nevada win our first WAC championship.”

Franklin has helped lead Thunderbird High to two straight 4A state titles. As a junior last year she was named the most valuable player of the state tournament and was the only junior to be named to the All-Arizona team. She was also named the Northwest and Skyline Player of the Year. “She is one of the top players this program has ever had,” Thunderbird assistant coach Barry Imgel said. “Cherlanda is a great kid off the court and a spectacular player on the court. She has been a pleasure to have had the opportunity to coach. This is a player that will bring leadership, hard work, talent and determination to any program she becomes involved with.”

In her career, Franklin has had 1,381 points, 797 rebounds, 376 steals and 200 blocks.

She is a five-year starter for an Arizona AAU state championship team and a three-year varsity starter for Thunderbird.

“Cherlanda is an amazing athlete,” Gervasoni said. “I have been watching her play for some time now and it has been my dream to get the chance to coach her. She will fit into our system perfectly because she runs the floor and has great hands. She can play multiple positions and defend every player on the court.

“Her versatility will allow her to contribute immediately to our success. Cherlanda also knows what it takes to win. She has been a part of back-to-back state champion teams that has a strong chance for a third. The coaches at Thunderbird are tremendous teachers of the game and her transition to Division I basketball should be smooth.”

Willard, a 6-1 shooting guard, has been a varsity starter ever since she was a freshman at El Camino High. She begins her senior year as the second leading scorer in school history.

“Jourdan is an extremely hard worker,” El Camino coach Bill Baxter said. “Any opportunity to get better she takes. She has a number of private trainers and she is always calling me for personal gym time. She is an exceptional ball handler with great court vision.

“She had an injury last season and it just gave her a chance to come back even harder with even more energy. I have never seen her so excited as she was when she returned from her trip to Nevada. She is someone who is really enthusiastic, high energy and just a great kid.”

Willard is a two-time All-Capital Athletic Region first-team choice. Willard and Franklin have trained at The Hoop, an well-known training program for professional, high school and elite college players under the direction of Guss Armstead.

“Jourdan has the ability to score and defend at multiple positions,” Gervasoni said. “We see her contributing at all the guard positions. Her size will allow her to be an excellent passer in transition as well as our half court offense. We feel our offensive system will allow her to be very successful at this level and utilize her strengths.

“She has tremendous teaching and preparation under Bill Baxter and Guss Armstead. her work ethic and determination will help her be a strong leader in our program. Jourdan’s entusiasm for the game as well as the University of Nevada will be contagious.”