GREENVILLE, N.C. – Ariana Jackson (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Elaine Morgan (Raleigh, N.C.) and Celeste Stewart (Indian Hills, N.C.) have signed national letters-of-intent to attend and play basketball at East Carolina starting in the 2009-10 season, according to an announcement by head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener Monday.
“I am very pleased with the hard work my staff put into recruiting this class,” Baldwin-Tener said. “This class addresses our needs as we will have three very valuable seniors to replace next season. These signees will definitely help us at those positions.”
Jackson, a 6-foot forward from Suncoast Community High School, was ranked in the top 50 among Florida recruits by FloridaProspects.com. She was named to the 2008 Florida 4A All-State Team and earned Palm Beach County Athlete-of-the-Week honors on Dec. 10, 2007. Additionally, Jackson was an All-Camp Team selection at the 2008 Peach State Fab Five Camp.
“Ariana has great size and versatility,” Baldwin-Tener explained. “She can play a guard or forward spot and causes match-up problems at both positions. She is a great student and will be a strong student-athlete at ECU next fall.”
“Jackson has a great frame for a forward in Conference USA,” Brandon Clay of the Southeastern Hoops Report stated. “Much like her fellow signees, she can score. Her size will let her attack the lane and open up teammates for outside shots. She’ll be tough to defend throughout her career and should be a great addition to the Lady Pirate roster next fall.”
Morgan, a 5-foot-7 forward, will arrive at East Carolina from Millbrook High School, the same program that produced current Lady Pirate freshman Crystal Wilson. Morgan has helped the Wildcats to two state playoff appearances, including a 4A regional qualification in 2007-08. That season, she scored 17 points against Apex in the sectional final.
“Elaine is a great athlete that can bring the ball up the floor or move over to the wing position,” Baldwin-Tener stated. “Her versatility is a great asset and we look forward to bringing another great student-athlete to our program.”
“Elaine Morgan has the athleticism and skill to play either guard spot and should bring versatility to the lineup,” Clay said. “Her biggest asset is her ability to score. She and Stewart together provide depth at the guard positions.”
Stewart, a 5-foot-6 guard, will suit up for the Lady Pirates after a strong prep career at Butler High School in Charlotte, N.C. She played AAU basketball with the Peach Tree and Tar Heel Elite clubs and is currently ranked 17th in North Carolina in scoring with 19.3 points per game. Additionally, at the end of the 2005-06 season, Stewart helped the Bulldogs to the North Carolina 4A state title. Two years later, she garnered numerous accolades, including Southwestern Conference Player-of-the-Year, Second-Team All-State, News and Observer All-Region Team, Charlotte Weekly Girl’s Basketball Super Team, Elite Basketball Player-of-the-Month (March), North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association (NCBCA) All-District and Carolina’s Scouting Report Top 25 All-Region Team honors.
“Celeste is a very talented player that competes for one of the top high school programs in the country,” Baldwin-Tener said. “She is a winner and will bring that mentality to ECU in the fall.”
“Stewart is one of the best true point guards in the 2009 class throughout the Southeast region,” Clay stated. “She has the ability to create scoring opportunities for both herself and her teammates. Stewart’s outstanding work ethic has allowed her game to flourish over the past two years and I expect her to experience continued growth next season at East Carolina.”
The Lady Pirates travel to Charlottesville, Va. this weekend for their fourth-ever meeting with No. 15 Virginia. The game is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the John Paul Jones Arena.