K-State Signs Great Class to Letters of Intent

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Four top recruits, including three Kansans and one Oklahoman, have signed their National Letter of Intent to play for the nationally-ranked Kansas State women's basketball team for the 2005-06 season as announced by head coach Deb Patterson Thursday.


Marlies Gipson, a 6-foot forward from McPherson, Kan., is one-of-three recruits hailing from the Sunflower State. A two-time Street & Smith's High School All-American honorable mention, Gibson is currently rated No. 31 in the Blue Star Top 100 Seniors Index. A four-year standout at McPherson High School, she holds the school's single game rebounds record (19) and led the team to runner-up finishes at the state 5A championships as a junior and sophomore. A first team all-class 5A selection by the KBCA, Wichita Eagle, Hutchinson News and Topeka Capital-Journal in 2004, Gibson has been nominated twice as a McDonald's High School All-American. As a member of the Kansas Belles AAU squad, Gibson was named Missouri Valley AAU Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. Off the court, she is an honor roll student, a member of the National Honor Society and a two-time recipient of the President's Education Award.

"Marlies Gipson is going to bring a tremendous athletic, defensive and shot blocking element to our program," Patterson said. "She is as intense of a defender as we will have had in our program and she brings a warrior's mentality to both the offensive and defensive boards. Her defensive mentality and abilities are outstanding. I don't know that I've ever seen a finer shot blocker at this young stage in her career. Offensively, Marlies creates opportunities from 15 feet and in to score the ball and put pressure on the defense in a variety of ways. She is a incredibly dynamic in her presence on the floor and impacts the game physically and emotionally with very big plays at critical situations in games."

JoAnn Hamlin, a 6-foot-3 center from Douglass, Kan., is the second member of her family to sign with the Wildcats. Hamlin's sister, Joy, is currently a sophomore middle blocker for the No. 20-ranked Kansas State volleyball team. The younger Hamlin is a two-time first team all-conference and all-state selection out of Winfield High School, where she led the Vikings to their first 5A sub-state basketball championship in 13 years in 2003. As a junior, Hamlin averaged 21.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game. She holds 10 of the school's single game records and 11 of the school's career records, including career points (1,144) and career blocks (138). A standout thrower on the track and field team, Hamlin was crowned the state 5A champion in the shot put in 2004. An honor roll student and scholar-athlete, Hamlin is the school record holder in the shot put, discus and javelin.

"JoAnn is a big, strong physical presence in the paint who also has the ability to stretch the floor and shoot the ball extremely well from 17 feet and beyond," Patterson said. "She is a very effective offensive rebounder, much out of the 'Stacy Stephens' mode of play. JoAnn also has the ability and confidence to bring the ball up the floor off the board, if and when necessary. She has as a very good handle for her size and she plays with great intensity on both ends of the floor. I am extremely impressed with the combination of work ethic, fundamental skills and deceptive agility JoAnn brings to the floor. This young lady can score the ball and you will not find a harder working post player on the floor."

Shalee Lehning, a 5-foot-9 guard from Sublette, Kan., led Sublette High School to a state 2A championship title with an undefeated 26-0 record a year ago. As a junior, Lehning averaged 23.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game enroute to being named an all-state selection by the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital-Journal. A three-time KBCA all-state first teamer, Lehning holds the school records in career scoring (1,724), career rebounds (947) and career assists (525). She has scored in double-figures in 74 career games to date and was named twice as the Hutchinson News Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. A state finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award, Lehning is a four-year honor roll student and serves as Student Council president and Senior Class president.

"Shalee is the consummate floor general at the point position," Patterson said. "She plays with superb intensity and has great presence and command on the floor. Her innate abilities as a leader, as well as her understanding of the game, make her the kind of player who makes everyone on the floor better. The character and energy she brings to the floor, as well as the passion and intensity she plays with, will remind a lot of our fans of Megan Mahoney. She can go by you with either hand, passes with great efficiency and can stick the three-pointer. Shalee brings all the great characteristics of being a winner. Her intangibles and never say quit attitude to whatever challenge a game or situation presents is a huge part of what separates her in the excellence she brings on-and-off the floor from others."

Danielle Zanotti, a 6-foot-2 forward from Yukon, Okla., rounds out this year's recruiting class for the Wildcats. The Mustang High School standout averaged 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game leading the Broncos to a 20-5 record as a junior. She was named twice as an all-conference first team selection and conference co-MVP. An avid distance runner, Zanotti was honored as a USATF All-American as well as an all-state, all-region and all-big city selection in cross country. She captained her team to back-to-back class 5A state championship titles in 2003 and 2004 and was selected as the Daily Oklahoman Runner of the Year. A national finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award, Zanotti is a 4.17 grade-point average honor roll student, class valedictorian and National Honor Society member. She also serves as chairperson for Relay for Life and volunteers with Special Olympics. The prestigious award recognizes academic aptitude, athletic talent and community service. ESPN2 will feature all 12 national finalists (six girls and six boys) during the Wendy's High School Heisman Awards Ceremony broadcast live from New York City on Dec. 12.

"Danielle Zanotti is a tremendous talent with great size at the wing position," Patterson said. "At 6-foot-2, she can shoot the three-pointer in transition, she can run like a deer and she can defend both on the perimeter and in the post with equal effectiveness. She will be an extremely tough zone defensive presence on the wing. She is a fierce competitor and is a mature thinker and leader. Her work ethic and her expectations for excellence from herself and others has allowed her to develop into not just a great basketball talent, but also one of the nation's toughest competitors. She is accustomed to winning and knows what it takes. As a member of the Air Oklahoma Stars AAU program, she started on the 2004 16-and-under national championship team."

2004 KANSAS STATE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEES

Marlies Gipson, 6-0, Forward, McPherson, Kan. (McPherson HS)
JoAnn Hamlin, 6-3, Center, Douglass, Kan. (Winfield HS)
Shalee Lehning, 5-9, Guard, Sublette, Kan. (Sublette HS)
Danielle Zanotti, 6-2, Forward, Yukon, Okla. (Mustang HS)

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