Ashlie Billingslea and Latoya Williams Update

Chipola College head women's basketball coach David Lane talks about two of his players - Ashlie Billingslea, a Mississippi State signee who is rated the nation's top junior college point guard, and Latoya Williams, the nation's number three junior college player and a player that Mississippi State is recruiting.

Mississippi State has signed one of your players, Ashlie Billingslea (11.3 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.4 spg. 50% -3-pt shooter), a 5-6 point guard. Tell me about her.
David Lane - She is your point guard that you are looking for. She has that confidence in herself, has that experience and trusts it. That is something that you normally have to try and teach kids. But she's already got it. That's a huge plus.

"At the junior college level, the point guards really make the team. Having someone with her experience - she played at one of the top high schools in Georgia, then played in the SEC last year with South Carolina. But she got hurt at the beginning of the season last year and probably came back a little too soon. Then, this summer, she came down here, lost a lot of weight and got back into game shape again. And she's done pretty good for us. We've had a couple of games early in the year where she kind of took over."

What about her skill level?
"She passes the ball very well, she has great court vision. I think she averages a little over 4 assists per game. And she shoots the ball well. She does a pretty good job of getting to the rim. She is like a little bowling ball sometimes, she kind of bounces off people. But the thing about her is she keeps herself square to the basket, so she can absorb that contact and then finish."

Who recruited her for Mississippi State? Also, what are your thoughts about how she will do at Mississippi State?
"(MSU assistant coach) Greg (Franklin) did such a great job getting on her early and signing her. As we have gotten into some non-conference tournaments and as we are starting to get into conference tournaments, we are having a lot of coaches asking about her. The fact that Greg was able to get her signed early was a great get for Mississippi State. Recruiting-wise, Greg relates really well to the kids. He talks to kids in a way where they really respond. Junior college kids, in general, don't really like talking on the phone. They really like to text, but they don't like talking on the phone. But with Greg, it's different. They'll call him, which you hardly ever see, and just carry on a conversation. A lot of times it's not about basketball, but they are laughing and smiling and that's just something that you don't see from a lot of other coaches."

"I know Mississippi State's team pretty well due to the other junior college kids that they have. And I think she will be a great fit for Mississippi State."

Other than Mississippi State, what other schools were looking at her prior to the start of the season?
"St. Johns was looking at her. The University of Arizona was also interested in her. And there were also a ton of mid-major colleges that were interested in her. Florida recruited her a little bit, but they got somebody early. And actually it's really tough for Florida (four-year) schools to recruit Florida junior college kids. The reason for that is the (Florida) admission standards for junior college kids in Florida are a little tougher than for junior college kids outside of the state of Florida."

Mississippi State is recruiting another one of your kids, 6-3 Latoya Williams (14.9 ppg, 10. rpg). Who else is recruiting her?
"She officially visited Mississippi State, the University of Cincinnati and Rutgers. Auburn is recruiting her pretty hard, too. Georgia is trying to get in with her. Really, a lot of SEC schools are interested. Arizona, Louisiana Tech ... really, just about everybody is interested in her."

Did Latoya talk to you about the three visits?
"I asked her about them and she said they were all fine. I think she thought they were all really good schools, but she really didn't give a huge indication about them.

"Those three visits were her first three official visits to Division-I schools. When she was a senior in high school, she didn't take any official visits other than to Chipola (College) because the colleges knew she wasn't going to qualify out of high school. Even though she was a big-time (prospect), schools didn't want to bring her in for a visit due to that."

Do you know if she will take her other two official visits?
"I would imagine that she will take them at the end of the season, but I don't know who they would be. I could always project, but I don't really know. Auburn might be one, but I'm just guessing."

Obviously, based on the number of schools that are recruiting her, she's a very talented player.
"Have you seen the Danielle Adam's girl from Jefferson (County) College play? She is similar to that, but their bodies are totally opposite. Latoya is very long. I would say Latoya's body type is like Candice Parker, just not as strong.

"Latoya can do a lot of things. She can bring the ball up the court in transition, shoot the three, shoot the 15-footer, finish around the basket, rebound, defend, blocks some shots. She does just about everything."

Has Latoya told you which school or schools are her favorites?
"She is a very different kid. She's very independent. Nobody is going to tell her where to go. She is going to do what she wants to do."

What is she looking for in a school?
"She wants to go to a school that is going to win. And she wants to be able to make an impact. I don't think she wants to go to a school and just be one of a lot of really good players. I think she wants to be one of the best players on the team. I don't see her going to a school where she will only play 15 to 20 minutes a game. I see her wanting to play around 30 minutes a game."

According to Coach Lane, Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report has Ashlie Billingslea listed as the No. 1 junior college point guard and the 10th best player overall in the junior college ranks. Olson has Latoya Williams listed as the 2nd best power forward and 3rd best player overall.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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