McNeese women's basketball head coach Kacie Cryer added to her 2018-19 squad with the addition of Damilola (Dami) Balogun, Jamara Levy and Maddisen Martin who signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Balogun, a 6-0, forward from Lagos, Nigeria comes to the Cowgirls from Bossier Parish Community College.
"I chose McNeese because I feel it is a great opportunity to further my education," said Balogun. "I also appreciated the persistence of the coaching staff in my recruitment, they really welcomed me with open arms on my visit. I am excited and more than ready to contribute to Cowgirl basketball as I push myself and my teammates."
Balogun began her collegiate career at Lamar Community College prior to transferring to BPCC.
As a sophomore, she averaged 7.5 ppg., 6.3 rpg., shot 45.0 percent from the field and helped BPCC to the Region XIV Conference Tournament and was recently named to the Region 14 All-Academic team.
"In one year at BPCC, Dami has been a huge asset for not just our women's basketball program but to our campus as a whole. I am confident she will contribute greatly to the Cowgirl basketball program and McNeese State University," said BPCC head coach John Rennie.
"Dami is a fantastic addition to our Cowgirl Basketball program! She not only has excelled on the court, but she has been a tremendous asset in the Bossier community and in the classroom as well. Her hard work, dedication, determination and leadership is what makes her special and we are thrilled to add her to our Cowgirl family," said Cryer.
Levy is a 5-5 point guard from Lake Arthur High who averaged 17.0 ppg., 8.0 apg. 6.0 spg., and 2.0 spg. in her senior season while earning both district and Jeff Davis Parish MVP honors. She was also selected first team All-State. Levy helped the Tigers to back-to-back district titles and two semifinal appearances including the Class 2A State runners-up her senior season.
"I chose McNeese because it is a great opportunity for me and because the coaching staff and players made me feel like I was home away from home and it's a very good program that I'm proud to be apart of," said Levy. "McNeese is home for me because my family and friends will be able to catch all of my home games which will be a good feeling and I feel very excited about my choice to be a cowgirl. I wouldn't have wanted to have it any other way. My goal as a cowgirl is to win four conference championships."
In the classroom, Levy boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA and earned Academic All-State. She was also a member of Beta, FBLA and was involved in (FCA) Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"I'm so excited for Jamara to continue playing at McNeese. This was a goal of hers when I first started coaching her two years ago. She has worked hard to accomplish this goal on the court and in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA. She is a great person, has been a strong leader for the Lake Arthur basketball program and I can't wait to see her continue this with McNeese. Well deserved," said Lake Arthur head coach Vickie Sketoe.
"Jamara is another great addition to this class. She is a winner both on and off the court. Her energy, smile and heart is contagious and because of that she has made a big impact in the Lake Arthur community and I am so excited for her to do the same for our Lake Charles community and here at McNeese. Jamara is a multi-sport athlete and has succeeded in all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA! We are thrilled to add Jamara to our Cowgirl family," Cryer said.
Martin is a 5-8 guard from Fairview High who has been on winning teams throughout her career. She is also the cousin of current Cowgirl redshirt freshman Callie Maddox.
Martin average 25.1 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 7.0 apg., 4.0 spg. and is a four-time All-State selection, being named to the first team as a junior and senior. She holds the school career assists record with 1,116 and according to NFHS National Federation of State High School Associations) records, she would be ranked second in the national record book behind Mary Johnson of Longview, Texas who had 1,169 from 1980-83. She carries a 3.5 GPA and is a member of the Beta Club.
"I've always set high goals for myself and my team in high school," said Martin. "I told myself that wouldn't change with the college I wanted to play for so that's why I chose McNeese. They have a great coaching staff and a great team that's willing to work hard. I'm here to do whatever they need me to do on a daily basis to contribute to this teams success. I'm super excited to further my education and continue playing basketball at McNeese. I can't wait to play as a Cowgirl."
"Maddisen just has that winning instinct," said Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks. "She just finds a way to win. Her career won-loss record as a starter over five years is 184-26. She has one State Championship title, two semifinal and two quarterfinal appearances. If she needs to score 40 for us to win she does. If she needs to get 15 assists for us to win she does. If she needs to guard their best player and shut her down she does. I'm excited for her and McNeese. She wanted to go there and play with her cousin Callie. I know Coach Cryer and her staff will not only push her to be a better player but they will also take care of her like family. She has a work ethic that is unmatched by anyone I've ever coached. I believe she will come in and make an immediate impact on the program. There will be a lot of college coaches disappointed that she chose McNeese over them."
"Maddisen is a tremendous addition to our 2018 signing class," Cryer said. "She is another state champion that we add to our program, where she played for a tremendous high school program and coach in Kyle Jinks. Maddisen can score in many different ways but what makes her special is her ability to defend and lead her team. She is a high character kid who will bring tremendous work ethic into our program. She has overcome adversity throughout her career, which has made her even tougher as a player and a person. We are so excited to add Maddisen to our Cowgirl Basketball family."
Damilola (Dami) Balogun (6-0, Forward, Lagos, Nigeria, Bossier Parish CC)
Jamara Levy (5-5, Point Guard, Lake Arthur, La., Lake Arthur High)
Maddisen Martin (5-8, Guard, Mittie, La., Fairview High)
*Divine Tanks (6-1, Forward, Lake Charles, La., Barbe High)
*Kaylee Hughes (5-11, Guard, Holden, La., Holden High)
*Maia Robinson (6-2, Post, Denham Springs, La., Denham Springs High)
*Rayah Haynes (5-6 Guard, Zachary, La., Zachary High)
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