GREENWOOD – Lander head women's basketball coach Kevin Pederson announced the signings of four new players to the Bearcat women's basketball program on Tuesday. Aniaya Jester (Griffin, Ga./Spalding), Jakiyah Parker (Augusta, Ga./Josey), Zamiya Passmore (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove), and Alea Spears (Lawrenceville, Ga./Brookwood) will join the Bearcats ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Georgia quartet joins fall signees Makaila Cange (Douglasville, Ga./New Manchester) and Cierra Revelle (Apex, N.C./Apex Friendship).
"Coach [Decole Shoemate Robertson] and I are very excited about the class we have been able to put together for 2019," Pederson said. "We have signed six players that will all come in and compete immediately for playing time with the hope of making us deeper and more athletic than we were this past season. We believe we not only signed six outstanding ball players, but most importantly, we believe we have signed six players that are committed to being a part of something special at Lander for the next four years. All six of these young women come from great families and strong high school programs that have helped mold them into outstanding young women on and off the floor. We're excited to welcome our six new Bearcats and their families to Lander University."
The six newcomers join a program which has won 122 games over the past five seasons, earned bids to 10 of the last 12 NCAA Tournaments, played for four NCAA Southeast Regional championships, advanced to one Elite Eight, and won at least 24 games seven of the last 10 seasons.
5-4 • Griffin, Ga. • Spalding
Aniaya Jester, a 5-foot-4 guard, led Spalding H.S. to back-to-back appearances in the Georgia 4A State Championship, three region titles, and was a four-time Region 2-4A all-region selection. As a senior, Jester averaged 14.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for the Jaguars.
"Aniaya is a tremendous athlete and a very well-rounded player that we feel like is a great fit for our system," said Pederson. "We love the way she defends the ball for 94 feet and we are excited to see what she is capable of doing in our up-tempo system."
5-8 • Augusta, Ga. • Josey
A 5-foot-8 guard, Jakiyah Parker is a three-star prospect and the No. 73-ranked guard in the 2019 class, according to ESPN. A two-time all-region player, Parker led Josey to the GHSA 2A quarterfinals in her senior season. As a junior at Richmond Academy, she averaged 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game.
"Jakiyah is one of those players that you can play at pretty much any spot on the floor," Pederson said. "From the first time we watched her play, we felt like she is the type of player that excels in our system with her length and versatility."
5-5 • Locust Grove, Ga. • Locust Grove
Another three-star talent is the 5-foot-5 Zamiya Passmore, who is the No. 27-ranked guard in ESPN's 2019 class. Passmore was the Region 4-5A Player of the Year as a junior and an all-state selection in her senior season, averaging 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 3.7 steals per game.
"This young lady can really go," Pederson said. "We felt like we needed a point guard that could help Jessica Harris play more on the wing. Zamiya is one of the fastest players we've seen in quite some time getting the ball up the floor and putting pressure on the opposing defense. We like a point guard that can score, and we're excited to see what she is capable of accomplishing in our system."
5-7 • Lawrenceville, Ga. • Brookwood
Alea Spears, a 5-foot-7 guard, was a first-team Region 7-6A all-region payer in her senior season, leading Brookwood H.S. to a region championship. Spears surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her prep career, averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 assists per game as a senior.
"Alea is one of the most explosive drivers we watched this season," said Pederson. "When she decided she was going to the basket, there weren't many players that could stop her. Alea is a very well-rounded, tough and physical guard that we think fits our style of play nicely."