Freshman class has Buccaneers primed for 2012-13 season

Head coach Jeff Jenkins is as excited about the Buccaneers' potential this season as he has been in years.

Now it's a matter of turning that potential into victories. Blinn features a young roster this season, with 11 of 15 roster spots filled by freshmen.

"I'm as excited as I've been in five years," Jenkins said. "We have people who can put the ball in the hole and more skilled players than we've had in a long time.

"I expect it to take some time, but by February I think this will be the best team I've had in four or five years."

The Bucs will be led by four sophomores, two of whom transferred to Blinn from Division I universities.

Jazzmin Parker, a 5-8 guard from Katy Mayde Creek, came to Blinn from Texas Christian University. Coming out of high school, she was considered one of the top 15 talents in the state.

"I think she's the most skilled offensive player I've had since I've been here," Jenkins said. "Her ball-handling is unbelievable, her pull-up jump shot looks like Michael Jordan – she's as skilled an offensive player as I've had."

Aarika Reyna, a 5-6 sophomore point guard, comes to Blinn from Southeastern Louisiana after winning two state championships at Cy-Fair High School. She provides the Buccaneers a quality 3-point shooter with athleticism.

"She's just a winner," Jenkins said. "She and Audrisa Harrison are third-year sophomores and they're more mature kids. You can tell Aarika came from a winning basketball program."

Harrison (Coldspring) was an all-conference selection for the Buccaneers two years ago but was forced to redshirt last season due to a torn ACL that kept her out the entire year. As a freshman, she averaged 10.7 rebounds per game.

"She is a lot better basketball player than she was before she tore her ACL," Jenkins said. "She's used this time to work on her game and her perimeter shot is 100 percent better than it was two years ago. She is a lot better all-around player now."

Forward Khalisha Lee (Spring) is the only returner from last season's team. She averaged 1.35 points and 2.65 rebounds in 20 games.

"She's a lot better than she was last year," Jenkins said. "She runs the floor well and rebounds well."

Freshman point guard Moe Bedford (North Shore) is a Division I-level talent coming off a torn ACL suffered in December. She gives the Buccaneers flexibility with the ability to play the point or shooting guard.

"We never have to tell her to work hard," Jenkins said.

Like Bedford, freshman Amari Jones (Washington) is returning from a December ACL injury.

"Those are two Division I players," Jenkins said. "Not only are they talented, but they both have good work ethics."

Freshman point guard Tierra Tucker (A&M Consolidated) has the ability to get to the basket and passes well off penetration, while Adriane Davis (San Antonio Wagner) brings a lot of energy to the floor.

Jade Castille (Manvel) is a scoring guard, and Danielle Espinoza (San Antonio Churchill) brings 6-1 size to the guard position.

Freshman forward Shanequa Gaston was named MVP of her district last season and was recruited by Wichita State and Cincinnati coming out of Dobie High School.

Darrecia Johnson (Giddings) gives the Bucs another speedy, athletic post while Cree Atkinson (Cy-Ridge) is a more traditional, back-to-the-basket post with some of the best low-post moves in the program. Michelle Umachi (Dulles) is gives the Buccaneers depth in the paint after redshirting last season.

The Buccaneers will open their season Monday when they play at Western Texas College at 5 p.m. Blinn will travel to Cisco Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest before playing their home opener Nov. 10 against Victoria College. Tip-off for that game is 2 p.m.