Former local stars highlight SOU Class

Two former Rogue Valley high school girls basketball standouts will transfer home and play for Southern Oregon University head women's coach Lynn Kennedy.

Former Ashland player Josi McDermott and former South Medford player Brittney Newcomb are among four newcomers who have signed national letters of intent, Kennedy announced Monday.

They join Tucson (Ariz.) High School products RaTanya Newsome and Nalani Barnes.

McDermott, a 6-foot-0 junior guard, saw key action in 20 games for NCAA Division I Utah this past season.

McDermott, the daughter of SOU men's basketball coach Brian McDermott, helped the Utes to a 23-12 record and a spot in the WNIT.

During the 2008-09 season, McDermott and the Utes made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In the second round against Maryland, she four points and three rebounds.

McDermott earned four letters at Ashland High. She was all-state and the Southern Sky Conference player of the year as a senior. She led Ashland to a conference title as a senior and to fifth place at state as a junior.

"Josi is an unbelievable athlete and a true basketball player," Kennedy said. "She is a natural defender, with athleticism, quickness and a sense for the ball. Josi is a threat on offense not only with shooting, but with her ability to break her defender down and score."

Newcomb, a 5-6 guard, attended Missouri University of Science and Technology this past season and red-shirted.

She was the Southwest Conference player of the year as a senior in 2008-09 and led the Panthers to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Newcomb averaged 19 points, six assists, five steals and four rebounds and finished third in the state in scoring. She was chosen all-state as a senior. She twice earned all-SWC honors and claimed all-Southern Sky honors as a sophomore at Crater High.

"Brittney was one of the best players in the state two years ago," Kennedy said. "As a point guard, she loves to distribute the ball. She sees the floor extremely well and can anticipate where her teammates are going to be. She is also a dynamic scorer and has the ability to drive and finish and also knock down the 3-pointers."

Newsome, a 5-4 point guard, and Barnes, a 5-10 forward, helped lead Tucson High to a 24-3 record and a No. 2 state ranking this past season.

Newsome averaged 14.5 points and five assists per game and was named all-Southern Arizona and all-state as a senior.

"RaTanya was one of the best points guards that I saw play last summer during the recruiting tournaments," Kennedy said. "She has an unbelievable court vision, and she is lightning quick. She has really improved her outside shooting this past season and will be a great addition for us as the point guard position."

Barnes also earned Southern Arizona all-conference honors after averaging eight points and five rebounds per game. She was considered by the coaches as the top defender in the conference.

"Nalani really impressed me this past summer," Kennedy said. "She worked extremely hard on every possession and has the ability to score from the outside and can also finish strong at the basket. Nalani is one of the best defenders that I saw this past year and constantly had to guard the opponent's best player. She will provide depth at our forward position and we are really excited she will be a Raider."

These four join early signees Kiara Moore (Tolleson Union, Ariz.) and Nicole Mobray (Oak Harbor, Wash.).

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