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Top men, women players commit to BU basketball

April 17, 1997

By Jeff Huett

Assistant City Editor/Sports

Almost immediately after being eliminated from postseason tournament contention, men's head basketball coach Harry Miller and women's head coach Sonja Hogg began devoting their attention solely to the recruiting process. The first fruits of their labor surfaced this week, as the Lady Bears signed two recruits Wednesday and the men signed a recruit Thursday.

The men's team signed Jeff Gipson, a 6­8, 220 pound graduate of Mexia High School. He played at the preseason No. 1 Tyler Junior College and averaged 7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in an injury-plagued season.

'He has so much raw ability,' Tyler head coach Fred Rike said. 'Jeffrey has the want to and the desire to be successful.'

While at Mexia, Gipson earned all-district, all-region, all-state honors and averaged 12.3 points and 10 rebounds a game.

'In getting Jeff, we wanted to sure-up our rebounding,',' head coach Harry Miller said. ' We need him to be a force on the boards and be successful in guarding forwards inside.'

Gipson chose Baylor over such schools as Southern Methodist University, St. Louis, and Cleveland State University.

'I will be receiving the best degree that I could possibly receive,' Gipson said. 'I'll be close to home and my parents can watch me play.'

The women's team signed Deronica Robinson, a 6­0 forward out of Crandall, who led Trinity Valley College to national championships in 1996 and 1997. She averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a game and earned all-conference and all-regional honors.

'I think Deronica is one of the most outstanding players in the country,' head women's coach Sonja Hogg said. 'She is not tall but is a strong, versatile player. She can shoot from the outside , crash the boards and will add valuable experience to our team.'

The Lady Bears' second signee was Tara Eackles, a 6­6 post-player out of Baton Rouge, La., could possibly be the tallest player ever to wear a Lady Bear uniform. At Southern Lab High School, she averaged 15.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4 blocks a game. This season she earned district MVP honors and was second team all-state.

'Tara, just being a freshman, we'll have time to bring her along,' Hogg said. 'Also, she'll be able to clog up the lane for us, which is something we really need.'

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