After signing Dexter forward Hannah Thurmon as the first member of its 2018 recruiting class, Three Rivers College doubled down in the paint by recently signing Neelyville’s J’Kayla Fowler. “It feels good. I’m excited to get started after this season and continue forward in my life,” Fowler said. “I like how they play. They play fast and they play together. They talk to each other and they work hard. I know when they’re all working hard and you can tell when they are.” A 5-foot, 10-inch forward, Fowler is an important rebounder for the Tigers and won the most steals award each of her previous three seasons. “We’re always looking for rebounders, kids who don’t mind to get in there and do all the dirty work and get the job done around the basket. She is so quick with her first step to get to the rim, it is what you need at the college level,” Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. “We liked her presence around the rim, how she guards. Really athletic kid who will play well into our system the way we like to play. I envision her like Ge’Naisha Robinson was last year. She’s long, athletic, really good on the ball defender and her tenacity on the boards is one of the best I’ve seen all year.” Robinson was a pointof-the-press defender and averaged 2.8 steals as a sophomore at Three Rivers. She also led the team with 16.4 points per game, often cleaning up turnovers with easy layups in transition. Walk said prior to this season that replacing Robinson was his No. 1 goal for the 2017 recruiting class. Fowler is the fi rst Tiger to play for Walk since 2011, when Jessica Uhl and Chelsey Maupin played for Three Rivers.
“She’s been a great leader. She’ll dive on the floor whatever the score is, no matter what quarter it is. She sticks up for the players and gets the job done,” Neelyville coach Becky Hale said. “She’s got a lot of potential. At the high school level she is able to use her quickness and get to the hole a lot, but she’s got potential to be a great mid-range shooter and even further out, too.” This season, Fowler is averaging 13.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.4 steals and 2.1 assists while shooting 65.4 percent from the fi eld. Fowler has 465 career steals and 971 career points. “She is just one of those players who reads the ball well coming off a rebound. Even if she is not quite in the perfect position, she can still get the ball just by using her quickness. Same thing with defense. I think sometimes she just hangs back to let the other team think that maybe they can make that pass, but then she darts up there and gets it. That is defi nitely one of her biggest strengths and she uses it well,” Hale said. “I’m glad she’s able to sign right now and maybe we can relax this year and focus on the things we need to do to do better than we have in the past.”
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic