With just two players who were at least 5-10, the Lady Cardinals were lacking height.
Insert talent from Calhoun County.
Butts picked up a signature from White Plains guard/forward Blaire Crabtree Monday afternoon. Thats 5-foot-10 Blair Crabtree.
Crabtree averaged nearly a double-double during her senior season, averaging 15.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game under Lady Wildcats coach Chris Randall. Local coaches named her a first-team selection to The Star’s Class 3A All-Calhoun County team, released a week ago.
“We needed a big four who could shoot the three,” Butts said of Crabtree, who finished her career with more than 1,000 rebounds.
Crabtree attended a workout along with several other local players a couple of weeks ago and reaffirmed what Butts had already seen in practices and games since the beginning of the season.
“She shot the ball extremely well,” Butts said. “She’s just a good solid kid and we wanted her in our program. She’s well-coached. She’s a good defender and she can go rebound. She was a perfect fit.”
And Butts is nowhere near through dealing in the area.
He said Anniston 6-foot Anniston center Calishia Parker is expected to sign with Gadsden State.
Parker was a first-team choice to The Star’s Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County team after averaging eight points and 11 rebounds. She also holds offers from Snead State and Southern Union community colleges.
“She’s so coachable and she’s got great size,” Butts said. “She actually plays bigger than 6-0. We needed fours and fives and the girls basketball in Calhoun County in so good.”
Butts said 5-11 Alexandria senior Devonna Taylor, a Gadsden State volleyball signee, will also play basketball to further bolster their frontline.
He also hoping to land another local player but didn’t divulge a name because a scholarship was yet to be offered.
“When I got this job last September, (Anniston coach) Eddie Bullock was one of the first people I called,” Butts said. “I must’ve gone to nine or 10 Anniston games this year. He’s got a good team and great kids and we want them at Gadsden State. We certainly don’t want them passing up Gadsden State to go somewhere else.”
Section’s Taylor Adams signed with Gadsden State early Monday morning. The 6-0 center is a Class 2A Player of the Year and Miss Basketball finalist. The Lady Cardinals’ 2012 recruiting class also includes Hokes Bluff guard Savannah West.
• Lineville’s Burdett signs with Toccoa Falls : Lineville’s Rhett Burdette recently signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Toccoa Falls College (Ga.). The Eagles, led by coach Justin Pollock, won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2009 and 2011.
Burdette is a first baseman for the Aggies. In his senior season, he currently has an on-base percentage of .374 in 25 games. His 15 hits include five doubles and one home run. He has driven in 12 runs and scored 10.
“He’s been real consistent. He has been getting on base a lot,” Lineville coach Michael Anderson said. “He’s done a real good job of being a leader for us this year. We’re just extremely young.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.