ATHENS – Panola College women’s basketball coach Alex Furr attended the 23rd Region XIV Conference Media Day on Wednesday morning at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens.
Furr, who is in his third season as head coach of the Fillies, was one of 10 coaches in the conference to speak live, with Blinn’s Jeff Jenkins and Coastal Bend’s Nathan Purswell via Zoom.
Furr looks forward to the 2021-22 season and builds on last season, where Panola finished 13-8 overall and 12-4 in the Region XIV Conference game.
“I’m really excited about the team we have,” said Furr. “We had the opportunity to bring kids back from last season, but we just thought it would make more sense for them to level up to start their careers in new homes.”
Panola is looking to take that next step after being selected to finish third in the 10-team conference.
The Fillies tallied 78 points behind second-place Tyler, who had 89 points, including two votes for first place, and reigning conference champion Trinity Valley, who had 96 points, including eight first-place votes.
Panola is only returning two players from last year’s squad, and Furr has given plenty of details about his two returning players.
“Esther Oluade is a returning point guard from Loyola Maramont,” said Furr. “She has gained 12 pounds of muscle since attending Panola College. Her guns are really big, she looks good and she still pulls bricks, but she does a great job and I can’t ask for a better kid.
“Destiny Burton is another coming back and she’s lost 35 pounds since being with us, so she’s working really hard. She has 12 Division I offers on the table right now. I am delighted to be training these two ghosts because it has really made the transition easier for the children who are arriving.
Furr has worked tirelessly on the scouting track this offseason and landed five Division I transfers, including Lauren Davenport, a second year in the Delaware red shirt.
“The kid is a stallion, she can score at all levels,” said Furr. “She can really shoot the ball and we’re really excited to have Lauren Davenport.”
Furr also mentioned Jayla Brooks, who was a point guard at SMU and will be out until mid-November with a broken hand, as well as Courtlyn Loudermill of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“She’s a really strong southpaw hitting the offensive boards like I’ve never seen a kid do before,” Furr said of Loudermill.
Nissa Sam-Grant, who is from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, is 6’5 and is, as Furr describes it, a truly athletic position.
“We are very excited about these Division I transfers,” said Furr. “On top of that, we brought in new youngsters like Tania Allen, who played in Chicago, who can play in multiple positions, Nya Harmon from Arlington-Bowie who is a really great shooter, Bineta Diatta, from Senegal but was at Priory High School in San Diego – she’s very versatile and very, very athletic. Division I coaches are crazy about her.
Furr also praised Sharayah Johnson of Tacoma, Wash., Who is 6’4. Furr couldn’t help but shine when talking about having a 6’5, 6’4 player in his roster.
“I’m really happy to coach two 6’4 and 6’5 youngsters this season,” she said. “I think we can be very powerful on the block.”
The fillies will have some sort of Christmas present when they receive Baylee Goins over the holidays.
Goins was arguably considered West Virginia’s best player. Goins has received several offers from DI and will be returning from a knee injury.
“We designed our preseason to be really tough,” said Furr. “We know how competitive this conference will be, so we play in Northwest Florida, Odessa, South Plains and New Mexico Junior College. I hope this will prepare us for when we enter this conference.