BRISTOL, Tenn. – Following a Conference Carolinas Tournament runner-up finish to the third-ranked team in the country, King University women's basketball coach Josh Thompson is eager to improve in 2016-17, and he has signed three student-athletes to help the Tornado achieve that goal next season. Thompson signed incoming freshmen Emily Kiser and Arielle Holloway as well as transfer student Danielle Luczak for the upcoming season.
"All three of these recruits have great character and are hard-working players," Thompson said. "They are all great students that excel in the classroom and will continue to do so at the college level. I am very excited to have each of them joining our basketball family at King University."
Kiser will join the Tornado after a standout career at Elizabethton High School. In her four years playing for head coach Len Dugger, the Cyclones won 124 games, against 10 losses while making four trips to the State Tournament. They won the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) state title in 2013-14 while reaching the semifinals twice and quarterfinals once. Kiser also played AAU basketball for the Tennessee Cyclones for coach Todd Bowers.
"Emily is a great shooter from the guard position," commented Thompson. "She also has a very quick first step going to the rim. She helped lead her team to an undefeated regular season and another appearance in the state tournament as a senior. All she knows is winning and I believe her best basketball is ahead of her. She will give us another shooter on the perimeter to help us spread the floor."
While at Elizabethton High School, Kiser came on as a sophomore, averaging 8.0 points and 1.8 assists per game off the bench. In the state quarterfinal game she led the Cyclones in scoring to help them advance. Her junior year she came off the bench again, averaging 8.0 points and 1.8 assists per game again and was selected to the all-tournament team at the regional. A season ago she earned a starting spot and averaged 14.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Kiser might have been the most potent shooter, leading the team with 103 three-point baskets on the season, shooting 54.0 percent from beyond the arc. She was selected all-conference, all-district and all-region. In her career she scored 989 points, including 482 her senior season.
Holloway comes to King from Clarkston, Ga., after playing at Greenforest McCalep Christian Academy for coach Allison Prather. As a freshman, Holloway, a point guard led the Lady Eagles to their first state tournament appearance and earned Rookie of the Year honors. She would later guide the Lady Eagles back to the state tournament in each her sophomore and senior seasons. She is a two-time All-Region selection and earned the Best All-Around Player Award following her sophomore season.
"Arielle is an athletic point guard that values defense and getting her teammates involved," said Thompson. "She can score the basketball, but is always looking for her teammates first. She led her high school team to an undefeated regular season, so she knows how to win. She will give us much needed depth at the point guard position."
During her senior season, Holloway led Greenforest McCalep to an undefeated regular season before the Lady Eagles finished as the state runner-up. She helped the Lady Eagles set numerous firsts, including first team to win a regional championship and play in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championship game. Holloway also garnered many awards, earning Atlanta Journal Constitution All-State honorable mention and All-Metro honorable mention. In her career, she scored 1,208 points, averaging 12.6 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game. She played AAU basketball for the Georgia Pistols Diamond Elite for head coach Jimarcus Blanding.
Luczak joins the Tornado after spending last season at Coker College. As a freshman with the Cobras, she averaged 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while playing 12.9 minutes per game. She appeared in 14 contests and scored a career-high 11 points in back-to-back contests against Queens University and Anderson University. Prior to her year at Coker, Luczak played one year at Jefferson County High School and finished her high school career at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School where she played for coach Katie Parton. During her freshman year at Jefferson County, Luczak played basketball, volleyball and track and field and was selected all-conference, all-county and all-district in basketball.
"Danielle will give us another scorer and rebounder in the post," Thompson said. "She had a very successful high school career leading her team to the postseason while leading them in scoring and rebounding and garnering many awards. Her ability to score the ball in the post and to stretch the defense with her jump shot will be vital in our system."
Luczak then played basketball, volleyball, softball and track and field at Gatlinburg-Pittman where she again garnered all-conference, all-county and all-district in basketball. Following her junior year, she was the Gaitlinburg-Pittman Basketball Offensive Player of the Year and was selected District 3-AA All-District and All-Tournament while also garnering District 2-AA All-Region and All-Tournament. In her senior season, she averaged 17.5 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, en route to being named Sevier County Player of the Year along with All-Tournament, All-District and All-Region honors. She was also named to the Knoxville News Sentinel PrepXtra Basketball team. In her career she scored 1,375 points and grabbed 925 rebounds. She played AAU basketball for the Tennessee Flight for coach Brent Stallings.