Smesko, Eagles Sign Four to National Letters of Intent
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Karl Smesko has announced the signings of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Amber Rechis, Katlyn Payne, Jordan LaDuke, and Nancy Aguilar will join the Eagle program for the 2010-11 academic year.

Smesko says that this is the best class of early signings he has ever had at FGCU. “I feel this is a very talented group who will experience a lot of success at FGCU,” Smesko said. “I think we will have a couple of All-Conference players in this group.”

Amber Rechis, a 5’8 standout guard at Westview High School in Martin, Tenn. chose FGCU over UT-Martin, Middle Tennessee State and USC Upstate. A 3-year varsity starter, Rechis is the all-time leading scorer at Westview High School, a feat that she accomplished in only three years, with a current total of 2,131 points. She has played and started in 105 games and is averaging 20.3 points per game during her prep career. As a junior, Rechis averaged 24.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. She also shot 46.7-percent from three-point range, 82.8-percent from the charity stripe, and 50.8-percent from the field.

Rechis is also a three-time All-District 13AA, All-District 13AA Tournament Team, All-Region 7AA Tournament Team, and All-State selection.

“Amber is a really good shooter who already understands how to read defense,” said Smesko. “She gets open and knocks down shots. She will fit in very well in our system.”

A three-year varsity player in her native Chicago, Ill, Payne signed her national letter of intent with Florida Gulf Coast University. The 5’11 guard, who transferred to Bishop Verot this summer, was a first-team All-State selection the past two years in Illinois at Fenwick High School in Oak Park. She averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals per game, while leading Fenwick to a 29-6 record and the state sectional final last year. As a freshman, Payne attended Elgin St. Edward High School, where she averaged 15 points and six rebounds and also earned All-Conference and First Team All-State honors.

“Katlyn is a really skilled player, but what I like most about her is her competitiveness and toughness,” said Smesko. “She is so strong and aggressive.”

LaDuke, a forward from Flushing High School in Flushing, Mich., had a solid junior season for Flushing High School. LaDuke averaged 18.5 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while shooting 48-percent from the field and 75-percent from the charity stripe. She currently has 1,079 points headed into her senior season. LaDuke was a first-team All-Big Nine Conference pick in girls' basketball as a freshman in 2006, helping Flushing win its second straight league championship. She received special mention AP All-State as a sophomore, in addition to making first-team All-Big Nine. Jordan also led the Big Nine in scoring as a sophomore and as a junior. LaDuke made All-Big Nine for the third time as a junior, while leading Flushing to the state Class A quarterfinals.

The 5-11 wing is also ranked as the sixth best senior in the state of Michigan according to

“Jordan is an exceptional talent who is really versatile,” said Smesko. “She can do just about everything. She is a perfect fit for our system.”

Nancy Aguilar, a native of El Paso, Texas, will join the Eagles after playing two years at Frank Phillips Community College in Borger, Texas. Last season, Aguilar, a 5’10 forward, averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals as a freshman at FPCC. Aguilar averaged 16.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks as a senior at Eastwood High School. She also earned All-City MVP and All-District MVP as a senior for the Troopers.

“Nancy is an energetic player who makes a lot of plays,” said Smesko.” “She is a great rebounder, and she just has a knack for getting the ball.”

The Eagles, who are currently 1-1 overall this season, face the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in a consolation game in the Preseason WNIT this Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Ga.