Gabrielle Essex inks with Shelton State

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2005

DEMOPOLIS – Gabrielle Essex has finally made her decision on where she will play college basketball in 2005, inking a two-year deal with junior college Shelton State on Wednesday afternoon at Demopolis High School.

After a very successful campaign this past season with the Lady Tigers making it all the way to the Final Four, Essex will now take her basketball skills and talent to the next level.

“I’m happy because I am closer to home and I think I have more opportunity of going to a better school,” Essex said.

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“Shelton is the top junior school in the state of Alabama and I wanted to go to a junior college with a strong basketball program.”

Demopolis basketball coach Tony Pittman is also very excited about his player’s decision to attend school at Shelton State.

“I’m excited for her and the opportunity she will have at Shelton State,” DHS head coach Tony Pittman said.

“I’m very pleased with the decision she made and I wish her the best.”

According to Pittman, an end of the year signing of Essex was expected, and now that she has made her decision she can move on with graduation and end of the year activities.

“This is just icing on the cake to yet another wonderful season here,” Pittman said.

“Gabrielle has been a leader for us for four years and we expected this at the end of the year for her to sign with someone, and I think Shelton State is getting a great basketball player and a great student.”

Shelton State women’s basketball head coach Madonna Thompson echoed Pittman’s praise of Essex as she now looks forward to coaching the former DHS star.

“I’m extremely excited,” Shelton State head coach Madonna Thompson said.

“I’ve known about Gabrielle for years because they have been coming to team camp at Alabama and she’s been to a couple of individual camps at Alabama and I worked those for years.

And I’ve been impressed with her for a long time, and you have to be a little bit patient with the signing and I’m extremely pleased.

She’s going to be a big addition to our team.”

With the climb to the next level, Essex will now have to make some vital changes as she works on becoming the guard that Thompson and Shleton State want her to become.

“She’s an all around player,” Thompson said. “She comes from a program where she played a little on the inside and a little on the outside.

She’s probably going to have to do a little bit more of playing on the perimeter now.

We’re going to take her and try to make her more of a true shooting guard.

But she’s got a great body for the game and has just been successful for many years.

We’re very excited about having her.”

Congratulations to Essex, her family, and Demopolis High School on another successful signing.