Nov. 9, 2005
Butler head coach Beth Couture stayed close to home with her Class of 2006 recruiting trio, signing three Indiana Junior All-Stars to national letters of intent on Wednesday (Nov. 9), the first day of the national signing period. The Class of 2006 includes Susan Lester of Pendleton Heights, Julie Seiss of Warsaw, and Carmel's Melanie Thornton. All three will play their senior seasons at their respective high schools before joining the Bulldogs for the 2006-07 season.
All three players started off their senior campaigns by earning Region Roundball Review "Class of 2006 Senior 25" honors and being named to the Hoosier Basketball Magazine 2005-06 Girls All-State first team.
"We are extremely excited about this class," said Couture, who enters her fourth season at Butler. "To have three Indiana Junior All-Stars join our program is definitely the direction we have worked hard toward. These players will be a big part of our program taking the next step toward a championship."
Lester capped off her junior season by being named to the 2005 Indiana Junior All-Star Core Team and to the Indianapolis Star's 2005 Super Basketball Team. The 6-1 post player averaged 18.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.5 assists per game for the 19-3 Arabians. Lester is ranked as the fifth-best player in the state in Rick Bolus' High Potential rankings.
"Susan is a great competitor with a never-give-up mentality," said Couture. "She will have an immediate impact with her offensive skills. She combines great low-block moves with three-point range."
The 2005 Hoosier Heritage Conference "Co-Player of the Year" has amassed 1,241 points and 677 rebounds in her three-year career. She is just 215 points and 113 rebounds shy of the Pendleton Heights record, while her 81-percent career free throw shooter is the best mark in school history. She has led coach Shari Doud's team to a 53-16 record the last three seasons and finished the 2004-05 season ranked 21st in the state in rebounding and 28th in scoring.
Seiss averaged 17.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a junior at Warsaw. A 2005 Indiana Junior All-Star North Team honoree, she has seen most of her time for the Tigers at point guard, where she helped the team to the 4A state championship game as a sophomore. At 5-9, Seiss has also shown the ability to put up big scoring nights, highlighted by her 34 points against Perry Meridian in December. Seiss finished in the top 50 in scoring in Indiana last season and was an All-Northern Lakes Conference selection for coach John Snyder.
"Julie is an outstanding young lady with multiple strengths," said Couture. "She has three-point range, but is a great playmaker off the dribble. Julie will also bring strong defensive skills with her to Butler. She's versatile as she could play either of the guard positions."
An all-around athlete, Seiss finished sixth at the IHSAA State Track and Field Championships in May in the 800-meter run. Current Butler volleyball player Michelle DeGeeter joined Seiss on Warsaw's 2004 state runner-up team.
Thornton, a 5-11 forward, averaged 11.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists for Carmel last season. Her rebounding average put her in the Top 50 in the state. Coach Scott Bowen's Greyhounds finished the campaign with a 16-6 record. Her honors include being named to the Indiana Junior All-Star Central Team, All-Metropolitan Athletic Conference and an all-county pick by the Noblesville Daily Times. She is ranked as a top 25 player in Rick Bolus' High Potential rankings. Thornton joined Lester on the Indiana's Finest AAU team this past summer.
"Mel is an all-around athlete," said Couture, who is just eight wins shy of 300 for her career. "She has developed a solid low-block game to go along with being an intense rebounder on both ends of the floor. Mel can run the floor with anyone and uses her quickness to defend both inside and on the perimeter."
Butler, who finished the 2004-05 season with a 14-14 record, returns nine letterwinners from that team and adds four talented newcomers. The Bulldogs open the campaign tonight (Nov. 9) with a 7:30 p.m. exhibition against the Hoosier Lady Stars at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The regular season begins Nov. 18 at Purdue.