CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern head women's basketball coach Fred Applin announced the addition of three players to the 2017-18 roster as Cailah Hicklin, Skyler Hatfield and Kelsie Ruff-Mills will join next season's team.
"I couldn't be happier with the three we signed in the early signing period. All three of these players are very skilled and versatile and have come from winning programs that understand the game of basketball," Applin said. "They are exactly what we needed for this class and they will be an outstanding addition to our program as players, students and most of all, as great people."
Hicklin, a 5-10 power forward from Columbia, S.C., stars at Lower Richland High School under Coach Keturah Jackson. Over the past three seasons, Hicklin has accumulated numerous accolades, including a State Championship title her freshman year. In her sophomore season, she was the lead scorer for the Diamond Hornets and tabbed All-Region, HSSR All-State and the Chairman of the Boards Award. In 2015-16, Hicklin was selected to the South Carolina Junior All-Star Game.
"We are excited about the size and leadership that Hicklin brings to our team," Applin said. "She's a very solid player with tons of potential. She can finish around the basket and her desire and work ethic will allow her to flourish in our system and become a very good player for CSU."
Ahead of her November 19 senior year season-opener, Hicklin was named Columbia Fox57's Scholar Athlete of the Week as a four-year basketball letterman and English department assistant. Hicklin plans to major in Criminal Justice at CSU with her sights set on being a special agent for the FBI.
"I'm genuinely excited about joining the Buccaneer athletic program and being a part of the University as a whole," Hicklin said. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to play for a unique coaching staff and with an elite group of players."
Hatfield, a 5-8 guard from Winston-Salem, N.C., transferred to Calvary Day School her senior year and will be coached by her mother, head coach Kerisa Hatfield. During her first three years of high school, Skyler played for Mount Tabor High School under head coach Rick Anderson. Anderson previously coached Hatfield's older sister, Haleigh, who was a four-year standout for the team and now plays at High Point University. Skyler averaged 17 points per game her junior year and is expected to score her 1000th point this season.
"Skyler Hatfield is an outstanding guard that can flat out score," Applin said. "She has a great understanding of the game and loves basketball. She will bring a variety of skills, leadership and excitement to CSU, and we look forward to watching her develop as a Buccaneer."
Hatfield plans to major in biology with a pre-professional emphasis and hopes to one day use her CSU education to become a neurosurgeon. The North Carolina native is overjoyed to be a part of the Buccaneer family.
"After years of hard work and sacrifice, God answered my prayers," Hatfield said. "When asked why I committed so early, I tell people it was because CSU was a perfect fit. I'll be pre-med, and the staff is excited and vested in me already. Coach Applin believes in me and I know he will push me. I couldn't be more excited to call CSU home."
Ruff-Mills, a guard from Charlotte, N.C., lines up at Hopewell High School under head coach Tyrelle Anderson. Ruff-Mills averaged 12.2 points per game for the Titans last season and has starred for the Charlotte Lady Warriors and Carolina United All-Stars club teams.
"Kelsie Ruff-Mills is a skilled athlete that fits well into our system at Charleston Southern University," Applin said. "She can shoot the outside shot, but is a tremendous threat when attacking the basket. We are excited about the opportunity to coach her," Applin added.
The Queen City native has family living in the greater Charleston area and says CSU has welcomed her with open arms.
"I could not have been more blessed by a better school than Charleston Southern University," Ruff-Mills said. "Coach Applin, along with his team and coaching staff, immediately made me feel like I was at home. They treated me like family and were so eager to answer any questions as well as concerns that I could think of," Ruff-Mills added. "I know they have my back and that CSU is the perfect place to prosper."
Charleston Southern opens the 2016-17 season on Saturday afternoon at No. 22/25-ranked West Virginia. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. with free live video and audio stream on WVUsports.com.