Shelby Wilbanks is moving up to the highest level of amateur competition after two phenomenal seasons on the hardwood at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Wilbanks has inked her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to become the newest addition to Charleston Southern (S.C.) University’s women’s basketball program.
“This has been a dream of hers and her family’s,” said Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes. “She represented us well both on the court and off the court. She’s a people person. She can get along with anybody. She’s consistent in what she does.
“She makes moves on the inside and can step out and shoot the short range jumper, but one thing she’s going to bring to them is an awesome work ethic. She’s one of those players that’s going to do what she needs to do to improve her game. You don’t have to ask her to come to the gym. She’s going to come on her own.”
The Lady Buccaneers are coming off one of the best seasons in school history after setting records for overall wins with 18 and conference victories at 12. Charleston Southern is a member of the Big South Conference and is under the direction of headman Fred Applin.
“I’ve worked hard and I’ve waited for this to come,” Wilbanks said. “I really like the coaches and the team. The place is really beautiful. I’m really looking forward to these new things.”
Wilbanks led the Lady Tigers in scoring for two consecutive seasons and was their top rebounder as well during the 2016-17 campaign. She averaged 17 points per game during her tenure at Northeast with a stellar total of 832 points.
She reached double figures during all but two of her 49 straight starts with the Lady Tigers. Wilbanks also produced 20 double-doubles over her two-year span on the Booneville campus.
Wilbanks posted 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds each outing as a sophomore to guide Northeast to the postseason after a three-year hiatus, including a semifinal berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament.
The Walnut High School graduate was a major factor in helping the Lady Tigers finish eighth in the country this season with 47.2 rebounds per contest as a team. Her rebounding totals were broken into 5.9 defensive and 2.8 offensive.
She played the second most minutes per game of any athlete in the Magnolia State and ranked among the top 10 nationally with 34.5. Wilbanks also compiled averages of two steals, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks during her swan song at Northeast.
Wilbanks scored 20 or more points in a single matchup six times during her sophomore campaign, including a season-high 29 points in a thrilling overtime victory at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
She participated in all but three minutes of the Lady Tigers’ three playoff contests. Wilbanks tallied 16.3 points and 10.6 rebounds in the postseason with a pair of double-doubles as well.
“I’m really glad I came here,” said Wilbanks. “I’ve had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories. I learned to always work hard and to always lead the team as best as you can. It’s going to be different, but I’m excited.”
Wilbanks was a two-time Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State selection and also grabbed NJCAA All-Region 23 honors during her sophomore campaign.
She also earned MACJC Player of the Week recognition on four separate occasions, which is tied with former Northeast standout Aushiana Ivy for the most in program history.
The 5-11 forward claimed the award twice as a freshman, including after setting career-highs with 33 points and 18 rebounds in a double overtime win at Arkansas State University Mid-South.
Wilbanks captured this accolade during her sophomore year after averaging a double-double in victories over Arkansas State Mid-South and Northwest. She later garnered the same prize after accumulating a game-high 22 points in a crucial triumph at Itawamba Community College.
She completed her stint with the Lady Tigers by competing in the annual MACJC All-Star Game in April at East Central Community College’s Brackeen-Wood Physical Education Building.
Wilbanks also stood out in the classroom and obtained the NJCAA Exemplary Academic Achievement Award following her freshman year for having a grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale.
CUTLINES (PHOTOS: Michael H. Miller/Northeast Public Information)
Northeast Mississippi Community College All-Region forward Shelby Wilbanks has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Charleston Southern (S.C.) University. Joining her at a signing ceremony on the Booneville campus were (from left) mother Misty Wilbanks, Shelby Wilbanks and Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes.
Head shot of Shelby Wilbanks, who will continue her basketball career at Charleston Southern (S.C.) University after two stellar years at Northeast Mississippi Community College.