The talented sisters, who helped lead the Lady Chargers to a spot in the Class 5A North Half tournament last season, both committed to play for Murray State in the coming seasons.
The verbal commitments are non binding, but Erika, who is entering her senior season with Oxford, will make it official on Nov. 10, the first day players can sign with college teams. Amber, who is entering her junior season, will have to wait to make her commitment official until Nov. 2012.
For Erika, Murray State head coach Rob Cross and his assistants made the thought of attending the Kentucky-based school become a reality because of the way she and her sister were courted throughout the recruiting process.
“I chose Murray State because they have been so loyal to me. They have followed me everywhere I went in the summer, to every state I’ve been in. In some cases they were there before me. I know that in my mind, they’re going to be there for me. I was the only point guard they got for this class, me and a post player, were the only players they want to sign for 2012 so you know they’re serious,” said Erika, who chose the Lady Racers over Austin Peay, UAB and Florida A&M. “Even though SEC schools were recruiting me, they never backed down. They were still there. I feel like it doesn’t matter how big the school is, it’s how big you play. I feel like I can be a big fish in a small pond doing great things. I wanted to go to a school where I can get a ring and win a championship.”
The opportunity to play with her sister also sweetened the deal for Erika, who averaged 22.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season en route to being named the EAGLE All-Area Player of the Year in 2011.
“When they offered my sister, I said they were really serious. There aren’t too many schools that do that,” Erika said. “One of the things that stuck out to me was they were all about family. They said God, family, academics and then basketball. They said basketball should be your last worry, that it should be God and family that comes first.”
Erika said she decided to commit during the summer in order to save a spot in case she got hurt as well as to focus on leading the Lady Chargers to the MHSAA state tournament.
“I gave them a verbal commitment in case I get hurt my senior year, I will still have a full scholarship at the end of the day. I didn’t want to wait too late. My mother and my father have been supporting me and they felt good about Murray State,” Erika said.
Amber, who averaged 6.0 points per game last season, said she was excited about playing with her sister in college.
“I think it’s a blessing for me to play with my sister because she’s been with my whole high school career and now she will be there when I get to college. She’s going to push me to go harder when I’m playing basketball,” Amber said. “It’s a very Christian-like school. I decided to commit because you can’t beat two full scholarships and playing with your sister. We’re going to be at the same dorm when she is a sophomore. I love playing with my sister.”
Oxford coach Shayne Linzy raved about the way Murray State recruited his two players and the emphasis they put on family, a big point of emphasis for the Sisks.
“Them both committing and then ultimately signing with Murray State is fantastic. I’ve talked with the coaches and their attitude is very positive,” Linzy said. “I talked to many, many coaches who were recruiting Erika and they are all excellent coaches, very nice, very professional. Murray State was the same way, all the time. They would call me sometimes and not even talk about Erika, just want to know how I was doing. I’m not going to push the girls one way or another, I just want them to play and be happy with whatever decision they’re going to make. I think the coaches at Murray State are excellent coaches, very professional and look like they’re offering more than just basketball, family, and that’s very important to those girls because they are such a close-knit family. They can’t wait to have both the girls up there.”
From an ability standpoint, Linzy said both girls have improved tremendously thanks to their own internal rivalry.
“Anytime you get a chance to play with a sibling, I think the majority of siblings would chose to play together. Erika has done a great job of mentoring and really coaching Amber up during games, during practices, things like that. Sometimes things can get kind of heated because they are sisters, but you see the love between those two girls and both of them wanted to make each other better and help each other. I think Murray State is getting two great young ladies who are going to work hard on and off the court,” Linzy said. “Ability wise, both girls have shown that they can play. Erika obviously is very skilled handling the ball. She is able to drive the lane, she’s a very tough player. Defensive wise, she is as good as it gets. Amber’s strength is she shoots the ball well. You leave her alone outside, you might as well go ahead and give her 3 (points).” (July 26, 2011, Page 8)