Cupp signs with Redhawks

Playing Division I basketball is a dream for many players at the high school level. There are only a select few that get the opportunity to realize that dream. Bell County’s Brittney Cupp has been added to that list. The senior Lady Cat signed with Southeast Missouri State on Thursday in front of family and friends.

“I feel very blessed to sign with a D-I school,” said Cupp following the signing. “All the hard work I’ve put in, it’s finally paying off. I’m just excited to take the next step in my career.”

For the past three years, Cupp played for Cumberland Gap — where she helped lead the Lady Panthers to a combined record of 22-36. During her tenure at Cumberland Gap, she averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. She will finish up her high school career at Bell County this season.

“Anytime you see one of your players have the opportunity to go on and play at the next level, you’re happy for them. You want to continue to see them do well,” said Bell coach David Teague. “With Brittney, that’s a goal and a dream that she’s had for a long time. For her to be able to accomplish that, we’re excited for her. I know that she’s going to be a good player for them as she moves forward with her career.”

In addition to high school basketball, Cupp has played on the AAU circuit the past two years for Dream Elite and coach DJ Johnson. The AAU coach said before this past summer, Cupp hadn’t played much exposure. He said that everything was new to her. The team played in several big tournaments that allowed multiple coaches to see her play.

“Her experience was very little, but when she got in the game she performed at a high level,” said Johnson. “The coaches could tell that it was her first time with exposure, but they appreciated what she brought to the table.”

Johnson said the craziest thing about this summer was the coach from Southeast Missouri State that recruited Cupp only saw her play one time, and that one time changed her life and gave her an opportunity to play Division I. She didn’t have any other prior offers.

Johnson said that not only are the Redhawks getting a hark-working athlete, but they are also getting an excellent student.

“(Southeast Missouri State) is getting somebody that’s going to work hard. She’s going to come in the gym. She’s not going to be one of those people that is just there to say she’s on scholarship,” said Johnson. “She’s is there to work hard and earn her scholarship. They haven’t promised her anything on the floor, so she’s going to have to work for it.

“They are also getting a great student in the classroom. That’s the best thing about her. She is really good in the classroom, and she is really goal-driven. They are just going to get a complete athlete.”

Southeast Missouri State plays in the Ohio Valley Conference with other teams such as Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Morehead State, Murray State, Belmont and several others. The women’s basketball team finished with an overall record of 13-17 during the 2016-17 season.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN