MSU impressed with Gussert IQ

EAST LANSING – Lexi Gussert’s versatility, skills and basketball smarts caught the attention of Michigan State Coach Suzy Merchant.

The Michigan State women’s basketball head coach announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent – Lexi Gussert of Crystal Falls, Kennedy Johnson of Galloway, N.J., and Jasmine Lumpkin of Bolingbrook, Ill. The trio will join the Spartan program starting with the 2014-15 season.

The group has been rated as high as No. 20 nationally by Blue Star Basketball.

“Lexi adds to our roster an extremely versatile and skilled player that can play numerous positions,” said Merchant. “She can really shoot the ball from behind the arc, and at the same time she has a tremendous mid-range game and rim attack.

“She also is one of the best passers I’ve ever seen in our game in the last several years. She can hit the open man in full-court transition situations, as well as pick defenses apart in the quarter court. Her IQ of the game is one that is truly special. She just makes everyone around her better.”

Gussert, a 6-foot guard-forward, has been a three-year starter and two-year captain for Forest Park High School and head coach Jeff Syrjanen.

Entering her senior season, Gussert is already Forest Park’s all-time leading scorer with 1,891 points. Also, she is 14th in Michigan high school basketball history with 169 career 3-pointers. Gussert is ranked No. 54 nationally by Blue Star Basketball.

As a junior, Gussert averaged 32.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.9 steals. She was efficient from the floor, shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 46.5 percent from behind the arc and 82.7 percent from the free throw line.

Gussert made 93 3-pointers last season which tied for the second-most in a single season all-time in Michigan high school basketball. Meanwhile, her 809 points last season are tied for fifth-most in a single season.

During the season, she set a career high with 50 points against Rapid River, which were the 10th-most points scored all-time by a Michigan high school player.

Her numbers earned her Associated Press Class D Player of the Year honors last season, while also being named first-team all-state by the Detroit Free Press and Associated Press for the second-straight season.

In addition, she is a two-time winner of the Upper Peninsula Class D Player of the Year and a three-time Most Valuable Player of the Skyline Conference, among numerous other conference and league honors. She plays AAU for Midland Fastbreak and head coach Mark Juengel.

In addition to basketball, Gussert is a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and a three-year letterwinner in golf. She earned all-state honors in volleyball and was the 2012 U.P. Division Champion in golf.

Off the court, she is currently ranked No. 1 in her graduating class with a 3.98 grade-point average, and was named homecoming queen this fall. The daughter of Scott and Kathy Gussert, she has one brother, Andrew.

Johnson, a 6-2 forward, averaged 19.6 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks as a junior.

Lumpkin, a 6-foot guard-forward from Bolingbrook, Ill., has led Joliet Catholic Academy to back-to-back Class 3A state championships. As a junior, Lumpkin averaged 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists per game, while earning first-team all-state honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.