Farmville Central’s Joyner among three signees to ECU women’s hoops team

ECU Pirates

Kim McNeill (ECU Sports Information photo)

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – Three players signed national letters of intent to join the East Carolina women’s basketball team for the 2022-23 season, including the highest-ranked signee in program history, as announced by head coach Kim McNeill on Wednesday.

“I’m extremely excited to announce the addition of these three young ladies to our family,” said McNeill. “We’re continuing to get bigger and more athletic, bringing a lot of versatility to the team with players that are capable of doing a lot of different things, both offensively and defensively. We’re able to keep two kids in the state of North Carolina. All three have played for very, very good AAU programs in Team Curry, Boo Williams and the Carolina Flames. I’m extremely excited about these three young ladies.”

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Amiya Joyner – Small Forward – Farmville, N.C. – Farmville Central

Amiya Joyner has lettered at Farmville Central under head coach Hollis Harper as well as playing for Team Curry under head coach Ashley Rivens. Joyner is the highest-ranked recruit in program history as well as the highest to sign for Coach McNeill, garnering four-stars on ESPN recruiting rankings and checking in at No. 69 nationally and No. 15 among forwards. Joyner has played in the state title game each of the past three seasons, helping Farmville win the 2A State Championship during her sophomore season. The Farmville, N.C., native is a three-time All-State, All-Conference and Conference Player of the Year selection and has helped the Jaguars win the Conference Championship each season since 2017.

McNeill on Joyner: “Amiya MyMy Joyner. I’ve been recruiting this young lady ever since I stepped foot on campus at ECU. To be able to keep such a highly recruited young lady in this state is definitely a big accomplishment for myself and my staff. I would say she’s probably the most highly touted recruit to ever play at ECU and it’s great to keep local talent at home. Hopefully we’ll have all of Farmville filling up Minges next year. MyMy brings a lot of versatility. She can play out on the perimeter, she can post up. She’s a very unwilling passer, she can defend, she can rebound, she can do it all.”

Jayla Hearp – Guard – Hampton, Va., — Smithfield High School

Jayla Hearp spent the first three seasons of her prep career at Hampton High School and she will spend her senior season lettering under head coach Derrick Gatling at Smithfield High School. Hearp also played for head coach Boo Williams at Boo Williams EYBL. Hearp was the two-time Peninsula District Player of the Year while at Hampton and she is the No. 4 ranked recruit in the state of Virginia by Prep Girl Hoops. Along with her Player of the Year honors, Hearp was a two-time First-Team All-District and First-Team All-Region selection while making one All-State First-Team and one All-State Second-Team. The Hampton, Va., native helped Hampton to incredible team success, helping the team return to the state tournament for the first time in 12 years during her freshman season and then one-upping that by leading her squad all the way to the 2020 Class 4A State Championship her sophomore year. Hearp averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists during her freshman campaign, making the All-Tournament team at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament. Hearp averaged 16 points during her sophomore season, making the All-Tournament team once again and adding the MVP trophy at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament. Along with the state title, Hearp helped Hampton win a pair of Peninsula District titles and a Regional Championship while earning All-Tidewater First Team honors in 2019-20. She has a 4.24 GPA and is a member of the Beta Club.

McNeill on Hearp: “Jayla Hearp is a big guard, very versatile. Three-level scorer, she can shoot the three, she can hit the pullup, she can get to the rim. Has played in extremely competitive environments both in high school and in AAU, playing for Boo Williams and then winning a state championship in high school. Extremely competitive, a kid that’s extremely bought in and really wants to be at ECU. I’m looking forward to coaching her and all the things she’s going to bring to our program.”

Bobbi Smith – Guard – Garner, N.C. – Southeast Raleigh High School

Bobbi Smith lettered under head coach Nicole Meyers at Southeast Raleigh High School as well as playing for head coach Arne Morris on the Carolina Flames. Smith is another player that brings championship pedigree to the Pirates, having helped lead the Bulldogs to a 27-1 record and a co-State Championship during her sophomore season. That year, Smith and her squad beat a pair of nationally-ranked squads at the She Got Game Tournament and Smith was named Honorable Mention All-Conference. During a shortened junior season due to Covid-19, Smith helped Southeast Raleigh to a 7-2 record, setting her high school ledger to 59-9 in her three seasons. Smith was named First-Team All-Conference for the first time in her prep career following the season. The Garner, N.C., native will head into her senior year looking to get her team back to the state championship game for the third time in her career after the Bulldogs went 25-6 and reached the title game during her freshman season. She will also be serving as team captain for the second straight season.

McNeill on Smith: “Bobbi is another in-state kid that is actually the first to commit to us. Have been watching her ever since I got to ECU as well. Just a really smooth player, really, really great shooter. Willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Has played for some unbelievable high school and AAU programs so extremely competitive and definitely knows what it takes to win.”

While Joyner, Hearp and Smith will not arrive on campus until the 2022-23 season, the current Pirates will be back in action Friday night at High Point.  

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