MTSU women's basketball coach Rick Insell realized a first in his lengthy head coaching career with the signing of junior college guard Zeynup Canbaz to a National Letter of Intent Monday.
Canbaz hails from Istanbul, Turkey and is a member of the Turkish National Team. She becomes the first International player to sign with Middle Tennessee during Insell's 12-year tenure.
The 5-foot-9 guard completes the 2017 signing class. Canbaz joins JaDona Davis, LaSonja Edwards, Anna Jones and Kara Meadows in the talented class.
"We are very excited about (Canbaz) joining our basketball team," Insell said. "We are excited to get her on board and get her in here where she can learn the system and see where that takes us. We are not putting pressure on her to come in and run the team because she is joining a very talented group.
"(Canbaz) brings a wealth of knowledge and ability. She has International experience and, by playing for the Turkish National Team, she brings the understanding of playing at a high level, a professional level. We look forward to her becoming a Lady Raider."
Canbaz played in 33 games, starting 32, at Western Nebraska Community College last season. The point guard helped lead her team to a 28-5 record, the Region IX championship and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament. Canbaz started 65 of 66 career games at Western Nebraska and fashioned a 58-8 mark in her two seasons there.
Canbaz averaged 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Western Nebraska put together a 16-game winning streak during one stretch during the 2016-17 championship campaign.
Insell said he was impressed with many intangibles regarding Canbaz.
"The young lady came in and made quite an impression during her visit," Insell said. "I was impressed with her attitude and work ethic, on and off the court. She will fit in well with our team. Coach (Tom) Hodges did a good job in the recruitment of Canbaz. I'm very pleased with this class. Coach (Kim) Brewton, Coach (Shalon) Pillow and Hodges all did a good job with this class. I'm excited to get the new players in here and working with our returners this summer."