distaff bball talent. Which one of these characters do Barnes Arico and Michigan have the inside track on?
Michigan Women's Basketball Recruiting Board
Good question. I like Michigan's chances with Stasha Carey because of the obvious mutual interest there. Same thing with Boogie Brozoski in the 2015 class, although she stated at one time that she might want to stay closer to home, so it wouldn't surprise me in the end if she picks an East Coast school. I think they have a good shot at the Thome sisters as well.
On the flip side, I don't like Michigan's chances with Alyssa Rice, who some believe will end up picking Maryland as she has a friend who's currently a freshman there. And I noted above that Notre Dame might be the favorite for the Gondrezick sisters.
In general, your question is a difficult one to answer because while I have a decent idea of who Michigan has been recruiting, few of the recruits have made any public comments about which schools they're interested in. As the AAU season gets going, there should be more interviews with the prospects, and I'll be able to be a little more definitive about this.
Is she a D1 prospect?
Which one? There are two, and they're both D1 prospects. Haleigh Ristovski, who's a senior, signed with Detroit in the fall. I don't know whether Michigan is recruiting Lola Ristovski, but at least some consider her one of the top sophomores (class of 2015) in the state. Mick McCabe of the Free Press, for example, had Lola as his #4 sophomore in the state, following Kalabrya Gondrezick, Tania Davis, and Cierra Rice.
By the way, Michigan has expressed interest in Davis, a point guard out of Goodrich H.S., and she's been on campus for an unofficial, but I think she's likely to end up picking MSU.
do i want a 5'5" point guard named boogie brozoski?
absofuckinglutely yes, i do
Is she ignoring Michigan girls on
purpose or is it a down year in MI?
Great update. Looks like we've got some good options.
Has the talent in the state of Michigan gone down significantly in the last 15 years in girls bball like it has in boys? Don't know much about the trends in women's recruiting.
I'll respond here to the two questions above about in-state recruiting. I don't think the coach and her staff are ignoring the state of Michigan, but it's a combination of there not being a large number of top in-state prospects and the coaches having already established connections elsewhere, such as the West (especially California) and the NY/NJ area. In 2014, there's only one in-state prospect that I've seen on any national top-100 lists—Asia Doss, a point guard at Detroit Country Day. She's been on campus for an unofficial, but I didn't put her on the board, partly because I've heard little else about her recruiting.
I'm not sure about the long-term trends, but generally over the last few years and in the rankings for 2014 and beyond, there has typically been only one or two Michigan prospects in the national top-100 lists. To take the Michigan women's program to the elite level, Barnes Arico and her staff are going to have to recruit elite prospects (obviously), and so they'll have to look outside Michigan for the bulk of their players.
I think Ohio is going to be a key recruiting ground for them. In 2014 there are probably a dozen or more nationally ranked prospects from that state, so the coaches will probably be spending a lot of time there.
is absolutely not interested in Michigan and it hurts my heart because she's my cousin, Asia Robeson. She only has eyes for East Lansing. I've been working on her for as long as I can remember.
I've been wondering about her, and had heard little about who's recruiting her or which schools she's interested in, so thanks for posting this. She's definitely one of the top in-state prospects in the 2014 class—LBI has her at #2 in their rankings, behind only Asia Doss. Nationally, she's probably just outside some of the services' top 100.
so that was a bummer when I realized it wasn't
My bad. I can certainly see why someone would think that. I'll change the headings from "20** Class" to "20** Targets." Thanks for pointing that out.
A nice Clarion-Ledger feature article on 2014 target Christa Reed—Family tradition: Bay's Dandy Dozen standout Reed chases title, sisters—includes an updated list of offers and a clue to her decision timeline:
So far, she has scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, UCF and South Alabama.
. . .
Reed likely won’t make a decision about college until her senior season. She plans to follow her sisters into the medical field someday. Stephanie is in dental school. Kendra is finishing up her PhD in biomedical research. And Tamara is in nursing school. Christa wants to become a pharmacist.
Her interest in the medical field is certainly a selling point for Michigan.
Here's a video with Arike Ogunbowale highlights from a recent game. It gives a good idea of her all-around game—and she's just a h.s. sophomore.
I've added Taylor Brame to the board as another 2014 target. She's a 5-10 forward out of Whitney Young H.S., one of Chicago's perennial basketball powers. One of the recruiting services has her in their top 100, at #91, and MWRR also has her as their #4 prospect in the state of Illinois for the 2014 class. MWRR reported last summer that she holds a Michigan offer. See the board for her other offers and a scouting report.
A new women's basketball recruiting site called Prospects Nation launched today, run by the people who used to cover women's basketball recruiting at ESPN. They've posted a top 60 for 2014 and a top 25 for 2015. Several Michigan targets appear in their rankings:
- #12 Alyssa Rice
- #43 Kristen Simon
- #46 Katelynn Flaherty
- #54 Stasha Carey
- #59 Erin Garner
- #13 Arike Ogunbowale
I've added these rankings to the board, using the abbreviation PN.
Also, Blue Star updated their rankngs for 2015, including these changes for three Michigan targets:
- Arike Ogunbowale: moved up to #16 (was #40)
- Hallie Thome: moved down to #42 (was #32)
- Boogie Brozoski: moved down to #60 (was #49)
The Gatorade state players of the year for 2012-13 were announced today, with the winners selected "based on athletic production and impact in season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership."
Three of Michigan's targets were selected for their respective states (links to the page posted for each player):
Also: Christa Reed recently led her team to the state 4A championship and a perfect record of 36-0.
Erin Garner: In a nice article on her being named athlete of the week, she claims to still be growing:
Garner, a 6-foot-3-inch and still rising junior (“I’m pretty sure I have a few more inches in me,” she said) . . .
Garner led Trenton Catholic to a state title in the Non-Public B class. TCA then went into New Jersey's Tournament of Champions (TOC), where they lost to Point Pleasant Beach (see below).
Katelynn Flaherty: She recently posted a list of schools she's considering that included all those on the previous list (including Michigan), plus Florida, Indiana, and Colorado (see the board for the full list).
Flaherty has a highly touted teammate, sophomore Marina Mabrey, who may be a Michigan target as well. Marina, a 5-11 wing, is the younger sister of Michaela Mabrey, who now plays for Notre Dame. The recruiting services have Marina ranked in the top 10 nationally for 2015, so Michigan would likely be a long shot to land her.
Cierra Rice: Another article worth a look, from MLive—Grosse Pointe South sophomore Cierra Rice proving that she is the next big thing in girls basketball. Rice has led GPS to the state semifinals in class A. GPS will play Dexter tomorrow in the semis. If they win, they might face Grand Haven in the final. Grand Haven, which plays Westland John Glenn in the semis, is led by future Wolverine volleyball player Abby Cole.
Gondrezick sisters: Both Kalabrya and Kyrse were named to the class B first-team all-state team.
Kysre Gondrezick averaged 28.6 points, 13 rebounds and five steals and led the Tigers to a 15-5 record and a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference Big 16 championship.
Kalabrya Gondrezick, a first-team All-State selection last season as well, averaged 17.2 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Alyssa Rice: Named first-team all-Ohio for Division I.
Rice, a 6-3 junior center and one of the most coveted recruits in the Midwest, averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and shot 65 percent from the field.
Stasha Carey was named "special mention" all-Ohio for Division I, while Hallie Thome made third-team all-Ohio for Division II.
Quick follow-up on the above post: Shabazz beat Point Pleasant Beach tonight 65-50, with Katelynn Flaherty scoring 20 in defeat.
Grand Haven defeated Westland John Glenn 55-46 behind a dominating performance by Abby Cole, who recorded 23 points, 19 rebounds, and 12 blocks. She was also named AP Class A player of the year earlier today.
In the other semi, Grosse Pointe South downed Dexter 48-29, with Cierra Rice leading the way with 21 points.
So in the final Saturday, it'll be a rematch of last year's Class A final, won by Grand Haven, which is now on a 50-game winning streak.
UPDATE: Grand Haven defeated GPS 60-54 in overtime to win their second-straight title. Cole finished with 11 points after having to sit out much of the second half because of foul trouble. She also had 7 rebounds and 8 blocked shots. Rice had a game-high 24 points for GPS.
Here's another article on the game for those interested (with a brief video of Grand Haven's victory celebration): Sort of like last year for defending Class A state champion Grand Haven
Rice finished with a game-high 24 points to cap off a stellar playoff run in which she scored 20-plus points in four of South's final five games. Despite standing just 5-foot-8, Rice went right into Cole the entire game, earning each of her points near the basket.
"I knew (Cole) was fouling so I just thought to keep going at her, hoping they would call a fouls," Rice said. "I just wanted to try to make plays to try and get her out of the game."
Arike Ogunbowale received another top honor, this time the Associated Press Player of the Year award for the state of Wisconsin. The article mentions her 11 scholarship offers and that she's likely to pick up more during the upcoming AAU season:
The scholarship offers are piling up, too. In addition to Wisconsin and Marquette, she has offers from nine other high-major programs with the prospect of more coming after she hits the club ball circuit this spring and summer.
That's what she's preparing for now.
"I'm training every day," she said. "I'm running a lot, too, so I'm keeping up my stamina because I'm going to need endurance for AAU. You have to play a lot of games in a day. I'm just getting sharper with my handles and my defense, more agility work and speed (work) and just trying to get better."
Below is a video featuring Ogunbowale posted earlier this month after she won a local student-athlete award. It has more highlights of her play, plus interview snippets.
State tournaments in New York and California are wrapping up this week. Earlier today, Long Island Lutheran won its Class A semifinal game, led by Boogie Brozoski.
Boogie Brozoski, a sophomore point guard with the savvy and skills of a senior, scored 10 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter as Long Island Lutheran rallied to defeat Nazareth, 44-36, Friday morning in the state Federation Tournament of Champions Class A girls basketball semifinal at the Times Union Center.
Another story on the game offered this:
During a timeout, Lutheran sophomore standout Boogie Brozoski - playing with a clear facemask on after breaking her nose five weeks ago - told her teammates to get her the ball and that said she was going to win the game. On cue, she drained a pair of 3-pointers that sparked the big game-ending run. Brozoski scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter.
Lutheran coach Rich Slater made a simple statement about the difference in the game, saying of Brozoski,"We have her and they don't."
LuHi will play Troy H.S. tomorrow in the final.
In California, Windward defeated Mater Dei last Saturday to capture the CIF Southern California Open Division regional championship. Kristen Simon notched a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Simon's coach called her "maybe the best post player in the country. There’s no high school girl that can guard her." The linked article also includes a video with game highlights and clips from the postgame press conference. From even the brief snippets of Simon in action (she's #55 in white), it's clear she would be unlike any post player Michigan has had in recent memory.
Windward (32-0) will face the Northern California champion, Bishop O'Dowd (29-3), in the state final tomorrow. MaxPreps has previews of that game and the other California finals.
Siera Thompson (2013 signee)
One of the other California finals tomorrow pits Serra against Salesian, with Serra being led by Michigan signee Siera Thompson. Last Saturday, Thompson had 24 points and 7 rebounds to lead Serra to the Southern California regional championship in Division IV. Serra will play Salesian in the state final tomorrow. In advance of the final, the Los Angeles Wave newspaper posted a preview that focused heavily on Thompson.
The Michigan-bound Thompson does it all, as averages of 17.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 4.1 assists attest. Her 83 3-point baskets and 79 percent shooting from the foul line are other examples of what she can do on the court.
As a big-game player, nobody rises to the occasion like her. In the regional final against St. Bernard, she had 24 points, seven rebounds and a couple of steals. She was 9 for 10 from the free throw line, many late in the contest, to keep the Vikings at bay.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all with 28-point games as a sophomore to take us to a CIF championship, she comes back and gives us steady play, steady leadership, steady point guardsmanship,” Hadley said. “She made the right plays. She’s always in the right place. She battled on the boards, she got a couple of steals. She hit some huge shots and with the game on the line, you never see her miss free throws.”
Danielle Williams (2013 signee)
This is old news but worth noting: Danielle Williams and her St. Mary's team won their third-straight state title last month.
Paige Rakers (2013 signee)
Her team didn't make it very far in the Illinois state playoffs, but Paige Rakers had a fine senior season, garnering first-team all-state honors.
Carlyle's Paige Rakers was chosen to the first team of The Associated Press' Class 2A All-State Girls Basketball Team.
Rakers, a 5-foot-11 senior who has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Michigan, is the leading scorer in the metro-east with an average of 22 points per game.
Rakers also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.62 assists and 2.41 steals per game.
Shannon Smith (2013 signee)
Shannon Smith is the former North Carolina player who's playing one year of juco ball at Trinity Valley CC (34-1), the #1 women's juco team in the country. TVCC's only loss of the season came via forfeit, when they were left with too few players for a game after several players (including Smith) were suspended for one game for their part in a "on-court altercation" (Smith and most of the others were suspended for leaving the bench during the brouhaha).
With a win yesterday over Blinn, TVCC has moved into the semifinals of the NJCAA national championship. In that victory, Smith led the way with 31 points, including shooting 7-for-10 from three-point range. Smith, Thompson, and Rakers are all capable three-point shooters, so the Michigan coaches will have a number of long-range options next year despite the departure of Kate Thompson.
UPDATE: Tonight, TVCC defeated Gulf Coast State in a semifinal, 75-71. Smith led TVCC with 23 points. They will play for the national championship tomorrow night at 8pm ET. A link to a live stream is available here.
Serra defeated Salesian 62-60, with Siera Thompson leading the way with 26 points, including some clutch free throws down the stretch. First-ever state title for Serra.
Daily Breeze: Serra beats Salesian Richmond for a state championship
Seniors Siera Thompson and DeAndrea Toler capped their careers in style by combining for 46 points, including 14 of Serra's 18 in the fourth quarter, to lift the Cavaliers to a 62-60 victory over Richmond of Salesian to secure their first Division IV state title.
"This is just a blessing. We've worked really hard for this the whole year," said Thompson, who scored 26 points, including 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.
"I just thank God and my teammates for helping me and supporting me in my last game."
Long Island Lutheran captured the Class A title in New York with a 62-45 victory over Troy. Boogie Brozoski tallied 14 points and 5 steals and was named the tournament MVP for Class A.
"We brought the energy. We wanted it and we had confidence," said point guard Boogie Brozoski who had 14 points, five steals and was voted Class A Tournament MVP. "It's a great feeling when everyone is on top of their game."
Brozoski gave her teammates and coach Rich Slater plenty to be happy about all weekend. In earning tournament MVP honors, she scored 33 points in the two games, with 10 steals and six assists.
"She's a special, special kid," Slater said. "Her job is to make other players better, and she does that. She's always banged up, but she's definitely fearless."
Playing with a clear glass facemask to protect her broken nose, suffered five weeks ago in a collision with a teammate during practice, Brozoski flew all over the court, applying defensive pressure with her quick hands, cutting off dribbling lanes with her quick feet, slicing through traffic for hard-nosed drives and even grabbing 12 rebounds in the two games.
Trinity Valley defeated Central Arizona 83-71 to win the NJCAA national championship. Shannon Smith had 14 points in the game, and she was named the tournament MVP.
Shannon Smith was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player as she finished her career with 14 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Bishop O'Dowd beat Windward (and Kristen Simon) 60-45.
Junior Kristen Simon recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 4 minutes 56 seconds left.
As noted in a previous post, Taylor Rooks earlier this month was named Gatorade Player of the Year for New Jersey, and now the Courier News of Central New Jersey has named her their Player of the Year. See Rooks Makes It Look Easy.
Since enrolling at Gill St. Bernard’s School, Rooks has become involved in numerous charitable endeavors and maintained a 4.2 grade-point average, but she is best known for being the budding two-way star behind the girls basketball team’s back-to-back Somerset County Tournament championships.
“At the end of games, I’ll look at the stats and say, ‘She had 30 points?’” coach John Slackman said. “She only takes 13 to 15 shots a game, so it feels like a quiet 30. She doesn’t force anything. She lets the game come to her, but when we need a play or a basket she knows it’s the time she needs to step up.”
Rooks averaged 27.4 points while shooting 51 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free-throw line, and added 9.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.
The article also has some good news and bad news in regard to U-M's chances of landing Rooks:
The likely next step along the path is choosing a college – and again academics and basketball are colliding as Rooks lists Stanford, Michigan, Harvard and Princeton among her top choices. She also plans to visit powerhouse Connecticut, which has expressed interest.
“It’s whenever I know this is the school I want to go and this is the school I’ll have success at,” Rooks said of the timeline for her decision. “Academics are huge because basketball only lasts for so long. I’m going to have a life after basketball and I want to be the most prepared.”
That Michigan is among only a select number of schools she mentions is promising, as is her emphasis on academics. But Stanford and UConn are two of the elite programs in women's basketball, so the Michigan coaching staff is up against some stiff competition here.
The word on Twitter is that Rooks will in fact be visiting UConn tomorrow for their opening NCAA tourney game. Also in attendance will be Sadie Edwards, another highly rated 2014 prospect from New Jersey who recently committed to UConn. Rooks and Edwards play on the same AAU team (as does Katelynn Flaherty), so that's another factor to keep in mind.
The Detroit News unveiled its girls basketball Dream Team and all-state teams yesterday, and Kysre Gondrezick made the Dream Team—the News' picks for the top five players in the state, inclusive of Class A through Class D—in her freshman season. Their squib on her lists a couple of new teams that are expressing interest in her—Stanford and Purdue.
Gondrezick averaged 29.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.8 steals. She shot 42.3 percent overall, 38.1 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the free-throw line. She already has drawn interest from schools such as Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan State and Purdue.
Michigan isn't listed, but I have no doubt that there's mutual interest between her and U-M.
Abby Cole was also selected to the Dream Team, while Cierra Rice and Kalabrya Gondrezick were named to the first teams for Class A and B, respectively.
One of the writers covering the New York playoffs got an update from Boogie Brozoski on her schools list. St. John's has moved from "showing interest" to having offered her a scholarship (along with Michigan and Hofstra). And three new schools are now showing interest in her: Louisville, Maryland, and Virginia Tech.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. If Michigan can overcome her interest in possibly picking a college closer to home, they do have a clear advantage in having been the first major D1 school to offer her a scholarship.
Star Ledger All-State and Other Teams
The Star Ledger released their All-State, All-Group, etc. honors today. Taylor Rooks was named their state player of the year—see this article on her. Katelynn Flaherty was selected first-team All-State, and there's an article on her as well. (Also on the first team was Flaherty's teammate Marina Mabrey, the subject of this article.)
Taylor Rooks was recently featured on her high school's website—Standout Athlete Taylor Rooks ’14 Named Gatorade® New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year
I'm sure it would be a mistake to read too much into this, but check out what Rooks was wearing at the assembly where the school honored her.
Original caption: Taylor Rooks '14 receives formal recognition as the 2012-13 Gatorade® New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year from GSB Director of Athletics David Pasquale at Upper School assembly.
Here's another Arike Ogunbowale video—a recent interview on a local TV station, with more in-game highlights. She handled the interview like a pro! She seems like a perfect fit at Michigan, both in terms of her obvious intelligence and articulateness and her basketball skills, which would be perfect for Barnes Arico's preferred up-tempo style of play.
This may not amount to anything, but message board chatter says that Kaneisha Horn, a 6-1 redshirt sophomore forward at Alabama, plans to transfer, and it appears that Michigan and Florida State are among the schools she's considering. Horn was a McDonald's All-American in high school, and ESPN had her ranked #5 in the 2010 class. It looks like she had a pretty good freshman year at Alabama and then sat out the next year with a torn ACL. She started almost every game in 2012-13 for Alabama, averaging 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. She'll have to sit out 2013-14 and will then have just one year of eligibility left for 2014-15.
UPDATE1: Ole Miss just hired a new women's basketball coach, and it appears that they are also among the schools Horn is considering. She's an Alabama native, so it wouldn't be a surprise if she stayed in the South, but evidently she does has some family in Michigan.
UPDATE2: Alabama's women's basketball coach has stepped down and been reassigned to an administrative post. Theoretically, the new Alabama coach—not yet named—could persuade Horn to stay put.
UPDATE3: Another twist to this: Horn evidently plans to stay at Alabama through the summer and graduate in August. She could then, presumably, take advantage of the graduate school exception to the transfer rules and immediately play in the fall at her new school. To say that Michigan could use an experienced frontcourt player like Horn for the 2013-14 season would be a major understatement.
TRANSFER SIDE NOTE: It appears that another Michigan player might be transferring out.
Kaneisha Horn's intention to transfer finally made it into a newspaper, the Tuscaloosa News: Two players leave Alabama women's basketball team. The article doesn't add much that wasn't already known, other than that she's been granted her release to transfer, so she's definitely not returning to Alabama. There's nothing on which schools she's considering.
The latest word is that Kaneisha Horn is in Southern California today for a visit to USC. It also appears that she's considering Texas, and she plans to meet with the new Alabama coaching staff, so perhaps there's still a chance she stays put. Her aim is still to graduate in August, so if she does transfer she'll be able to play immediately and have two years of eligibility.
Kaneisha Horn is in Austin for a visit to Texas, so USC and Texas are two schools she's definitely considering. I haven't heard anything about her timeframe for making a decision, and as far as I know she hasn't yet visited Michigan.
From what I've been able to gather, the Michigan coaches are still very actively pursuing Kristen Simon, the 6-1 forward/post out of Windward (Darius Morris's old high school). Below is a highlight reel posted a week or so ago in which she displays—among other skills—a variety of post moves, including a very nice hook shot.
Arike Ogunbowale: now has 13 offers, with the newest ones from Purdue and Cincinnati.
Christa Reed: featured player in this Prospects Nation rundown:
The steady improvement of Reed was very apparent at this weekend’s Pre-Season Shootout. The 6-foot small forward, is very efficient in the way she plays the game. Her feel for the game is elevating and offers her the opportunity to be more of a scoring threat. Reed showed that she has worked on her mid-range jumper and has also increased her range. She continues to make shots off the dribble and stretch defenses. A missing part of her arsenal is the ability to confidently attack the rim, which will add a new dimension to her game.
Erin Garner: Below is a recently posted highlight video, from a playoff game against Taylor Rooks's school. Garner, #34 in blue, scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the game.
Last week, OSU hired a new women's basketball coach, Kevin McGuff. He's an Ohio native and spent nine years as Xavier's head coach before spending two years at Washington. I think Ohio has now instantly turned into a tougher place to recruit for Michigan and other schools because McGuff is going to do much better at in-state recruiting than his predecessor had been of late.
The Dispatch has an article out on McGuff quickly reaching out to the state's top players. One of them is Alyssa Rice, and the article, apparently based on info from her high school coach, mentions just five schools "on her list": OSU, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. No mention of Michigan, so I'm even less optimistic of the Wolverines' chances with Rice than I already was.
There's some possibly better news on another Ohio player, Makayla Waterman, a 6-2 forward out of Fairmont H.S. in Kettering, Ohio. There was a previous indication of Michigan interest in her, but this article mentions just three suitors for her—OSU, Michigan, and Michigan State—so maybe there's greater mutual interest than I had thought. In the 2014 class, Waterman has national rankings of #15, #26, #30, and #62 from various services.
ESPN has an article out on Makayla Waterman and two other 2014 Ohio prospects, all of whom are playing on the same AAU team. It says that Kathryn Westbeld has made unofficial visits to Ohio State, Connecticut, Michigan State, Dayton, Xavier, Notre Dame, and Florida, and on most of the trips Waterman accompanied her. It goes on to say that Waterman has separately gone on unofficials to Kentucky and Purdue. There's no mention of Michigan, so I think it's safe to leave Waterman in the long-shot category.
The Michigan Daily, in its article today about last night's awards banquet, confirmed what I alluded to a few posts above about another player transferring out:
Note: Sophomore guard Brenae Harris was absent from the banquet. Harris, who averaged 12 points per game, will be transferring before the start of next season.
This news is not that surprising, given all the guards coming in in the fall. Harris would have faced a pretty tough fight for playing time next year. It appears she might be headed to Xavier (or possibly Toledo).
With the departures of Aquashia Anderson and Symone Denham midseason, Michigan at this point will have 11 scholarship athletes on the roster for 2013-14. So there's certainly space for some late additions, such as Kaneisha Horn.
In regard to the 2014 class, there will likely be at least a couple more open scholarships by then, so the potential exists for a large recruiting class of 4 or 5 that year.
An ESPN "Meet the Prospects" feature on Alyssa Rice pretty much seals the deal that Michigan is out of the picture (as are Pitt and Stanford). She mentions the same five schools noted in the Dispatch article discussed in an earlier post:
Future college: I’m undecided and considering Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio State, Virginia and West Virginia.
In addition to deleting Rice from the recruiting board, I'll also add a new evaluation for Christa Reed, who in this Blue Star writeup was included as one of the standouts of a recent AAU event.
Shakena Richardson, a 5-5 sophomore point guard, has been granted an unrestricted release by Rutgers and will transfer. Michigan is among the schools she's considering.
According to the father, there has been a smattering of early interest from a host of schools, including Seton Hall, Fordham, Temple and La Salle. He added that other out-of-area BCS Conference schools have gotten in the mix as well.
Richardson has five official visits at her disposal. Her father said four of the five will be Florida State, Michigan, Memphis and Virginia Tech. They will decide on a fifth visit later and indications are they would like to have a new school picked by the end of May.
That fifth visit is not expected to go to a local school like Seton Hall or Fordham because those are drivable destinations.
“We’ll look for more of an uptempo style of play that suits her,” Frankie Richardson said.
Richardson was highly rated coming out of high school—ESPN had her at #18 nationally. During her sophomore year at Rutgers, she started 11 of 30 games, averaging 5 points and 2.8 assists per game. Given that she's looking for a program with more of an uptempo style of play, Michigan would be a good fit. It's likely that Barnes Arico tried to recruit her when she was coaching at St. John's as Richardson hails from Neptune, New Jersey.
Latest on Shakena Richardson is that she took an official visit to Memphis last weekend and will unofficially visit La Salle this weekend. Next weekend, she'll take an official to either Florida State or Virginia Tech, and then it appears she'll visit Michigan the weekend of Memorial Day. A decision by the end of the month is still what her and her family are aiming for.
Shakena Richardson is heading to Tallahassee today for an official visit to Florida State. This will be her second official visit (the first was Memphis), and she's also made an unofficial visit to La Salle.
It sounds like Shakena Richardson had a very good visit to Florida State. She now plans to take an official visit to Michigan starting on May 29 and then make her decision. Perhaps the coaches will have her and Kaneisha Horn on campus at the same time.
Shakena Richardson's official visit to Michigan is still on for today/tomorrow. But she may next take an official visit to Virginia Tech before making her decision.
Word is that Shakena Richardson and her family had a "very good" visit to Michigan, and she will make her transfer choice on Monday. They've decided not to visit Virginia Tech. It looks like it could come down to Florida State and Michigan.
Shakena Richardson just announced her choice on Twitter: Florida State.
EDIT: Here's a story on her decision: Richardson to transfer from Rutgers to Florida St.
She's quoted as saying, "I sat down with my parents and it was a very tough decision between Florida State and Michigan.” (Not that finishing second means much in recruiting.)
Kristen Simon is the subject of another ESPN "Meet the Prospects" feature. Unfortunately, there's little on her recruiting situation, but it is now clear how much she idolizes Kobe Bryant.
Full Court recently published a rundown of top players at the Boo Williams AAU event, with Taylor Rooks among those singled out:
Taylor Rooks, 6-0, F, NJ Demons (Warren, New Jersey)
Rooks was nothing short of terrific in Hampton leading the Demons in scoring on several occasions. Having the reputation of an athletic but undersized power forward, she repeatedly stepped out to hit baseline threes. The stock of this member of the Full Court Fresh 50 is currently moving higher as her ability to play the small forward position at the high major level seems to have increased in the eyes of college recruiters.
I should note also that this rundown also includes Brooke Copeland, a 6-2 forward out of Bradley H.S. in Tennessee. Michigan has shown some interest in her. Also included are two in-state prospects—DCD's Asia Doss and Kalamazoo's Asia Robeson—both of whom were discussed briefly in earlier posts in this thread.
One more item: USA Basketball today announced the 33 prep players (classes of 2015 and 2016) who have been invited to the women’s U16 National Team Trials, to be held May 23-27. The invitees include Arike Ogunbowale and Kysre Gondrezick. An additional 100 to 125 players who applied for a spot at the trials are also expected to participate. The 12-member team will compete in the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, which will be held in Mexico in June.
With the AAU season starting, new Michigan targets are beginning to emerge, and here are four where there seems to be some (early) mutual interest:
Theresa Ekhelar: 6-5 center, Woodbridge H.S. (NJ), class of 2015. A Full Court rundown of an event last October included this scouting report on her:
[Ekhelar] is a legit 6-5 with a strong athletic build. She displayed good feet and hands and posted hard and multiple times per possession. Theresa tended to favor the right block and protected the right shoulder (for her baby hook). I was most impressed with her ability to run the court. She scored 2-3 baskets a game just by out running her defender. Ekhelar did a great job keeping the ball alive on the offensive glass. She displayed a high energy level and was vocal on the defensive end. Right now she has 14-15 foot range and can finish around the rim. Once she develops a repertoire on the low block she will be a monster.
In addition to Michigan, other schools expressing interest in Ekhelar include Penn State, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State.
Jordan Moore: 6-3 center, Stony Point H.S. (Round Rock, TX), class of 2015. The Austin American-Statesman named her to their All-Central Texas first team, as well as Newcomer of the Year.
A 6-foot-3-inch sophomore, Moore averaged 15.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She also recorded 94 total blocks.
“She’s so fun to coach because she’s like a sponge,” said Stony Point coach Keith Allen. “When you teach her something, she really takes it in and applies it to her game.”
Premier Basketball Report posted this evaluation of Moore last month:
2015 Jordyn [sic] Moore of Texas Elite Christian dominated the paint all weekend. She has the length, timing and body control to shut the painted area down. For her size, she can get up and down the court extremely well. She has a lean build but will only get stronger. She showed good shot blocking, the ability to score on put backs, and keeping the ball high in traffic. Look for Moore to me a mid to high major player in the class of 2015.
Kianna Ray: 6-1 wing, Bowie H.S. (Austin, TX), class of 2016. During her freshman year at Bowie, Ray averaged 11.8 points per game. Ray and Jordan Moore play on the same AAU team, Texas Elite Christian. In their profile of her, Premier Basketball Report said she was considering New Mexico, South Carolina, and North Texas and offered this evaluation:
Kianna is a very athletic wing that gets out in transition with the guards and bothers shots inside due to her size. Good play or bad play she appears to maintain her composure and her focus. Her game itself is evolving as she's becoming more and more of a perimeter threat that can create off the dribble. Kianna is a young talented player with a tremendous upside.
Peach State posted this evaluation in a March rundown:
A left-handed forward, Ray is a versatile prospect who projects to play either forward position at the next level. Right now, she is at her best making plays around the rim off missed shots and knocking down the face-up jumper. Here it seemed that she was in the mix on every play regardless of the end of the floor where the action occurred. Standing 6-0, Ray will have to get stronger to take contact and still finish at the collegiate level. Working on using her right hand to create driving opportunities on that side of the floor will be important to her development as well. That said her skill set is coming along quite nicely.
Briana Johnson: 5-5 point guard, Long Beach Polytechnic H.S. (CA), class of 2016. Johnson is an AAU teammate (on Cal Sparks Gold) of 2014 Michigan target Kristen Simon, and that’s the same AAU team that 2013 signee Siera Thompson played on. Here's part of a Passthaball evaluation of Johnson:
Johnson is a quick – explosive point guard with a great first step and although a freshman she is very comfortable with the basketball in her hands. Johnson has quickly become one of the Long Beach Poly Lady Jackrabbits rising stars. . . . Although she has a lot to work on to be a overall complete player, if she works on those things like she has worked on the things she does well now Johnson will truly be a top 100 player in her class.
It appears that Michigan is one of the first schools to express interest in her.
Here are a couple more 2014 prospects on Michigan's radar. I'll add more info on them when I get a chance.
Jillian Dunston: 6-1 wing, Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington, MD).
Kia Nurse: 6-0 guard, St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School (Hamilton, ON).
Yet another Cal Sparks Gold player who has long been on Michigan's radar is Arica Carter, a 5-8 guard out of Long Beach Poly (making her a teammate of Briana Johnson). I hadn't put her on the original recruiting board because I didn't have any recent info on her, but I've now found some reports indicating that Michigan remains one of the schools very interested in her, along with Kansas, Utah, and Arizona.
The only site for which I could find a ranking for Carter is ASGR, which has her at #115 in the 2014 class. Carter led Long Beach Poly to a CIF Division I state title in March. During their run to the title, a profile of Carter was published that included this:
They call her “Stretch,” a nickname that’s fitting in a number of ways for Poly’s junior guard Arica Carter.
Her abilities have seemed to stretch themselves this season—averaging over 11 points per game, she’s the Jackrabbits’ top scorer, and yet coach Carl Buggs also says she’s his team’s best defender as well. And her value on both sides of the court has helped to stretch the Jackrabbits’ season all the way to the final game of the year, in this Friday’s state championship against Berkeley.
“She has a complete game,” says Buggs. “She’s a five-tool player, and she does so many things you sometimes don’t see it. She has the ability to score, to score in crunch time, to make an assist, and she plays great defense.”
That article also says she has a GPA of 3.5. Carter averaged 11 points, 3 assists, 3.9 steals, and 3.5 rebounds this past season, and the Long Beach Press-Telegram named her their player of the year, while Cal-Hi Sports placed her on their second-team all-state elite team (alongside Siera Thompson and Kristen Simon). I found one scouting report on her, which I'll include on the recruiting board.
The video below from December includes a brief look at her game—starting around the 3:30 mark.
I should also note that Michigan had offered another Cal Sparks Gold player last summer, Emoni Jackson, a 6-1 wing out of St. Bernard H.S. (Playa del Rey, CA), also in the 2014 class. Jackson later in the summer suffered a torn ACL and sat out her junior year. There's been little chatter about her, although that might change if she returns to the court this summer.
Recent report indicates that Michigan has offered Maria Backman, a 6-2 wing out of Cardinal Spellman H.S. in the Bronx, class of 2014. See the board for other schools interested and a scouting report. In April, the New York Daily News named her their Bronx girls basketball player of the year and had this to say about her:
The highly-recruited junior led Spellman to the CHSAA Class A State final for the first time ever.
Backman could do it all, whether she was taking her defender down low or roaming the outside for long-distance threes or even taking her defender off the dribble. Backman, a 6-2 forward, could fill up the basket when she wanted but was also the consummate teammate and coach on the floor, using her high basketball IQ to affect the flow of the game.
She's also a skilled defender, anchoring Spellman's zone in the middle with active feet and hands. A gym rat, Backman worked hard to raise the level of her game since she was a raw freshman. . .
She averaged 26.3 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to lead the team in each category.
Although Backman doesn't appear in any of the publicly available national rankings, she's a 4-star to ESPN and 3-star to Prospects Nation. Given her position ranking, she is just outside ESPN's top 60 for 2014.
A New York Post article on her from last July can be found here.
NYG Hoops Report has a post on Maria Backman trimming her list to 15. She says:
"These schools are what's left: Michigan, Georgetown, Yale, Virginia tech, St. John's, NC Stat, Boston College, Auburn, Rutgers, Fordham UCF, ECU, Providence, Hofstra, Delaware."
"My goal is to get it down to 10 by June and 5 by July. To afford schools the opportunity to select other student-athletes; I've visited Yale, St. John's, and Fordham, I plan on visiting VTech and Georgetown this June."
"What I'm looking for in schools is great academics, great alumni, coaching security, a school that plays up-tempo and likes to push the ball."
Here's another case where Michigan would be a perfect fit.
Mostly a shot in the dark, but I know he spend lots of years in Cleveland... just curious?
I wondered that myself, and the only answer I ever found was this WikiAnswer:
Is Hallie Thome related to Jim Thome?
Unfortunately, no! Although there is a very distant relationship between the two families, Hallie's family pronounces their last name to rhyme with "Home."
I'm not sure what this answer means. If there's "a very distant relationship between the two families," doesn't that mean they're very distantly related? That they pronounce the name differently is interesting to know but doesn't mean they aren't related.
Full Court has posted a watch list in advance of the September release of its top 50 for 2015. Several Michigan targets are on the list, including Boogie Brozoski, Batouly Camara, Kalabrya Gondrezick, Arike Ogunbowale, Cierra Rice, and Hallie Thome.
Also, NYG Hoops Report posted a new scouting report for Brozoski, based on a showcase event held in April. The report says "her recruitment is wide open," so it'll be interesting to see how her recruitment develops this summer during AAU season. She still seems like a perfect fit for Coach Barnes Arico's style of play and temperament: "Her best fit is going to an up tempo program where she can play in the open floor and score in transition. . . . willing to play in your face defense . . . Boogie plays with a high level motor and has a enormous competitive streak."
I've added the full scouting report to the board, in place of this previous evaluation from Full Court dating from December 2012:
‘Boogie,’ as she prefers to be called, has a way of growing on you as you continue to watch her play. Yes, she is small but has fairly wide shoulders to eventually add some muscle to her medium build. She also has a release which is a bit low. She scored 29 and 22 points to help her team win both games at the event, she attempted to share the ball with teammates and protected the ball well. On defense, she has active feet. As to college choice, she makes no secret about her interest in the University of Michigan which will be one lucky school if ‘Boogie’ decides to do her college dancing in Ann Arbor.
I've also added Kia Nurse to the board.
The Michigan women's basketball program is holding its Elite Camp on June 13-14. Among the attendees will be Arica Carter, the 5-8 guard out of Long Beach Poly and former AAU teammate of incoming freshman Siera Thompson. Carter is definitely a Michigan target to keep an eye on.
Prospects Nation has expanded their top 60 for 2014 into a top 100, and they've reshuffled the previous rankings as well. Here are the main Michigan targets on their list::
- Katelynn Flaherty — #23 (up from #46)
- Kristen Simon — #37 (up from #43)
- Stasha Carey — #54 (unchanged)
- Taylor Rooks — #61 (new)
- Erin Garner — #63 (down from #59)
- Christa Reed — #73 (new)
- Aaliyah Jones — #78 (new)
- Arica Carter — #88 (new)
Aaliyah Jones is someone who I've been meaning to add to the chart. She's a 5-11 wing out of Bishop Ford Central Catholic H.S. in Brooklyn, New York. She's garnered interest from Michigan, Louisville, St. John's, Georgetown, Seton Hall, East Carolina, Providence, Butler, and Bucknell.
There are some other prospects on the list that Michigan has expressed interest in, but it's uncertain how serious a target they are. These are: Asia Doss (MI) — #46, Cayla McMorris (MN) —#69, and Tyesha Taylor (TX) — #83.
Michigan is also hosting two more Canadian prospects for unofficial visits today: Iziegbe (Lorraine) Enabulele, a 6-2 forward (2014) out of Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Ajax, Ontario, and Eternati Willock, a 6-3 forward/wing (2015) out of John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough, Ontario. As is often the case with Canadian players, there's not a great deal of info out there on these two, but Willock was the subject of this Crown magazine profile published in February 2012.
The trials for the USA Women's U16 National Team were held this weekend. Arike Ogunbowale, Kysre Gondrezick, and Boogie Brozoski all performed well, surviving through three cuts to be among the 43 finalists (at the start, there were 124 participants—invitees and non-invitees—Brozoski was among those paying their own way to participate). In the end, Ogunbowale was among the twelve selected. See USA Basketball Names 2013 Women’s U16 National Team.
While it's great to see Michigan targets performing well in these trials, the downside is that all three will likely emerge with some new schools pursuing them—perhaps including some top women's basketball programs.
EDIT: Along the above lines, in this article on Ogunbowale making the U16 team, her AAU coach is quoted as saying,
"Her recruitment has already been high, but I assume it's going to get even crazier after this."
Kia Nurse also did well at the tryouts north of the border, and she was selected to play with the Canadian Senior Women's National team, quite a feat for a high school junior.
Full Court has released an update of their top 50 for 2014, and one of the biggest upward movers was Taylor Rooks, who jumped from #31 to #19:
Rooks has separated herself from the middle of the pack this season by consistenly showing she is one of the best small forwards in the north east. The 6-1 junior led Gill St. Bernard's to a 23-5 record and the New Jersey Non-Public B championship game, averaging 27.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.1 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game. She was named a first team all-state selection and the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year. Even better, she performed exceptionally well at Boo Williams against the nation's top players.
I haven't heard much recently about her recruitment, although it does look like Maryland and Syracuse are among her suitors.
Have also heard little recently about Christa Reed (still at #41 on the Full Court list), but she was named MVP of a recent Mississippi All-Star game.
At #46 on the Full Court list is Erica Moore, a 6-1 forward out of Mt. Vernon H.S. in Fortville, Indiana. She has offers from a number of schools, including Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Butler. She led her team to a state title this past season and has been named to a Junior All-Star team for the state of Indiana.
New OSU women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff named Mark Mitchell his third assistant coach today. Mitchell had been a boys high school basketball coach in Cincinnati but more importantly is the father of Kelsey and Chelsea Mitchell, and Kelsey just happens to be ranked among the top five players in the country in the class of 2014. It'll be a shocker if the sisters don't end up committing to the Buckeyes.
McGuff also continues to aggressively pursue other top prospects from the state of Ohio, including Michigan targets Stasha Carey and Hallie Thome. I still like Michigan's chances of landing both of them, although they do seem to be attracting increased recruiting attention. West Virginia is among the other schools pursuing Carey, while Thome's list of suitors includes Purdue, Louisville, and Indiana.
In the latest update to Blue Star's 2015 rankings, several Michigan targets saw their position change, some quite significantly:
- Arike Ogunbowale: #6 (up from #16)
- Kalabrya Gondrezick: #28 (down from #7)
- Hallie Thome: #38 (up from #42)
- Eternati Willock: #84 (new to top 100)
- Boogie Brozoski: #85 (down from #60)
There is at least one other Michigan target in the Blue Star 2015 top 100: At #26 is Naomi Davenport, a 5-10 wing out of Mount Notre Dame H.S. in Cincinnati. Here's a brief eval from Blue Star from an October 2012 rundown:
This 5-10 wing from Mt. Notre Dame plays with great passion. She is a gifted athlete that can get to the rim on almost any defender. The tools are there to handle the ball and shoot the pull up off the dribble if needed. Davenport can guard her position and just make plays. MND is in good hands with this evolving prospect.
Michigan remains the front-runner for Boogie Brozoski—she can definitely be considered a Michigan "lean" at this point, although it's still early, and she's open to considering other schools. The main schools recruiting her right now are Michigan, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College, and Hofstra, all of whom have offered her.
Blue Star finally got around to reporting Jillian Dunston's commitment to Michigan. They have her ranked #208 in the 2014 class. Their rankings are far from final, so if she performs well over the summer AAU season, there's a good chance she'll be bumped higher.
Brooke Copeland , a 6-2 center/forward out of Bradley Central H.S. in Cleveland, Tennessee, has been on Michigan's radar since at least January, when one of the coaches attended one of her games. She's now settled on a final five consisting of the following schools: Alabama, Michigan, MTSU, Ole Miss, and Florida.
Copeland was the subject of this feature article back in December 2011, and in January of this year she and her brother were featured in a local TV piece, which includes some video of her in action on the court.
Full Court has posted a couple of brief evaluations of her—from March 2013:
Brooke is a solid post player in terms of frame and production. She finishes well around the basket, and can knock down the 15-footer. Her size, along with her positioning ability, makes it fairly easy for her to pull in rebounds. Copeland could be an even better player if she was able to finish with her off hand more consistently.
and April 2013:
Copeland is fairly solid in her build but moves adequately for her size. She will score in the paint and quietly step out to spot up on the perimeter. Had Flight made it a round further (lost to Cy-Fair in Gold bracket semifinal), she would likely have made the all-tournament team. It appears that she is now getting serious BCS looks.
Prospects Nation, which has Copeland as an unranked four-star prospect, posted an evaluation in March that I'll include on the recruiting board.
EDIT: Found another local news article, published in April 2013, when Copeland and her brother were both named all-state in basketball.
Now at 6-foot-2, Brooke’s game has expanded to the entire court as she has the skills not only to dominate inside, but play the perimeter as well. Defensively she can steal the ball, block a shot or snag a rebound and key a fast break by driving the length of the court for a basket or a dish.
“She has worked hard to develop her whole game,” expressed Bradley coach Jason Reuter. “In the rich Bearette tradition, she will go down as one of the best. The good news is we have her back for another year.”
Brooke has already netted 1,569 points, placing her 13th on the all-time Bearette list. This past season she averaged a double-double with 19.6 points and 10.1 rebounds an outing, plus she blocked 58 shots and copped 53 steals to earn the District 5-AAA Player of the Year award.
The article says that in addition to playing basketball this summer for Tennessee Flight, one of the top AAU teams in the country, Copeland "has also been invited to be a part of a USA national 18-under volleyball team that will travel to Australia for a 10-day international tournament this summer."
Michigan's Elite Camp is coming up on June 14-15. I mentioned previously that Arica Carter will be in attendance. I've since learned of two other attendees, both from the class of 2015: Naomi Davenport and Cierra Rice. I've added Davenport to the recruiting board as there's clear mutual interest between her and the Michigan staff.
This will be the second-straight year that Rice has attended Michigan's Elite Camp, so it's clear she's very interested in Michigan. She doesn't yet have a Michigan offer, however. Rice also just attended the EBA Super 64 Camp in Georgia and was featured in a Prospects Nation article:
If you like aggressive defenders with good speed then Cierra Rice of [Grosse Pointe] Farms, Mich., should intrigue you. The 2015 prospect showed she could convert steals into scores and had a few drives in the lane where she had help defenders sliding over to take a charge and she sidestepped them and finished with good touch.
Prospects Nation now lists Rice as a 4-star prospect.
- Taylor Rooks: took an unofficial visit to Indiana this weekend
- Eternati Willock: have added her to the recruiting board, complete with an evaluation from last summer
- Erin Garner: have taken her off the recruiting board because she doesn't seem to be a top Michigan target at this time
Also in attendance at the EBA Super 64 Camp was Brooke Copeland, who was featured in a Prospects Nation "four to know" post:
Copeland continues to draw attention with her consistent play and the intensity that she brings to the game. The 6-foot-2 post player performed well [at] the EBA Super 64 Camp. She was impressive in the low post and also showed that she can step out and play effectively facing the basket. Most impressive, was her ability to match up well with Duke commit Erin Mathias. Copeland has versatile skills that will be assets at the next level.
Not that this wasn't already clear from what I reported in a previous post, but Michigan is definitely out of the running for Alyssa Rice. Full Court reports that she's down to Kentucky and Virginia, having also considered Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Pitt, and West Virginia.
The biggest news coming out of Michigan's Elite Camp that I've heard so far is that Cierra Rice got her Michigan offer. This is her first offer from a program from a major conference, and when coupled with her high interest in Michigan, it's easy to think that Michigan is the leader in her recruitment right now.
Also noteworthy was that not only was Arica Carter at the camp, but her Long Beach Poly teammate Briana Johnson also made the trek from California. She is definitely another prospect worth keeping an eye on, and I think her presence at Elite Camp justifies adding her to the board for the class of 2016 (which I'll do when I have a chance).
Also at the camp were Naomi Davenport (as mentioned in a previous post) as well as 2014 Michigan commit Jillian Dunston. Several other interesting prospects also attended, and I'll cover those in another post in the next day or so.
NYG Hoops Report got a nice quote from Maria Backman in the wake of her commitment to Michigan:
"I fell in love with the school and I verbally committed to the University of Michigan; I fell in love with the academics, everything that they offered students, especially the M-Pact program they offer to student athletes. . . . Overall I just truly fell in love with the school; also the opportunity of me coming in and playing and having an impact on the team was a huge factor for me to; the coaching staff was great and Coach Arico having an outstanding first season shows a lot of promise in the program.
Her AAU coach said that "Michigan is getting great academic kid, gym rat and a person that leads by example." The post also says that she had more than 50 offers before she cut her list to 15.
When I get around to updating the board and moving Backman to the commit section, I'm going to list her as a wing/forward, as at least one scout said she could play a "stretch 4" role in college.
I'm also going to list Jillian Dunston at 6-0, rather than 6-1. Various sites have her at anywhere from 5-10 to 6-1. She might in fact be closer to 5-11, but for now I'll split the difference and go with 6-0.
Michigan has offered another top in-state player from the class of 2015, Tania Davis. She's a 5-5 point guard playing high school ball at Goodrich, the two-time Class B state champions, and AAU ball for Michigan Crossover, generally considered the top AAU program in the state. She took an unofficial visit to Michigan in October 2012.
MLive ran this feature story in January 2013: Goodrich sophomore Tania Davis stepping into leadership role for reigning state champs in wake of key injury. As far as scouting reports go, MWRR had this to say about her in an October 2011 showcase recap:
This energetic PG has a quick first step and displayed great court vision. Offensively she is very creative and finds ways to put the ball in the basket. After passing the ball to a teammate, she made some excellent cuts to the basket, which led to easy layups. Without the ball she constantly set picks and found ways to help her team score.
And LBI, which has long had Davis ranked #1 in the state in the 2015 class, posted this following an April 2012 event:
Davis is by far the top point guard in Michigan's 2015 class. She loves to blow by defenders with a simple crossover. A young point guard who already has a good feel for tempo and when she needs to push or slow the ball down. Directed the offense very well, finding the right players in the right spot. The knock on Davis was can she score the ball, I think she proved that she can score the ball when needed by dropping 30 points in a pool play game.
LBI also put together this highlight video:
While the in-state experts rank Davis highly, she's currently flying a bit under the radar among the national recruiting gurus, although Full Court did include her on their watch list for their 2015 top 50.
I'm a bit skeptical about Michigan's chances with Davis as it's no secret that she's an MSU fan. But who knows with the way the Michigan staff has been landing recruits? DePaul, whose 2013 recruiting class included two Michigan Crossover players, would be another school to watch as Davis recently attended their Elite Camp.
EDIT: Davis is attending MSU's Elite Camp today.
It's been quite a week, with two commits coming out of the Elite Camp. Here are several additional talented prospects who also attended:
- Bailey Norby, 6-2 center, Forest Lake H.S. (MN) 
- Emily Thomas, 5-6 point guard, Pickerington North H.S. (OH) 
- Reyna Frost, 6-1 center, Reese H.S. (MI) 
- Taiye Bello, 6-1 power forward, Southfield Lathrup H.S. (MI) 
- Kayla Brown, 5-9 guard, Flint Southwestern H.S. (MI) 
Definitely some more names to key an eye on, perhaps particularly Bello and Brown. Despite being one of the younger players, Brown made the camp all-star team. And Bello is one of the top in-state players in the class of 2016.
Also, earlier today, Stasha Carey committed to Pitt, so she's off the board. And Erin Garner, who I had taken off the board earlier, named a top 10 that didn't included Michigan (for the record, the 10 are Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, NC State, Oklahoma, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Temple, and Wake Forest).
On a more positive note, I still like Michigan's chances with Hallie Thome.
EDIT: Cierra Rice attended MSU's Elite Camp earlier this week.
A few notes:
- Akienreh Johnson—the Michigan commit is ranked #133 in the nation in the 2016 class by Blue Star; that compares to her ASGR ranking of #34.
- Bailey Norby—mentioned as one of the Michigan Elite Camp attendees, she committed to Creighton today.
- Brooke Copeland—was recently in Gainesville for an unofficial visit to Florida, one of her final five schools.
- Kristen Simon—attended UCLA's Elite Camp earlier this month and also took an unofficial visit to USC.
Here's a WTOL feature with a few practice highlights and interview snippets of Akienreh Johnson and Brelynn Hampton-Bey.
EDIT: Blue Star just updated their 2016 rankings, and they now have Johnson at #53 in the 2016 class.
Prospects Nation released an expanded top 60 for the 2015 class, which includes the following Michigan targets:
- Arike Ogunbowale: #7 (up from #13)
- Faith Suggs: #42
- Boogie Brozoski: #56
- Batouly Camara: #57
That they don't have a single player from Ohio (or Michigan for that matter) in this top 60 makes this ranking seem at least a bit suspect.
In other news:
- Christa Reed: recently took an unofficial visit to Miami (FL)
- Katelynn Flaherty: announced recently that she planned to take some unofficial visits in August, go on her five allotted official visits in September, and then make her decision; no word on the schools she plans to visit
- Theresa Ekhelar: recently attended Penn State's Elite Camp and also took an unofficial visit there; was on the Seton Hall campus for an unofficial today
- Erin Garner: committed to Georgia Tech today
NYCHoops has a post out today with an update on Aaliyah Jones, the 5-11 guard/wing from Brooklyn, NY. It says she has offers from Butler, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, ECU, and Siena, along with "heavy interest" from Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, and Ole Miss. Jones recently took an unofficial visit to Fordham.
It's worth noting that she plays AAU for the same club as Michigan commit Maria Backman—New Heights.
Another 2015 prospect to keep an eye on is Teniya Page, a 5-7 point guard out of Marian Catholic H.S. in Chicago Heights, IL. The schools recruiting her include Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue, and Vanderbilt, and she claims to have offers from all of them. She's visited all of those schools except Michigan and Nebraska.
Page led her team to a state title in March. The following month, her AAU team played in a state tournament, covered by MWRR, which provided this eval:
Page is a special prospect that makes her presence known every time she hits the floor. On the offensive end, she has elite ball handling abilities, including one of the nastiest crossover and hesitation dribbles around. These dribbles, combined with a lightning fast first step, allow her to create space between her and the first the defender. She then has the ability to stop on a dime and has one of the most polished midrange games in the state. When she gets to the rack, her athletic abilities and body control allow her to be quite a crafty finisher. Defensively, she got a high volume of steals and rarely gets beat off the dribble.
Prospects Nation has Page ranked #26 nationally in the 2015 class.
Brooke Copeland, the 6-2 forward/center from Cleveland, Tennessee, who had Michigan in her final five, is off the board after committing to Florida today.
First, an article on another all-star game that Christa Reed, the 5-11 wing from Mississippi, appeared in had this to say about her recruitment:
Reed . . . has a few colleges in contention, but won’t cut her list down until July. She hopes to have a top five by then and make a decision by October.
I may be completely wrong about this, but I have a feeling that Michigan won't be in her top five.
Yesterday was the last day of the first half of the important July viewing period. A number of Michigan targets were in action with their AAU teams at various events across the country, including:
Arica Carter: Received accolades for her play at the Battle in the Boro in Tennessee, playing for Cal Sparks Gold. Prospects Nation, in this post, highlighted her as a "showcase star":
Carter has been on a steady rise over the last 12 months and as she has hit perimeter jumpers and scored off the dribble, the Sparks have found the balance they’ve been searching for since April. What we were used to seeing in spurts the ELITE 100 player has been delivering on a consistent basis.
Her AAU coach has said that Michigan, Kansas, and Arizona State knew about her early on and now others are discovering her. Hopefully, she'll take the early interest into account when making her school choice.
Kristen Simon: Playing alongside Carter on Cal Sparks Gold, Simon was named a Battle in the Boro all-star, according to Blue Star, which had this to say about her:
Simon is looking more fit and physical than at any time in the past and it shows in her game. She’s looking to create her own looks more often and still maintains that willingness to go inside and take a hit from defenders on her way to the glass. There are flashes of ballhandling but it would be surprising if anything but the forward spot is in her future. Then again, nobody ever said that was a problem…other than opponents.
If I had to guess, I'd say Michigan's chances with Simon aren't great. I have a feeling she stays on the West Coast, with a good chance she picks either UCLA or USC. I think Michigan has a much better chance at Arica Carter, who's already been on campus at least once for the recent Elite Camp.
Taylor Rooks: Also named a Battle in the Boro all-star (as was her New Jersey Demons teammate Katelynn Flaherty, as well as Christa Reed). Blue Star said this about Rooks:
One of the better club seasons so far belongs to Taylor Rooks of the New Jersey Demons. If you define player’s success by productivity, this is your girl. Though barely her listed 6-0, the Bridgewater, New Jersey product is contributing in the scoring column, on the boards and even on the defensive end of the floor. Her strong build allows her to work effectively when giving up size and at the same time use that same strength to overwhelm smaller opponents. Sound footspeed is in place but not the kind that will allow her to match up with the ultra-quicks at the point or off guard spots. In turn that leads to the question posed by several coaches courtside. Just where do you play her? The tools are there be a strong #3 but she has the potential in some four out sets to go to work as a small #4. The challenges would be more on the defensive end than offensive in terms of matching up with more speed or more size. One coach said it best…”who cares, I’d worry about that after I got her on campus”!
I have some additional notes that I'll post later on prospects from 2015 and beyond.
A 2015 prospect who's garnered increased attention and a number of new offers during the July viewing period is Kiah Gillespie, a 6-2 wing/forward out of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. As shown in the highlight video below, she has a nice combination of size and athletcism and certainly displays good ballhandling skills for a player of her height.
She plays AAU for New Heights, alongside 2014 Michigan commit Maria Backman (and target Aaliyah Jones). Her AAU coach says she has offers from Michigan, West Virginia, Fordham, Hofstra, Seton Hall, Ole Miss, Indiana, St. John's, Miami (FL), Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, George Washington, and Pitt.
She's already visited St. John's, Fordham, and Seton Hall, attending the latter's Elite Camp in June.
EDIT: In March, Gillespie led Capital Prep to the Class S state championship, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the title game. Here's a video with some highlights from that game and the celebration afterward.
A 2015 Michigan target gaining additional exposure this month is the 6-5 Theresa Ekhelar, who will be transferring to a new high school, Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ, this fall. A Blue Star evaluator offered this brief scouting report recently:
[Ekhelar] has great size, athleticism and energy. She runs the court well for 6-5 and dominates paint play with her ability to keep the ball alive with a rebound and finish off the glass. Ekhelar has face up range out to about 15 feet.
(Side note: The Caron-Goudreau twins mentioned in the same rundown are on Michigan's radar, but I don't know how serious a target they are. They're interested in attending the same college.)
Ekhelar was also the subject of this interview, in which she provides a list of schools expressing interest in her: Penn State, Georgetown, Florida State, Seton Hall, Fordham, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, West Virginia, Villanova, Florida, St. John’s, and Rutgers.
Akienreh Johnson and Brelynn Hampton-Bey: were named all-stars at a skills camp held in Ohio. A Blue Star rundown had this to say about Hampton-Bey: "Good speed…Creates with a change of speed and direction."
Jordan Moore: Full Court covered an event in Arkansas, offering this scouting report on Moore, the 6-4 center from Texas in the class of 2015:
The buzz usually starts in pregame as Moore flirts around with dunking the ball -- she’s close, very, very close, but her game goes far beyond that. She has a college-ready body and knows how to use it, as she finishes through tough situations and has shown significant improvement since last season. Throw in her ability to face the basket and there's even more buzz
More on Battle in the Boro: Full Court's coverage of this event includes brief items on 2014 Michigan targets Katelynn Flaherty, Christa Reed, Taylor Rooks, and Kristen Simon.
Kiah Gillespie: has picked up another offer: UTEP.
Aaliyah Jones: Here's an updated list of offers: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, ECU, VCU, Hofstra, Fordham, Butler, Bucknell, and Oakland.
Charise Holloway: 5-9 shooting guard/wing, St. Mary's H.S. (Stockton, CA), class of 2014. Report today says she's receiving interest from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Missouri, Michigan, Memphis, Seton Hall, and George Mason. Can't say how serious Michigan's interest is or whether there's mutual interest. Full Court had this to say about her in a post about a recent event in Oregon:
To her credit, Holloway has improved her conditioning in the last year. She is a strong attacker along the baseline but also can hit the three-ball. She defends adequately as well with her strong build. She is receiving major Division I looks.
It appears that Charise Holloway has trimmed her list to mostly schools in the West: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, Washington State, and Ole Miss. So it looks like for Michigan this one never went past the "receiving interest" stage.
Mariya Moore: 6-0 wing, Salesian H.S. (Richmond, CA), class of 2014. Recent report says Michigan is among the schools expressing interest in her, along with USC, UCLA, Ohio State, Duke, UNLV, Purdue, St. John's, Louisville, Kentucky, and others. She plans to visit Lousville and Kentucky soon. Not sure how much of a chance Michigan has here. Full Court, which has her ranked #25 in her class, has some scouting reports on her on this page.
Katelynn Flaherty: Here's a nice scouting report on Flaherty from a Blue Star writeup on Battle in the Boro:
One of the problems of establishing yourself as a legitimate perimeter scoring threat is that you begin to attract the more focused attention of opposing defenses. Any team not paying specific attention to New Jersey Demons 2014 point guard Katelynn Flaherty hasn’t done their homework and deserves what’s coming to them. The 5-7 Point Pleasant, New Jersey native has proven again and again that she’s deadly when given time and easily has the range to connect out beyond NBA range. The step back is more aggressive and creating more separation which, given her size, will be essential at the next level. Her own attack in traffic is more assertive than in the past and keeping defenders much more honest in their closeouts. Flaherty is deceivingly quick defensively and can be harassing at times on the ball.
AAU Super Showcases: Blue Star has a post on this event held in Florida, offering some brief hitters on some Michigan targets. I've included Marina Mabrey here because Michigan does seem to be interested in her; she's a high school teammate of Flaherty and plays AAU on the same team with Flaherty and Taylor Rooks.
Batouly Camara – 2015 - 6-2 Forward – Ring City (N.J.) – Size, build, agility and strength…Can create from the high post
Kysre Gondrezick – 2015 - 5-9 Guard – Midwest Elite (Ill.) – Stronger…Change of speed and direction are sharp…Lots of acceleration…Decisions?
Marina Mabrey – 2015 - 6-0 Guard – New Jersey Demons (N.J.) – Filling out and playing stronger…Reads and passes it well…Ballhandling is more refined but lateral at times…Playing with stress reaction in leg
Cierra Rice – 2014 – 5-9 Combo – All Ohio (Ohio) – Defends…Great lateral speed…Quick to the rim…Makes plays
Scratch Mariya Moore as a possibility for Michigan. She committed to Louisville today.
Michigan is among the schools that Katelynn Flaherty plans to visit in August. These are the others on her tentative list of unofficial visits: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
Nice espnW article on Arike Ogunbowale, covering, among other things, her academic prowess:
To say education is important in this family is an understatement. Ogunbowale has a 3.5 GPA, and her favorite subject is math.
and including this bit on where her recruiting stands:
Ogunbowale remains unsure of where she's going when it comes to college.
She doesn't have a list of finalists yet, and even though her only unofficial visits have been to Midwest schools such as Wisconsin, Marquette, Michigan, DePaul and Notre Dame, Ogunbowale insists she will not be limited by geography.
Arica Carter had a very good July, picking up another offer—from Ohio St.—to go along with her previous offers from Michigan, Kansas, and Arizona State.
Speaking of OSU, to no one's surprise Kelsey Mitchell (top 5 in 2014 class [as mentioned in a previous post]) and her twin sister committed to the Buckeyes today. OSU also got a commitment from 6-3 forward/center Alexa Hart of Columbus, who's ranked anywhere from #15 to #74 in the 2014 class.
Some good news out of Mississippi as Christa Reed has set up official visits to four schools, one of which is Michigan. The others are Vanderbilt, Miami (FL), and Ole Miss.
Not sure yet if these are unofficials or officials. Reed was already in Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit last fall.
According to this Aurora Sentinel article (on a new Purdue commit), Diani Akigbogun, a 6-1 forward out of Regis Jesuit H.S. in Aurora, Colorado, "has as a bevy of Division I programs after her, including Michigan and Georgia." This is the first I've heard of Michigan being interested in Akigbogun, who earlier this year was named Colorado's Gatorade POY and Ms. Colorado Basketball by the Denver Post. Blue Star has her ranked #41 in the country in the 2014 class.
She averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds during her junior season and helped lead Regis Jesuit to the 5A state championship. Here's a highlight reel focusing on her performance during the state championship game (she #15 in red).
Kaneisha Horn: announced today that she's transferring to USC.
Theresa Ekhelar: recently attended Georgia Tech's Elite Camp and took an unofficial visit on that same trip.
Katelynn Flaherty: took an unofficial visit to Georgia today.
Kianna Ray: Here's a July evaluation from Girlz Prep Report on this 6-1 wing from Texas (2016):
This young lady was a monster the first time I saw her in the 8th grade and even then she had BCS written all over her. She has matured on the court and if memory serves added almost an inch. Her game is a college coaches dream because she's a big guard that can not only score from anywhere, she can also defend.
Taylor Rooks: Blue Star evaluation from July:
Taylor Rooks (2014) has had a solid, productive spring and summer to this point with the New Jersey Demons and didn’t seem to miss a beat slipping on the Exodus colors. Rooks is becoming more and more effective as a scorer and produces near the rim out to 15 foot range consistently. The physical strength is there to mix things up with those who bring more size to the floor but the mobility is there as well to leave them standing. She adapted and played efficiently with new teammates and was a factor both on the break and in the halfcourt. The versatility this 6-0 swing brings to the floor is a commodity difficult to find.
Note that she she and Marina Mabrey switched AAU programs during the summer and played in July for Exodus NYC. There's an evaluation of Mabrey in that same Blue Star post.
Michigan is still in great shape with 2015 point guard Boogie Brozoski, as evidenced in this local news feature on her. And she says she'll make her decision in the next few months.
She said Michigan has offered the full shot — “I love the University of Michigan” — but she will take assorted other visits. She intends to settle on a destination before onset of her junior season.
Unfortunately, I don't know which other schools she plans to visit, but at this point it would be a major surprise if she doesn't choose the Maize and Blue.
By the way, the article also explains the origin of her nickname:
The nickname? “My dad used to play with this guy in the streets called Boogie and he was like, ‘Know what? Your game reminds me of his, so I’m just gonna call you Boogie.’ ”
That was back when she was a fourth-grader. “It works for me, everybody calls me that. I like it.”
Another one off the board: Kristen Simon this afternoon named her final five schools: Cal, Louisville, Ohio St., Texas, and USC.
Because this hasn't been officially announced yet, I decided to post this here rather than in a new thread: Multiple reports on Twitter say that Matt Bamford has been offered and agreed to accept a position on the Michigan staff.
as a Michigan women's basketball assistant coach. Who he's replacing is not yet known.
Bamford comes from the AAU ranks, although from the limited info available about him online, he has also worked as a girls basketball assistant coach at the high school level. He most recently worked as a coach with one of the top girls basketball AAU programs in the country, the Philadelphia Belles. As the head coach of the Belles 15U team, he led his squad to championships at five of the six tournaments they played in during the spring and summer club season of 2013.
Recruiting-wise, this hire will give Michigan another staffer with good connections in the East.
, although it's difficult to judge the overall impact without knowing who he's replacing. Most directly, the players on his Belles 15U team now become more likely Michigan targets. Blue Star ran this item following the squad's recent Nike Nationals championship. It provides details on four 2015 players on the squad: Taylor Murray (nationally ranked #12 by Blue Star), Brianna Jones (#34), Nicole Munger (#72), and Caroline Davis (#47). Munger may be one to particularly keep an eye, as I know she was already on Michigan's radar. She's a 5-8 combo guard who attends Central Bucks West H.S. in Doylestown, Pa.
EDIT: It turns out that the reports that Bamford would be one of the three assistant coaches on the Michigan staff were wrong. He's being hired as "assistant to the head coach." His hiring has still not been officially announced, so his exact duties aren't known. But the current staff remains intact, with Bamford's position being an additional one.
Among the July notes I haven't yet had a chance to post, I forgot that there was a report indicating that Brianna Jones was already on Michigan's radar as well. Here's an eval from a Full Court rundown of fifteen 2015 prospects who impressed at the Nike Nationals tourney:
Brianna Jones, 5-9 wing, Philadelphia Belles 15U/North Babylon (NY) High School
Jones, of strong build for a perimeter player, plays taller than her height. She can drive powerfully to the rim going right or left. In addition, she has a nice mid-range jumper but still could add more perimeter range. A good leaper, she hits the boards well for her size and does not shy away from contact. Together with Nicole Munger and Taylor Murray (discussed below), she was part of the best perimeter in the Juniors Division (a similar theme occurred in the Nationals Division where Cy-Fair won). Bet on Jones taking her game to a BCS college in a few years.
Jones recently named these five schools as those showing interest: Louisville, Ohio St., Penn St., Syracuse, and West Virginia. At that time, she had visited all but Louisville and OSU, and she had offers from Louisville, OSU, and West Virginia. Although she didn't list Michigan among the schools showing interest, she did say that her upcoming visits would include Michigan and Louisville. It doesn't sound like she's anywhere near to reaching a decision and is open to considering other schools, but she does seem like another 2015 prospect to watch.
Katelynn Flaherty: Took an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech yesterday. Michigan is the next school she'll visit. She plans to make a decision in the next month or two.
Kalabrya Gondrezick: One of Michigan's major in-state targets in the 2015 class, the older of the Gondrezick sisters took an unofficial visit to Michigan today. This is at least the second time she's been on campus for a visit.
Jane Grisley: 6-3 center (2015), Maple Ridge Secondary School (Maple Ridge, British Columbia). Yet another Canadian prospect garnering interest from Michigan. Not a great deal of info out there on her.
Breanna Cavanaugh: 5-8 combo guard (2015), Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ), teammate of another 2015 target, Batouly Camara. In this interview, Michigan is included among a host of schools showing interest in her.
Various scouting reports:
- Taylor Brame (IL-2014) in MWRR Summer Classic Recap: Part 1
- Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015), Faith Suggs (IL-2015), and Tierra Webb (IL-2015) in MWRR Summer Classic Recap: Part 2. Suggs is also briefly profiled in this Blue Star item on the USJN Summer Final.
- Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015) in a Full Court item on ATL Summer Slam
- Arike Ogunbowale and Taiye Bello (MI-2016) in MWRR's Best of the Midwest Jam Recap; haven't find much info on Bello, so the eval for her is worth quoting:
Taiye Bello, 6'1 PF, 2016, MI Storm - Long, powerful frame. Posts up hard under the rim, establishes and maintains great position early in possessions. Makes quick, decisive moves with the ball, can score around the rim with either hand. Finishes through contact. Showed a soft scoring touch from 5-8 feet around rim. Very mobile, runs the floor well. Solid defensive instincts, alters a lot of shots around the rim with her length and ability to recover to the weak side.
Reports today provide an update on the previous one: Christa Reed (MS-2014) has narrowed her list to six and will make official visits to five and an unofficial to the other. She'll visit the schools in this order: Vanderbilt, Michigan, LSU (unofficial), Miami (FL), Ole Miss, and West Virginia.
Halle Wangler: Turns out, at least according to this article, that Wangler will be a walk-on, rather than on scholarship, so the scholarship situation for 2014 remains unchanged, with three open slots at this point.
Maria Backman: MSGVarsity has selected Backman as one of their 30 New York City "players to watch" during the 2013-14 high school sports season, across all sports. An excerpt:
There isn’t a position Maria Backman can’t play on the basketball court.
The Cardinal Spellman rising senior has the dribbling, passing and shooting ability of a guard, while displaying the rebounding prowess to battle in the paint.
That diverse skill set is why Backman was one of the city’s top players as a junior and one of the most coveted recruits in the country, receiving interest from 50 Division I colleges.
. . .
“Maria has improved her skills as a player and also her basketball IQ by leaps and bounds since her freshman year through pure dedication and hard work,” Cardinal Spellman coach Jane Morris said. “She is truly a student of the game and continues to work at becoming the best she can be. I think she has only scratched the surface and is going to be very successful on the next level.”
Theresa Ekhelar: attended St. John's Elite Camp today.
More scouting reports: A Blue Star rundown of "prospects who stood out" at the USJN National Championships held in Washington, D.C., in late July includes a slew of Michigan targets—Kysre Gondrezick (MI-2016), Asia Doss (MI-2014), Kia Nurse (Ontario-2014), Boogie Brozoski (NY-2015), and Eternati Willock (Ontario-2015). Here's what they had to say about Nurse:
It’s not often you see the college crowd grow in size for an already well known prospect over the course of a single event but that’s just what happened each time Canada Drive and combo 2014 guard Kia Nurse took the floor in D.C. At 6-0, the Hamilton, Ontario native is skilled, knowledgeable and more so than anything…productive. Her ability to create is not limited just to shots nor is it on display only in halfcourt play. From makes, misses and turnovers she’s pushing the ball with vision and court concepts that few on the high school level can call upon. The ball skills are sharp and the acceleration is exceptional on any move that she might make. Nurse navigates traffic like a D.C. cab driver and can score at the rim or adeptly pull up anywhere from the 5 to 10 foot range on a dime. Additionally, her relentless attack often leads to simple opportunities for her or her teammates when opponents make the mistake of relaxing even for a second. She’s very active on the defensive end and anticipates in a manner that says she’s been well coached. Easily one of the premier performers of this event or any other this summer.
Kia Nurse: This brief item talks a bit about her as well as mentioning her older brother Darnell, who was a 2013 first-round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.
Christa Reed: Local news article covers Reed narrowing her choices to her final six. One interesting note is that the article says she's already visited all her finalists once (unofficially). Also mentions her being an honor student and "already qualified academically to play as a college freshman next year." I've mentioned before her interest in going into a medical field, so Michigan seems like a perfect fit for her academically.
I mentioned Cayla McMorris once before in this thread as a possible Michigan target. Info on her been hard to come by, so I never knew how serious Michigan's interest was, or whether she was interested in the Wolverines in return. But reports today say she's narrowed her list to this final five: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
McMorris is a 6-1 forward out of Park Center H.S. in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. She plays travel ball on North Tartan, the top AAU squad in Minnesota. This dates back to a year ago, but gprep.net offers this brief eval:
Plays 2,3,4 or 5. Brings energy to the table. A versatile forward with the ability to score inside or out. Nothing flashy, but she is a fearless competitor.
The Minnesota Hoops blog says "Strong, aggressive, scores inside and out. Pounds the boards." Prospects Nation has her as a four-star ranked #69 in the nation, while Blue Star currently has her at #113.
EDIT: Below is a highlight video featuring McMorris (#23 in the dark-colored uniforms) from a December 2012 game. She displays a nice all-around game.
Katelynn Flaherty: Her unofficial visit to Michigan is happening tonight and tomorrow. Also, she's shortened her visit list by one, as she's dropped Tennessee from consideration.
Akienreh Johnson: She came to Ann Arbor to watch the Michigan team practice yesterday. I'm fairly certain Brelynn Hampton-Bey came along as well. I know some people worry about players who commit so early sticking with their commitment, but from everything I've heard there should be no concerns about these two. They are solidly committed, and with visits like this one are likely to remain so.
Arica Carter has named her final four, and Michigan is one of the schools, along with Arizona State, Kansas, and Ohio St. And she's in the process of setting up official visits to all four.
To recap, Michigan has now been named a finalist for three major 2014 targets: Carter, Cayla McMorris, and Christa Reed.
The Chicago Tribune has an article on Faith Suggs (IL-2015) indicating that she's transferring high schools, from Plainfield East to Homewood-Flossmoor, located in Flossmoor, Illinois. Homewood-Flossmoor recently hired a new girls basketball coach, who is also the coach of the AAU team (Illinois Dream Team) Suggs has played on.
The article also lists Suggs's current scholarship offers: DePaul, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Michigan, and Penn State. Given that Michigan has offered her, I'll be adding her to the recruiting board. Suggs is ranked #35 in the 2015 class by Blue Star and #42 by Prospects Nation. She's also on Full Court's 2015 Fresh 50 watch list.
MWRR posted two scouting reports on Suggs in July. This one:
Faith Suggs, 6'1 SF, 2015, Illinois Dream Team - Faith's fundamentals are sound on both ends of the court. She has a variety of weapons on offense and is learning when to utilize each one. Once she gets into the lane she is extremely dangerous. If she gets space she will make you pay by knocking down a long or mid-range jumper with her sweet stroke. On the defensive end, her length and athleticism make her a terrific man-to-man defender. She can move laterally as quick as anyone, staying a step ahead of the ball handler. Her basketball IQ is her greatest quality on the court.
And this one:
Faith Suggs, 6'1 SF, 2015, IL Dream Team - Suggs has the athleticism and tools to really succeed at the next level. Her best weapon on the offensive end is her midrange jumper. She picks a spot on the floor, gets to it, elevates and buries jumpers. Defensively she is very sound, using her length to prevent opposing players from driving by her. Extremely intelligent player that knows the game inside and out.
Kia Nurse (Ontario–2014), who's in Edmonton training with the Canadian senior women’s basketball team, is the subject of this Edmonton Journal article. First, there's some further info on all the athletes in the Nurse family, in addition to Kia and Darnell (Edmonton Oilers draftee):
Kia . . . and Darnell come from a deep gene pool. Their uncle is former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb and their father, Richard, is a former Hamilton Tiger-Cat. Their mother, Kathy, played basketball at McMaster University. The list goes on. Their sister, Tamika, played basketball at the University of Oregon and their aunt, Raquel (Richard’s sister and McNabb’s wife), played basketball at Syracuse University.
Multiple people have mentioned Nurse as a "stock riser" during this summer. As indicated in the quote below, UConn is now showing last-minute interest. It's also interesting that she wants to continue playing on the Canadian national team, including in the Olympics, so she's looking for a college that's willing to accommodate that.
Her college decision only got muddled this summer as she climbed the basketball ladder and caught the attention of heavyweight NCAA programs like the University of Connecticut.
“(NCAA interest) has jumped,” Kia said. “I’ve gotten some really big-name schools (expressing interest) now, but at the same time, it’s really important to keep it in check and make sure that Lisa [Thomaidis, the national women's team coach] talks with the coaches to make sure they’re OK with me playing for the national team and that I can get out for summers, do all the (national) team stuff, and not be pressured to stay.
“I have goals to be involved with this team as an Olympian.”
One final note, this article calls her a "five-foot-eight point guard." Most sources I've seen list her as 6-0, although I've also seen 5-10. Not sure what to make of that, unless it's simply a mistake.
UPDATE: Another school coming in with late interest in Nurse is Tennessee. Also, while Kia Nurse's sister Tamika started out at Oregon, she finished her college career at Bowling Green, playing for head coach Curt Miller. Miller is now the head coach at Indiana, so that could be a factor in Kia Nurse's interest in the Hoosiers.
Aaliyah Jones (NY–2014): Featured as one of MSGVarsity's 30 "players to watch" during the upcoming school year. The profile mentions this list of offers for Jones: East Carolina, Virginia Commonwealth, Providence, Fordham, Virginia Tech, LaSalle, Butler, and Eastern Michigan. She is perhaps in the second tier of players that Michigan is currently targeting for 2014.
Katelynn Flaherty (NJ–2014): Also gets the MSGVarity "player to watch" treatment.
Few are as effective attacking the rim than the Garnet Gulls’ elusive 5-7 point guard. The ease in which she shifts gears on the fly and renders defenders helpless to her sudden bursts is the kind of attribute that drives her fearlessly through the lane for either a layup, a trip to the foul line (where she shot 93 percent as a junior) or slick dish to the opposite block. However, when opponents choose to congest the paint to impede that path, Flaherty displays an adaptability that hints at her inquisitive basketball IQ.
The smooth release on her jumper overshadows the nimble footwork which creates the necessary space to let it fly. With her excellent combination of adhesive handle and jab steps, Flaherty builds room for herself to stick a long-range 3-pointer, showing she can bury a trey as effortlessly off the dribble as she does catching and shooting on the kickout.
After what was apparently a very good visit to Michigan, Flaherty has plans to visit both Kentucky and Louisville during the coming week.
Kia Nurse (Ontario–2014): Lots of pub this week for Nurse. Latest is from the Toronto Star: This girl’s got game: Young phenom Kia Nurse makes jump to senior national team.
What [Canadian national women's team coach Lisa] Thomaidis and Nurse’s teammates see is a young woman with good size — she’s about six feet tall — and world-class basketball speed who plays the game with a preternatural calm. After “taking a few lumps” during the team’s tour of Europe earlier this summer, according to her coach, Nurse has settled into an on-court leadership role seamlessly.
“For her, having the confidence playing at this level and the team having the confidence in her running the show is just huge,” said Thomaidis.
“She has every single intangible you would need and want in a point guard. It’s one thing to be 17 but it’s another thing to have the compete level, the capacity for training, the love for the game. She’s very humble, fearless, all those things you want in a player. She brings them all at this age.”
Lauren Yearwood (British Columbia–2015): Yearwood, a 6-3 forward/center out of Oak Bay Secondary School in the Greater Victoria area, is another Canadian player on Michigan's radar. As was the case with Jane Grisley (B.C.–2015), there isn't much info out there on Yearwood. She and Grisley are both on the British Columbia team currently playing in the Canada Games. And earlier this year, Yearwood and Eternati Willock (Ontario–2015) both made the roster of the Canadian Cadette women's U16 national team.
More Visitors: At yesterday's practice, the Michigan women's basketball team hosted two more unofficial visitors: the sisters Bailey Thomas (MI-2016) and Sam Thomas (MI-2017), who this season will both be playing on the Bloomfield Hills Marian girls team. During her freshman season, 5-9 guard Bailey Thomas averaged 9 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals a game. MLive.com named her their Metro Detroit girls basketball Freshman of the Year.
"She did a really nice job of being one of our two point guards," [Marian coach Mary] Cicerone said. "We put the ball in her hands a lot ... Towards the end, she was a huge offensive threat as she improved her 3-point shooting and she did a great job of running the offense for us."
Here's an MWRR scouting report from a July 2013 USJN Premier Invitational recap:
Bailey Thomas, 5'9 G, 2016 Michigan Monarchs - Bailey is a defensive machine. She has great lateral quickness to stay in front of opponents and almost always has a hand in her opponent's face to contest their shot. On offense, she is a shooter who strokes it from everywhere on the court. She has a silky smooth, quick release that she will pull from anywhere. She has a tendency to follow her shot to get offensive boards, which is rarely seen anymore. She can also get into the paint off the dribble and finish strong with either hand.
There's less out there on 5-11 wing Sam Thomas, but the two sisters have had a busy summer. In addition to playing AAU for the Michigan Monarchs, they've attended several elite camps and made unofficial visits at a number of other colleges. Bailey Thomas attended elite camps at Princeton, DePaul, and Michigan State and also made a visit to Cal (Berkeley). Both sisters participated in elite camps at Stanford, Louisville, and Marquette.
Visits Elsewhere: Both Theresa Ekhelar (NJ-2015) and Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015) were in South Orange, NJ, yesterday for an unofficial visit to Seton Hall. Also, Gillespie picked up new offers today from Alabama and Rutgers.
Diani Akigbogun (CO-2014): Another of Akigbogun's teammates on Regis Jesuit, Kelsi Lidge, has made a commitment (to Drexel). Although it's certainly possible to read too much into this, I think it's worth pointing that in the previous Aurora Sentinel article that I cited above (about the Purdue commit), the writer had said,
Akigbogun, the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year last season and MVP of the Show, has a bevy of Division I programs after her, including Michigan and Georgia, while the gritty Lidge is drawing interest from Drexel.
So, first of all, this writer obviously has a good source as Lidge just 11 days later committed to Drexel. Second, in the article on Lidge's commitment, the same writer again talks about the schools other Regis Jesuit players might pick:
Akigbogun, Gatorade’s Colorado Player of the Year, the MVP of the Show all-star game and an All-City first teamer, could end up at Michigan, while Northwestern is interested in Molyneaux and Howard wants Lockley.
Note that Michigan is the only school mentioned this time for Akigbogun and that the writer mentions only one school for each prospect. So could these be signals of likely destinations?Obviously, I don't know. But I was very impressed by Akigbogun's highlight video (embedded above), so I think she'd be a great addition to the 2014 class—especially as she'd fill a position of need: power forward.
Katelynn Flaherty (NJ–2014): She unofficially visited both Louisville and Kentucky this weekend. That leaves just Ole Miss and Vanderbilt on the list of unofficial visits she had planned to make this month. She says she'll release her list of top schools soon. Flaherty then plans to take official visits to those schools. She'll probably make her college choice in early October.
Taylor Rooks (NJ–2014): Latest to be named one of MSGVarsity's "players to watch." Where Rooks's recruiting stands is a bit of a mystery, and this article doesn't provide much enlightenment in that area, saying only that she had drawn interest from Stanford, Syracuse, Harvard, and Maryland during her junior year. Someone on a UConn board recently claimed that Rooks has an offer from the Huskies, but I've never seen any confirmation of that.
Kia Nurse (Ontario–2014): Some time in the last few days, Blue Star gave Nurse a huge boost in their 2014 rankings—from #95 to #10.
Christa Reed (MS–2014) has committed to Vanderbilt, the first school among her six finalists that she was scheduled to visit. She's not planning to make the remainder of her planned visits. Here's a quote from a local news article on her commitment:
“They have great academics,” Reed said. They showed you everything you need to go to college. Plus, it was one of the closer universities to me, and it’s in the SEC.”
Katelynn Flaherty (NJ–2014): Vanderbilt just got another verbal commitment from Paris Kea, a top-100 point guard in the 2014 class. This would presumably lessen, if not entirely extinguish, Flaherty's interest in the Commodores (and perhaps vice versa). Out of the schools she planned to unofficially visit this month, Vanderbilt is one of two (along with Ole Miss) she apparently hasn't yet made it out to. Flaherty is known to have visited the following schools this month, in this order: Georgia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Louisville, and Kentucky.
Kia Nurse (Ontario–2014): Nurse is featured in this video profile from TSN, basically the Canadian version of ESPN. I've also seen speculation of late interest in her from Ohio State. To me, that seems like an unlikely destination for her.
Marina Mabrey (NJ-2015): With the commitment of her close friend and teammate Katelynn Flaherty to Michigan, Mabrey seems to be a more realistic possibility for the Wolverines, so I'll add her to the board soon.
Kalabrya Gondrezick (MI-2015) and Kysre Gondrezick (MI-2016): The sisters from Benton Harbor were in East Lansing yesterday for an unofficial visit to MSU.
Curteeona Brelove (FL-2014): A possible new prospect for 2014. Michigan has reportedly expressed interest in her. She's a 6-2 power forward out of Malone H.S. in Malone, Florida (located in the Florida panhandle). Prospects Nation has Brelove as an unranked four-star, featuring her in this item from July in which they called her "one of the biggest stock risers of the summer."
Taylor Rooks (NJ-2014): There have been reports on message boards of Rooks narrowing her list to UConn, Harvard, Princeton, St. John's, and Stanford. I'll leave her up on the board for now, until there's some confirmation of this.
Asia Doss (MI-2014): Have mentioned Doss a couple times as a possible Michigan target, but this report says she "has Purdue, Ohio State, and Illinois on her list." Not sure if those are her finalists, but as far as Michigan goes it's probably a moot point now that Flaherty has committed. I can't see Michigan taking two point guards in the 2014 class. Arica Carter is more of a combo guard, so I don't think Flaherty's commitment affects her.
Prospects Nation posted this article on Katelynn Flaherty's commitment to Michigan. They got a couple quotes from her:
“I felt very comfortable with the staff and the rest of the Michigan community,” Flaherty said. “I also wanted to step into a school and be able to play and to contribute right away and help build a program to be a top contender.”
“I want to be able to bring leadership, enthusiasm, and a positive and intense work ethic to this program,” Flaherty added.
The writer also touches on other Wolverine targets, saying "Michigan [is] still actively recruiting ELITE 100 prospects such as Tyesha Taylor of Temple, Texas, Kristen Simon of Los Angeles, Calif., and Cayla McMorris of Brooklyn Park., Minn." As I've posted, Michigan is a finalist for McMorris, but Simon several weeks named her top five and Michigan wasn't one of the five, so this info is questionable at best. I mentioned Taylor once before. She's a 6-4 center who was offered by Michigan more than a year ago and who at that time had more than two dozen offers in all. I've heard little about her since, so I have no idea if Michigan is really still "actively recruiting" her.
Matt Bamford: I've updated the post above about him (link), but to reiterate here: Bamford is being hired as "assistant to the head coach"—not as an assistant coach. None of the assistants are leaving.
Cierra Rice (MI-2015): She took unofficial visits to Michigan St. yesterday and Michigan today.
Kia Nurse (Ontario-2014): Yet another school targeting Nurse is Louisville.
Should have done this earlier, but a simple search revealed a phillyburbs.com article on Matt Bamford's hiring. It sheds some light on his duties, which will center on but go beyond recruiting:
“My primary role will be recruiting but one of the major reasons I took this is I’ll be able to get my feet wet in some different categories,” said Bamford, who played basketball one year for the Bucks under coach Adam Sherman. “I’ll be involved in video and scoring films.
“It’s a full-time gig. They just created the position. I’ll be able to sit on the bench (during games). I’ll be doing something, charting something. It’s a good opportunity. I’ll also get to do some things administrative.”
Bret McCormick of ASGR has a post on 2014 recruiting in which he talks briefly about Michigan:
”Michigan has added a 1, 2 and 3. Flaherty is a skilled, tough player who just loves the game, Dunston is a big guard who can score, and Backman is a wing with great size.”
His characterization of Jillian Dunston is interesting, and I've changed her position to "guard/wing" on the chart. Also, this post has Maria Backman ranked #129 nationally, which is an upgrade from the ASGR ranking of #158 at the time of her commitment. Dunston remains at #98, and the newly committed Katelynn Flaherty obviously stays at #19.
Just a quick side note: There might be another 2014 Michigan target at the 5 position who remains uncommitted: Khaalia Hillsman, a 6-5 center out of Whitney Young H.S. in Chicago (making her a teammate of Taylor Brame). MWRR has her ranked #1 in Illinois in the 2014 class (see this page for links to scouting reports on her). Prospects Nation has her at #38 in the nation. There's little solid info out there on who's actviely recruiting her and which schools she's considering.
Taylor Rooks (NJ-2014): has eliminated UConn from consideration.
Tyesha Taylor (TX-2014): Just mentioned a few days ago about the lack of info on Taylor, and now word comes out that she's taking an official visit to New Mexico State this weekend.
Taylor Brame (IL-2014): Not sure who eliminated whom, but Brame is no longer a Michigan prospect.
Kia Nurse (Ontario-2014), Eternati Willock (Ontario-2015), and Iziegbe (Lorraine) Enabulele (Ontario-2014): Crown Magazine recently released new rankings for Canadian players, and not surprisingly they have Nurse #1 in the 2014 class. Enabulele was ranked #4 in that class, while Willock garnered the top spot in the 2015 class.
Cayla McMorris (MN-2014): She's officially visiting Illinois this weekend.
Michigan visitors: There will be at least a few women's basketball visitors in for the Notre Dame game this weekend. Michigan commit Jillian Dunston will be taking her official visit, and it looks like Hallie Thome (OH-2015) will be in for another unofficial (and presumably her sister Hannah as well, although I'm not sure about that). Not sure about any others yet. One 2014 commit who won't be taking her official this weekend is Katelynn Flaherty—she'll be back in Ann Arbor the weekend of September 13.
EDIT: Michigan commit Maria Backman is also in town for her official visit this weekend.
EDIT2: Kalabrya Gondrezick (MI-2015) also made the trip into town from Benton Harbor for the Notre Dame game. Once again, the men's basketball team (including former players) helped out: Gondrezick posted a picture online of her and Trey Burke, while Hallie Thome posted one with her and Mitch McGary.
As I mentioned above, Michigan commit Katelynn Flaherty will be in for her offiical visit this coming weekend. Also in town
, presumably also for an official will be Emoni Jackson (CA-2014), who I mentioned once before in this thread. Jackson, a 6-1 wing/forward who's attending Long Beach Poly this year (same school as Arica Carter), was offered by Michigan in June 2012—at the same time Michigan freshman Siera Thompson was offered. Later that summer, Jackson tore an ACL and sat out her entire junior year, and I don't believe she played AAU ball at all this summer. (She had played AAU for Cal Sparks Gold, same as Thompson and Carter.) It does sound as though she'll be playing for Long Beach Poly this winter.
I'm not sure which other schools might be involved with Jackson at this time. Prior reports mentioned UCLA, USC, and Penn State. I'm guessing UCLA is likely out of the picture as they already have five commits for 2014.
Because she hasn't played in so long, there's little out there on her of a recent vintage. About the best item I could find was a local newspaper profile from February 2012 titled "Taking Charge."
This season, Emoni Jackson is averaging a double-double for the second consecutive year. She leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game and rebounds at 12.4. She leads the team in blocked shots (26), is second with 1.5 assists per game and has a team-high 2.4 steals per game.
All the while facing double and triple teams.
"I'm not surprised because I know I can do it," she said of her double-double average. "I'm proud that I've been able to score as much as I have. I just have to work harder and keep trying to get better."
In that article, her then high school coach calls her a future All-American. She's also a very good student.
Prospects Nation released an updated/expanded top 150 for the 2014 class today. Katelynn Flaherty remains at #23, while Maria Backman makes her debut in their rankings at #135. Others of interest in their top 150:
- #48 Cayla McMorris (up from #69)
- #60 Taylor Rooks (up from #61)
- #62 Arica Carter (up from #88)
- #80 Aaliyah Jones (down from #78)
- #89 Tyesha Taylor (down from #83)
- #140 Curteeona Brelove
As usual, these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, as all the WBB rankings are inherently less reliable than those on the men's side.
MWRR provides an update on the recruitment of Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015), with the highlight being that Notre Dame has become the latest school to offer her. She now has 19 high-major offers: Notre Dame, Duke, Kansas, Marquette, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Syracuse, Iowa, DePaul, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Purdue, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Rutgers and Vanderbilt. Also of note: "On top of this list of official offers she is also receiving strong interest from Cal, Stanford, UConn, Penn State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Yale."
A contact period recently began for women's basketball coaches, allowing them to make in-home visits with recruits and visit them at their schools. There's some guesswork involved here, but one of the Michigan coaches flew into Denver, with a reasonable assumption being that she was there for a visit with Diani Akigbogun (CO-2014). Again, I'm not 100% certain of this, but I believe that another coach took a trip to visit Eternati Willock (Ontario-2015).
Two other new names have emerged as being on Michigan's radar and possibly being visited this month: Jonell Williams (FL-2015) and Anna Hammaker (TN-2015). Williams is a 6-2 center from Palatka, Florida, who has a ton of top schools interested in and thus seems a long shot at best. Hammaker is a 5-8 guard attending the Christian Academy of Knoxville and ranked #45 in the 2015 class by Blue Star.
Also, coaches from Kansas and Arkansas have traveled this week to Temple, Texas, to visit Tyesha Taylor (TX-2014). UPDATE: Taylor has narrowed her list, and Michigan isn't on it (as I suspected).
Rankings side note: A new national top 100 for 2014 was posted today by espnW, with Michigan commit Katelynn Flaherty ranked #67. Others of interest:
- 19. Taylor Rooks
- 78. Arica Carter
- 86. Cayla McMorris
Also, LBInsider recently posted an udpated 2015 top 10 for the state of the Michigan. They have Tania Davis and Cierra Rice tied for #1, followed by Kalabrya Gondrezick at #3. I'm fairly certain all three have been offered by Michigan. I think Davis will head out of state for college (apparently, Michigan State has yet to offer her, and they had appeared to be the early favorite for her given that she's an MSU fan). Michigan's chances with Rice and Gondrezick appear much stronger, although it seems doubtful to me that both will end up in Ann Arbor. The LBI top 10 also has Reyna Frost at #5; she attended the Michigan Elite Camp in June. Michigan has also expressed some interest in Ariel Bethea, ranked #8.
LBI's top 15 for 2014 is interesting in that the top 3—Marte Grays, Asia Robeson, and Asia Doss—all remained uncommitted. Reports indicate that all three will choose a college outside Michigan.
As noted, two 2014 prospects—Michigan commit Katelynn Flaherty and target Emoni Jackson—will be in Ann Arbor this weekend for official visits. So far, I've heard of three unofficial visitors for the Akron football game, all in-staters:
- Bailey Thomas (2016): 5-9 guard, Bloomfield Hills Marian
- Sam Thomas (2017): 5-11 wing, Bloomfield Hills Marian
- Tyler Bennett (2017): 6-4 center, Detroit Country Day
All three play AAU ball for the Michigan Monarchs. The Thomas sisters attended a Michigan practice in August (see this post above for more info on them). There isn't much out there (yet) on Bennett.
Update: Arica Carter is taking an official visit to Arizona State this weekend. This is the first I've heard about her official visits, so perhaps visits to her remaining finalists—Michigan, Kansas, and Ohio St.—are still ahead.
Update2: Hallie Thome (OH-2015) will be visiting Purdue tomorrow, taking in their football game vs. Notre Dame.
Update3: Have updated the board following the commitment of Emoni Jackson. A couple other notes: Hannah Thome joined her sister on the visit to Purdue. Asia Robeson (MI-2014)—mentioned in the previous post—committed to Auburn this weekend.
Also, here's a nice write-up on the Michigan Monarchs AAU program, which places heavy emphasis on academics. It doesn't talk about the players mentioned above who visited Michigan for the Akron game, but it does say that the 2016 group "has won the state [AAU] championship in Michigan the last four years."
Class Rankings: I mentioned in my updated overview in the OP the possibility of Michigan's 2014 recruiting class being ranked in the top 15 nationally or even higher. Today, with less than two months until the beginning of the early signing period (Nov. 13–20), Prospects Nation posted their revised top 25 class rankings, with Michigan slotted at #13. That's third-best in the Big Ten, behind only OSU (#2) and Maryland (#11). Purdue (#21) and Nebraska (#22) also make the list.
Cayla McMorris (MN-2014): She's taken official visits to Illinois and Wisconsin the last two weekends, and there have been reports of recent in-home visits with Iowa and Colorado. There was also a report of her being down to a final four—not five. And the conclusion appears to be, as I suspected, that McMorris is no longer a Michigan target.
Aaliyah Jones (NY-2014): Committed to Fordham today, so she's definitely off the board.
Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015): Coaches from UConn, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, and Tennessee all came out to watch her at an open gym on Sept. 15.
At least one of the Michigan coaches was in Milwaukee yesterday for what I assume was an in-home visit with Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015). It's clear this coaching staff isn't going to back down regardless of who is trying to make a late recruiting run.
One of the Michigan assistant coaches was in Maryland yesterday for an in-home visit with Michigan commit Jillian Dunston and her family. And Kim Barnes Arico is in Denver today, and my guess is that she's there to pay a visit to Diani Akigbogun.
Just so there's no confusion, I'm sure the coaches have made a number of other visits this month that I'm not aware of. I'm posting only what I know or have a reasonable guess about.
Remaining 2014 Targets: Just to reiterate and expand on the overview in the OP: With Cayla McMorris down to Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and Taylor Rooks reportedly down to Harvard, Princeton, St. John's, and Stanford, that leaves the known remaining Michigan targets for 2014 as power forward Diani Akigbogun and combo guards Arica Carter and Kia Nurse.
Almost nothing is publicly known about which schools Akigbogun is considering. I'm guessing that her decision, like that of her high school teammates, will essentially come out of the blue.
Carter has Michigan in her final four, along with Arizona State, Kansas, and Ohio State. Word was that she planned to make official visits to all four. The only other info that I'm aware of since then is that she took her official to ASU last weekend. EDIT: Just saw a credible report on a message board saying Carter is taking an official visit to Texas Tech this weekend—an interesting twist to her recruitment.
Nurse and her family have been keeping quiet about which schools might be at the top of their list. Nurse is in Mexico right now playing for Team Canada in the FIBA Americas tournament, which runs through Sept. 28, so there's unlikely to be any news on her recruitment until after that.
The only other 2014 possibility I'm aware of is Curteeona Brelove, the 6-2 power forward/center from Florida, but I've heard nothing recently linking her to Michigan.
2015 Rankings: espnW recently posted an updated top 60 for 2015, with known Michigan targets as follows:
- 16. Brianna Jones, 5-9 G (NY)
- 23. Marina Mabrey, 5-9 G (NJ)
- 25. Batouly Camara, 6-2 F/C (NJ)
- 26. Brittany Ward, 6-1 W (IN)
- 30. Faith Suggs, 6-1 F (IL)
- 31. Victoria Gaines, 6-1 F (IN)
- 33. Arike Ogunbowale, 5-9 G (WI)
- 42. Kiah Gillespie, 6-2 W/F (CT)
- 53. Kalabrya Gondrezick, 5-8 G (MI)
Except for Victoria Gaines and Brittany Ward, all these prospects are either on the board or have been mentioned in an earlier post in this thread. Gaines, who's from Merrillville, Indiana, has offers from Michigan St., Purdue, and Texas Tech, according to this article. Other schools to have expressed interest, besides Michigan, include Ball St., Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas. MWRR has a scouting report on her in this post.
From Indianapolis Pike H.S., Ward has garnered interest from a number of schools, including Butler, Cincinnati, Dayton, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn St., and Purdue.
McMorris announced tonight on twitter that she's committing to Wisconsin.
Curteeona Brelove committed to Virginia Commonwealth today.
The possibilities for a fifth member of the 2014 class dwindle further as Diani Akigbogun commits (out of the blue, as predicted) to Texas.
EDIT: Denver Post has an item on Akigbogun's commitment that includes this:
According to Raiders coach Carl Mattei, the 6-foot Akigbogun, who averaged 13.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks as a junior, had also seriously considered Michigan, Baylor, USC and South Florida.
Kia Nurse: A report on Swish Appeal says Nurse's five finalists are Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Penn State, and Tennessee.
Curteeona Brelove: This article says Brelove picked VCU over East Carolina and Virginia Tech, so it seems like Michigan never went past the "expressing interest" stage with her.
Tyesha Taylor: committed to New Mexico State.
T'aire "T. T." Starks (MN-2015): New target for 2015. A Michigan assistant coach was recently at her high school for an open gym. Starks is a 5-9 guard/wing out of Hopkins H.S. in Minnetonka, Minnesota. She's considered one of the top players in Minnesota in the 2015 class; nationally, Prospects Nation ranks her #25 (and in June 2013 posted a scouting report on her here). She sat out most of her sophomore year of high school with a knee injury. Plays AAU ball for North Tartan (same squad as Cayla McMorris). Blue Star posted an evaluation of Starks in this rundown of an event held in June 2013.
Visitors: Michigan commits Akienreh Johnson and Brelynn Hampton-Bey recently atttended a Michigan women's basketball open gym. Also of note, Blue Star currently has Hampton-Bey ranked #19 in the 2017 class.
Speaking of Cayla McMorris: One last note today—McMorris committed to Wisconsin tonight. She's actually the Badgers' first commit for 2014. It's interesting to note that that leaves Penn State as the last Big Ten team without a 2014 commitment. PSU signed a huge class of seven in 2013, most of whom were wings, forwards, or posts, so Kia Nurse, a premier guard, would fit right in there.
One of the Michigan coaches attended a practice today at Grosse Pointe South, checking in on 2015 target Cierra Rice. Also on South's roster is Bre'nae Andrews, a 5-9 guard/wing in the 2014 class. She had been committed to Stetson but decommitted earlier this month. It seems unlikely that Michigan is pursuing her, but she is ranked #7 in the state by LBI. Andrews played with Madison Ristovski at Liggett before transferring to South prior to her junior year.
Michigan also recently visited Arbor Prep in Ypsilanti, where there are at least a couple of possible prospects of interest: Zakiya Wells, a 5-6 guard in the class of 2015, and 2016 prospect Nastassja Chambers, a 5-8 guard/wing. MWRR has a scouting report for Wells here, and Chambers, who's ranked #6 in the state among 2016 players by LBI, is evaluated by MWRR in this report (as are Wells, Andrews, and Ariel Bethea, a 5-9 Ann Arbor Huron guard  who's garnered some Michigan interest).
There was a report that 6-2 wing/forward Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015) received a Michigan offer today. Now, I saw a report in July that said she had a Michigan offer, so perhaps the earlier one was mistaken. In any case, today's report said she received offers from Michigan and Tennessee.
Swish Appeal reports on another 2015 Michigan target from Minnesota: Sam Trammel, a 6-1 power forward out of Eden Prairie H.S. (who also plays AAU for North Tartan). Trammel has home visits scheduled with Michigan, Wake Forest, and Denver this week and had previous visits with Iowa and Valparaiso. Prospects Nation has her ranked #37 in the 2015 class and offered this evaluation in a June 2013 report:
Trammel embodies everything that most basketball fans would want out of a power forward. Her strength on the defensive glass and her offensive presence in the lane make her a centerpiece on nearly any squad. What was impressive for us to see in game play was Trammel’s ability to play in the “two-man” game system with a play-making guard. She creates mismatch opportunities because of her ability to set solid screens while also being a threat to score the ball.
2016 rankings: espnW posted a top 25 for 2016 today, with Kyrse Gondrezick coming in at #22.
Coincidently (or not), the Gondrezick sisters are the subject of an espnW article today: Sisters Share Unbreakable Bond.
Key passage (in terms of recruiting, with emphasis added):
The girls are more than just great athletes. Both are first in their class academically. Kalabrya has a 4.7 GPA. Kysre has a 4.6.
Both want to study communications, and there is a chance that whichever college convinces Kalabrya to accept a scholarship will also get Kysre.
Kalabrya said there is a slight chance she will pick her college by November. In no particular order, the schools that interest her are Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Yale, Northwestern and Louisville.
"I don't want to go too far from home," said Kalabrya, who also wants to minor in fashion design and has a dream of creating a line of women's athletic clothes that are feminine and not too baggy or too tight.
Meanwhile, Kysre writes for her school paper, The Benton Spirit, and has her own column called "Eye of the Tiger." Among others, she has interviewed former Benton Harbor and NBA All-Star Chet Walker.
Kysre is content to wait until her sister makes her college choice before she decides.
"My mom has made it clear that I don't have to go to the same school as my sister," Kysre said. "Buy why wouldn't I want to play with my sister?
"I will at least consider the school she chooses. … I just want to play basketball at the highest level possible."
One of the Michigan assistants was out in California today for a home visit with commit Emoni Jackson. Could be he also stopped off to meet with Arica Carter.
Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015) was part of a four-member US team that today won the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship. Coaches from Connecticut, Duke, Notre Dame, and Stanford reportedly make the trip to Indonesia to watch the competition. There's coverage at the official USA basketball site, although they're a bit behind on their recaps. EDIT: Recap of gold medal game is here.
Asia Doss (MI-2014): Previously noted that this point guard from Detroit Country Day was down to Ohio State, Illinois, and Purdue. She committed to OSU today while on her official visit there.
Taylor Brame (IL-2014): This former Michigan target committed to Southern Methodist today.
Some OSU blogger is saying that despite Asia Doss long being considered a college point guard prospect, she'll play off-guard for Ohio because they already have Kelsey Mitchell in the same class. We'll see how that works out. But, more importantly, Doss picking Ohio seems (to me at least) to mean that Arica Carter will be less likely to do the same.
Victoria Gaines (IN-2015): mentioned previously as possible Michigan target—she committed to Michigan State today.
Alyssa Rice (OH-2014): committed to Kentucky today, with Virginia being her other finalist. Michigan had been among Rice's final eight before she further trimmed her list.
Toledo commits: Quick follow-up: Before committing to Michigan, Akienreh Johnson was receiving from Maryland, Xavier, Toledo, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Louisville, while Brelynn Hampton-Bey had received interest from Toledo, West Virginia, Xavier, Kentucky, and Louisville.
Kristen Simon (CA-2014): This former Michigan target is reportedly down to USC and Cal, eliminating Ohio St., Louisville, and Texas.
ASGR 2014 Rankings: ASGR posted their top 150 for 2014 today. The rankings of three of Michigan's commits remain unchanged, but Maria Backman has moved up to #117 (from #129). Arica Carter is at #66 (was #125), while Taylor Rooks is #24.
Daneesha Provo: This is a name to keep an eye on in the 2014 class. Provo is a 5-10 guard/wing originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, but now attending Kent School, a prep school in Connecticut. She plays AAU for Exodus NYC, and she also recently played on Canada's 3x3 U18 team at the FIBA world championships, alongside Eternati Willock. Michigan may be recruiting her—can't say for sure. She's definitely being recruited by Seton Hall. This highlight video is pretty impressive.
Just to wrap this up given that I mentioned her, Daneesha Provo committed to Clemson yesterday.
MWRR rundown: Coverage of the late-September Midwest Showcase includes this on Faith Suggs (IL-2015):
Faith is extremely athletic and long. Has very good ball handing skills and has the ability to navigate her way through defenders. Likes to aggressively attack he rim and gets to the free throw line often, which are easy points for her. Faith has good defense and uses her length to stay in front of her opposition and knock balls away.
That rundown also includes Allazia Blockton, a 6-0 forward from Wisconsin who's another player to keep an eye on in the 2015 class. MWRR reported several months ago that she has offers from Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Marquette, and Milwaukee. She's an AAU teammate of Arike Ogunbowale.
ASGR 2015 Rankings: ASGR posted a top 100 for 2015 today. Michigan targets or possible targets include:
- 9. Arike Ogunbowale (WI)
- 12. Taylor Murray (MD)
- 14. Marina Mabrey (NJ)
- 18. Batouly Camara (NJ)
- 24. Teniya Page (IL)
- 25. Faith Suggs (IL)
- 29. Tierra Floyd (OH)
- 30. Kalabrya Gondrezick (MI)
- 36. T'aire "T. T." Starks (MN)
- 38. Brianna Jones (NY)
- 39. Kiah Gillespie (CT)
- 47. Cierra Rice (MI)
- 52. Jordan Moore (TX)
- 56. Anna Hammaker (TN)
- 61. Brittany Ward (IN)
- 73. Eternati Willock (Ont.)
- 81. Tania Davis (MI)
- 82. Hallie Thome (OH)
- 84. Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski (NY)
Visitors: Several commits and prospects will be taking unofficial visits to Michigan this weekend. They include three players from Toledo Rogers: Michigan commits Akienreh Johnson and Brelynn Hampton-Bey, along with 6-2 forward Keasja Peace (2016). A Toledo Blade article from over the summer says Peace has offers from Michigan, Toledo, EMU, and CMU. Blue Star offered this scouting report on Peace following the July 2013 Nike Nationals event:
Quality, athletic bigs always catch the eye of coaches and evaluators and 6-2 Keasja Peace, who hails from Toledo, Ohio, has the chance to be just what those folks are looking for. Peace has a long athletic college body that helps her rebound the ball at highest point, run the floor, and finish well in the paint. Her midrange shot is a work in progress but she does have a nice low post, face up game. Peace, of the Michigan Crossover, has the potential to be a dominate force at both ends. A 2016 with a tremendous upside.
In from Minnesota will be Sam Trammel (2015), the 6-1 power forward out of Eden Prairie mentioned in an earlier post. Also visiting is Jonell Williams (2015) a 6-2 post from Palatka H.S. in Palatka, Florida. A ton of schools have recently expressed interest in her, including Florida, Stanford, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio St., Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.
Yet another visitor is Dominique Toussaint (2016), a 5-9 combo guard out of New York City basketball powerhouse Christ the King. She participated in the USA U16 trials earlier this year, during which Prospects Nation featured her in a "four to know" post:
Toussaint is a powerful 5-foot-9 combo type guard with the ability to make a high volume of plays with the basketball in her hands. She is a good athlete who can handle the ball well enough to create her own shots and then elevate to finish in congested areas. This weekend was a strong showing for the class of 2016 prospect as she managed to turn a high heads and make us all take note of her game.
There's an earlier eval of Toussaint in this Blue Star post.
Reyna Frost (MI-2015): MWRR included Frost, who attended Michigan's Elite Camp back in June, in this rundown from a late September event:
Reyna Frost, 6'0 F, 2015, Michigan Sting - Frost is one of the best passers out of the post that we saw all weekend. She has a solid frame that she uses to establish position early in the possession. Good footwork in the post and a consistent finisher. She is a high volume rebounder that works very hard at her craft.
Samantha "Sam" Fuehring (NJ-2015): Another 2015 Michigan prospect coming to light, Fuehring is a 6-3 forward out of Immaculate Conception H.S. in Lodi, New Jersey. Mid-Atlantic Girls Hoops ran a Recruit Radar feature on her in July:
Fuehring is an edgy, hard-nosed forward with perimeter skills and a college-ready body. Sam prefers to "bang" inside than score outside but does both with a high degree of efficiency. She plays with a high degree of intensity and is a fierce competitor. Ball handling is OK considering her size and can use some polish but is more than serviceable for her position. Shot mechanics are solid, so a stretch 4 position is not out of the question. The scary part about Fuehring is she is nowhere near her peak potential and is already a mid-major to high D1 prospect. Do yourself a favor; go watch her play and start recruiting. She's a steal!
She's definitely an under-the-radar prospect and doesn't appear on any of the public rankings. But already in July she had offers from Fordham, Seton Hall, and Wagner, along with interest from Delaware, Indiana, Penn State, and William and Mary. A recently posted highlight video can be found here.
Forgot to mention that Blue Star has Jonell Williams ranked #23 in the 2015 class.
Also, Samantha Fuehring is in fact another Michigan visitor today.
Arica Carter: Reportedly down to Arizona State and Kansas. It's increasingly possible that Michigan's (excellent) 2014 class is complete.
Taiye Bello (MI-2016): This 6-1 power forward out of Southfield Lathrup H.S. received an offer from Michigan today. She was yet another visitor today.
Kristen Nelson (MI-2016): Also on an unofficial visit yesterday was Kristen Nelson, a 5-8 guard out of Farmington Hills Harrison H.S. In their 2016 in-state rankings (which I don't think have been updated in some time), LBI has Nelson ranked #7. Her freshman stats, per MaxPreps: 7.6 points, 5.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 steals per game. Mick McCabe gave her a bit of pub in this article from February. Nelson plays AAU for the Michigan Monarchs, same program as Sam and Bailey Thomas and Tyler Bennett.
2016 Prospects: Have added several prospects to the list of 2016 targets (the 2015 list still needs to be updated). Note that Blue Star has Dominique Toussaint ranked #13 in the country.
Arica Carter: Her recruiting saga has been quite interesting. Latest is that she'll be taking an official visit to Louisville this weekend, contradicting the last report saying she was down to Kansas and Arizona State.
Tierra Webb (IL-2015): This recruit has been on Michigan's radar for some time, although I can't say whether she's a major target or not. MWRR posted another scouting report on her in this rundown.
2015 Rankings: Prospects Nation has updated its top 60 for 2015. Michigan targets:
- Arike Ogunbowale: #7
- Marina Mabrey: #11
- Batouly Camara: #12 (up from #57)
- Teniya Page: #16 (up from #26)
- Taylor Murray: #20
- Faith Suggs: #29 (up from #42)
- T'aire Starks: #33
- Brianna Jones: #37
- Sam Trammel: #40
- Brittany Ward: #53
- Kiah Gillespie: #54 (new to top 60)
- Theresa Ekhelar: #59 (new to top 60)
Boogie Brozoski, previously #56, is now an unranked 4-star.
Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015): Hoops Dream Magazine has a profile of Gillespie that says she has
over 20 offers to date including Rutgers, University of Michigan, Seton Hall, South Carolina, University of Tennessee, Alabama, VCU, Ole Miss, Temple, and West Virginia
Out of the schools mentioned, the South Carolina, Temple, VCU, and West Virginia offers are ones that have not previously been reported. The profile also quotes her as saying, "I will probably release my top schools towards the end of my junior year."
Class Rankings: Prospects Nation updated their 2014 recruiting class rankings, with Michigan's class slotted at #18. Only two other Big Ten teams appear in their top 25—Ohio St. at #2 and Maryland at #14.
2016 Rankings: Prospects Nation released its first top 25 for 2016 today. Recent Michigan visitor Dominique Toussaint (NY) is #15, while Kysre Gondrezick (MI) is #21.
Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015): now receiving interest from Duke, but no offer yet.
Kia Nurse (Ont.-2014): FWIW, article out today has a bit of info that contradicts the previous report that Nurse was down to a final five. It says: "She has a list of seven that she is presently narrowing to four to which she will schedule official visits. One of the visits will be to the University of Connecticut . . . on Nov. 9." The other six schools aren't named.
A final note on Kia Nurse just to make clear that Michigan is no longer in the running: a recent report said she is down to Indiana, Penn State, UConn, and Tenneseee. She took an official to Indiana this weekend.
EDIT: Prospects Nation item from today says Nurse has a final five, not four, with Kentucky still in the running. Also, she may not commit until after the early signing period.
I work about 2 miles from Rogers High School, so I'm planning on checking out some games this winter. Wish I had a camera so I could provide some highlights for the board.
I look forward to some scouting reports on the players!
Arica Carter: committed to Louisville during her official visit this weekend.
Visitors elsewhere: Among the visitors to the Marquette Madness kickoff event on Friday were Arike Ogunbowale (WI-2015) and Kristen Nelson (MI-2016).
Note on Purdue: The Boilermakers picked up two more 2014 commits this weekend. One of them was a post player from Utah, giving them two posts in the 2014 class. One would think this would make it less likely that Hallie Thome (OH-2015) ends up in West Lafayette. Also of note is that Purdue now has five 2014 commits and three for 2015, leaving them (at least at the moment) with just one scholarship left to use on either class—something to keep in mind given that several 2015 prospects have been pursued by both Purdue and Michigan.
Taylor Rooks (NJ-2014): this former Michigan target committed to Stanford today.
Nicole Munger, 5-8 combo guard out of Central Bucks West H.S. in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, committed to Michigan today. She's one of the Philly Belles players mentioned in an earlier post in connection with Matt Bamford. She's Michigan's first 2015 commit.
I added this to the hello post, but I figured it should go here as well—news article on Munger's commitment: CB West's Nicole Munger verbally commits to Michigan, which says she had also garnered interest from Drexel, Saint Joseph's, Boston College, and LSU.
Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski has commited to Michigan.
Great! It looks like our ball-handling needs will be taken care of for several years after a decade of point guard shortages.
Now we just need to get some bigs.
Kiah Gillespie (CT-2015): Prospects Nation includes her in this rundown of 2015 top 60 prospects expected to make a major jump over the next year:
Kiah Gillespie of Meriden, Conn., has all of the physical tools to be one of the premier forwards in the country this time next year. The four-star prospect made great strides during the July evaluation period, establishing herself as a wing who can score the basketball and be physical on the interior. Gillespie’s next step is proving that she can use that combination to become a dominant force on both ends of the floor.
Visitors to Michigan: On an unofficial visit today for the Indiana game is Deja Church, a 2017 wing out of Southfield Lathrup H.S. She plays AAU for Michigan Crossover. Not much else out there on her. She's also visited Toledo and Western Michigan.
- Hallie Thome (OH-2015) was in East Lansing yesterday for MSU's Midnight Madness event.
- Theresa Ekhelar (NJ-2015) took an unofficial to Temple, taking in a practice and their Midnight Madness.
- Kristen Nelson (MI-2016) was on an unofficial visit to Northwestern today.
Roster Addition: This won't affect the scholarship situation, but Michigan added another player to its roster as a walk-on—Nicole Flyer, a 6-2 junior forward who played high school basketball at Palisades H.S. in Los Angeles. She was on Michigan's rowing team the last two years (see bio). Not sure she'll see much action, but she does give the team a bit more frontcourt depth following Kelsey Mitchell's latest injury.
News Item: Newsday ran a brief item on Boogie Brozoski's commitment.
Another Article: Newsday ran a more detailed article on Brozoski indicating that Kim Barnes Arico has been recruiting Brozoski since she was in the eighth grade. Also includes some quotes from her and a longer list of other schools that had shown interest in her:
"That was a huge factor," Brozoski said. "Coach Arico started recruiting me at St. John's, and to know she had such great interest in me that she took with her to Michigan meant a lot."
Brozoski also drew interest from George Washington, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Villanova, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Harvard and Boston College. She ultimately chose Michigan because she said it felt right and had "the total package."
"Honestly, I just went with my gut and my heart,'' Brozoski said. "I just felt like that's where I belong."
Phillyburbs.com ran an item on Nicole Munger's commitment. Here's an excerpt:
“It was a very hard choice because it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made,” [Munger] said. “Every coach you talk to tells you that you’re just going to know when you walk on the campus.
“When we walked on the campus, we were blown away. It was everything we had talked about. We just really loved it. It was just it.
“The coaching staff is amazing. The head coach (Kim Barnes Arico) is awesome, and the team — I just felt so comfortable with them. An added bonus was the campus. The facilities are amazing.”
. . .
“When we played our really, really tough games, she was at her best,” [Central Bucks West coach Terry] Rakowsky said. “You could just see her evolve toward the end of last year, and she carried it into the Nike season where she was just a great all-around player. She’s really expanded her offensive game.
“She’s definitely a special kid, there’s no doubt about that.”
Also, Prospects Nation finally added Munger to their database, listing her as a four-star.
This is amazing: another commit for 2015: Naomi Davenport, 5-10 wing, Mount Notre Dame H.S. (Cincinnati, OH); Cincinnati Angels AAU.
EDIT: Previous reports had her height as 5-10; one tweet on her commitment says she's 6-1.
EDIT2: Her AAU team lists Davenport as 6-0, while this Cincinnati Enquirer item on her commitment to Michigan goes with 5-11, so take your pick (I might now go with 5-11 as that probably came from her high school coach). The article says she also considered Cincinnati, Xavier, and Dayton.
With 2014 recruiting winding down, this seems like a good time to end this thread. I've left on the board all the current Michigan commitments, 2014–2017 (if they happen to get another 2014 commit, I will update the board to reflect that).
Going forward, I'll either at some point start a new thread focusing on 2015 and beyond, or perhaps I'll just start issuing periodic recruiting updates. Hello posts will continue to go up as commitments occur.
Well, I thought Michigan was done with 2014 recruits who might sign in the fall (there are a couple juco possibilities, but they'd more likely be spring signees), but a new target seems to have popped up: Terra Stapleton, a 6-4 post who had committed to Minnesota in October 2012 but reportedly decommitted recently. She attends Fairland H.S. in Proctorville, Ohio (located in the southeastern part of the state, near Huntington, West Virginia). She apparently wants to attend a school closer to home. Her AAU team is West Virginia Thunder.
Here's a Blue Star eval from a January 2013 event rundown:
Another member on Ohio’s ultra-deep 2014 class is this early University of Minnesota commit. The 6-4 post came in averaging a double-double and stepped up with another in the form of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Fairland’s 13 point win over Clinton Massie. Stapleton is deceivingly mobile for her size and frame plus shows a willingness to work for the ball aggressively block to block. Her size and strength are something she could exploit more around the rim and will no doubt be an asset for her at the next level. There’s already plenty of production but lots more potential for her to tap into.
As is often the case, the rankings on Stapleton vary widely: ASGR has her #332 in country, calling her a "strong, true low post player who can score and pass," while espnW has her as a three star and the #16 post nationally, which would place her just outside their top 100. espnW's brief eval is: "Low-block performer with size defends, alters shots; rebounds and initiates fast break; developing consistency on faceup game to the arc; average mobility in transition." Prospects Nation also has her as an unranked three star.
Based on twitter activity today, Michigan is in pursuit.
One of the jucos Michigan has shown interest in is 6-3 center Ebony Wells, as has now been noted by PSB. She spent her freshman year at Florida State before going to Chipola College in Florida, so she's a potential 4-2-4 transfer to a D-1 program (similar to Shannon Smith). PSB says that she's "hearing from both Tennessee Tech and Michigan consistently amongst others. Both schools were part of a large contingent in to see Wells in early September." PSB says she was a top 150 player coming out of high school, but surprisingly ASGR didn't include Wells in their recent list of top 100 jucos. Another service, CGBR, in their juco rankings, has Wells ranked as the #4 center and #22 overall. EDIT: I asked ASGR about Wells, and it turns out her absence from their top 100 was an oversight. The list has been updated, and she's ranked #19.
Another potential juco target for Michigan is the #1 player on that ASGR list: Adut Bulgak, a 6-4 forward and former teammate of Shannon Smith at Trinity Valley. Originally from Canada, Bulgak committed to North Carolina but then changed course. ASGR says that she is "a strong player who can score down low, but she can also shoot the three. She has a very diverse game."
2014 Blue Star rankings: In advance of the early signing period, which begins Wednesday, Blue Star is finally catching up on all the commitments they had never reported, so their rankings for all four Michigan commits for 2014 can now be reported (for comparison, the ASGR ranking is shown in parentheses):
- 223. Maria Backman (117)
- 185. Jillian Dunston (98)
- 25. Katelynn Flaherty (19)
- 152. Emoni Jackson (85)
One odd thing is that Blue Star has Backman listed as a center. She's generally expected to play the three or four in college.
Michigan is expecting to receive four LOIs today, so the class for now is set at Backman, Dunston, Flaherty, and Jackson. It remains to be seen if anyone else will sign either later in this early signing period or in the spring.
Buried on the Blue Star site are their recruiting class rankings for 2014 as of November 11. Michigan comes in at #25. Here's how all the Big Ten programs rank:
- 2. Ohio State
- 11. Maryland
- 14. Purdue
- 16. Minnesota
- 21. Michigan State
- 25. Michigan
- 28. Iowa
- 37. Nebraska
- 42. Illinois
Indiana, Rutgers, and Northwestern are listed as "honorable mention." Blue Star uses a numerical formula to rank their classes based on the players' rankings, so there's an inherent bias favoring larger classes. Minnesota, for example, has a five-recruit class, with none rated by Blue Star higher than #89, so their class seems overrated at #16. Certainly, on a consensus basis across the various recruiting services Michigan's class would be considered superior to Minnesota's. As I've noted, ASGR has Michigan's players ranked much higher than Blue Star, and I would expect Michigan to come in around #15 in ASGR's class rankings.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichwbball) November 13, 2013
— Michigan Basketball (@umichwbball) November 13, 2013
Side note: Former Michigan target Kristen Simon commited to/signed with USC today.\
— Michigan Basketball (@umichwbball) November 13, 2013
ASGR Class Rankings: These may very well change, but the first release of the ASGR recruiting class rankings for 2014 have Michigan's class at #21. Emoni Jackson is missing from the list of Michigan signees. Rankings for Big Ten programs are:
- 7. Ohio St.
- 15. Maryland
- 20. Michigan St.
- 21. Michigan
- 30. Illinois
- 33. Purdue
- 35. Rutgers
- 39. Nebraska
- 42. Minnesota
- 47. Iowa
- 58. Indiana
- 64. Northwestern
Looking at the classes right above Michigan's, I think the Wolverines should be at least a couple places higher—and certainly ahead of Michigan State.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichwbball) November 13, 2013
Press release: Wolverines Sign Four to National Letters of Intent
Updated ASGR recruiting class rankings: Michigan drops one spot to #22. Emoni Jackson is now listed among the signees.
Updated Blue Star recruiting class rankings: Michigan remains at #25.
Another Blue Star update: Michigan now at #26; Minnesota down to #24, which makes a little more sense.
Michigan adds post player to 2014 class: Terra Stapleton has committed to Michigan and will sign her LOI this week.
See Hello post for details.
Also, Kia Nurse committed to UConn today.
Prospects Nation updated their 2014 recruiting class rankings, with Michigan coming in at #20. That's third best in the Big Ten, behind only OSU (#3) and Maryland (#16).
ASGR has Michigan at #22; Blue Star ranks the Wolverines' class #26. These were posted before the addition of Terra Stapleton. Later revisions could change all these rankings by a place or two, but it's definitely a consensus top 25 class.
Now this should pretty much wrap up this thread. With all the highly ranked 2015 players the Michigan staff is pursuing (to add to the three 2015 commits already onboard), it seems highly unlikely that any more players will be added to the 2014 class (even if there is an open scholarship as a result of Val Driscoll not returning for a fifth year or some unexpected attrition).
Adut Bulgak was at the Notre Dame game last night sitting with Shannon Smith's parents and being escorted to and from the locker room by Matt Bamford.