With all the success the Michigan women's basketball program has had on the recruiting trail, one thing that's eluded them is a true post player. In fact, one recruiting service characterized the 2014 class as consisting of a 1, 2, 3, and 4. Well they've now added a 5 to that class: Terra Stapleton, a 6-4 center who attends Fairland H.S. in Proctorville, Ohio (located in the southeastern part of the state, near Huntington, West Virginia). She plays AAU ball for the West Virginia Thunder. She committed to Michigan today and will sign an NLI before the end of the early signing period on Wednesday.
Stapleton had committed to Minnesota in October 2012 but reopened her recruitment just within the last couple of weeks, reportedly because she wanted to attend a school closer to home.
Here's a Blue Star scouting report 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.
With Stapleton's commitment, Michigan is out of scholarships for 2014, barring any future attrition*. The staff is also left with just one open spot for 2015. With three commits so far for 2015, none of whom are post players, they may still look to secure a commitment from a center in that class. Among the players Michigan has targeted are 6-2 Batouly Camara (NJ), 6-6 Theresa Ekhelar (NJ), 6-4 Hallie Thome (OH), and 6-2 Jonell Williams (FL)—all highly rated prospects. Thome has been on campus multiple times; Williams took an unofficial visit in October and a Michigan coach recently trekked down to Palatka, Fla., to attend the first game of Williams's high school basketball season.
But there are a number of other top prospects they're also after who aren't centers, including two in-state players from 2015 who I've mentioned in previous threads: guards Kalabrya Gondrezick (Benton Harbor) and Cierra Rice (Grosse Pointe South). Michigan was also recently included in the final 11 of 5-9 guard Arike Ogunbowale, a 5-star, top-10 prospect out of Milwaukee. Her other finalists are Connecticut, Duke, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
*Note that this is based on Val Driscoll coming back for a fifth season. She's listed as a senior on the Michigan roster but has another year of eligibility left after having sat out last season with a torn ACL. I'm not going to just assume she won't get a fith year on the basis of how she's listed on the roster, however.