There may not be much Hampton can do about getting a No. 15 seed, which was the NCAA Tournament committee's reward for the Lady Pirates in March after the team won the not-too-highly-respected MEAC.
But there's no law that says Hampton must settle for 15 seed-level talent. Far from content to rest on last season's laurels, coach David Six has secured an eclectic four-player recruiting class that features scoring ability, size (man, does it feature size) and, best of all, upside.
"The nucleus (of last season's team) is back, but we'd be foolish to sit back and think they could just duplicate last year's success because everyone else is getting better, too," Six said. "But with this class I think we addressed some of our weaknesses. We're definitely a more talented team."
Chikilra Goodman, 5-9 G, Bodine High (Philadelphia)
The Lady Pirates had trouble scoring at times last season. Goodman is a scoring machine, as she averaged nearly 37 points a game to lead the nation (according to Maxpreps.com). Six said he was tipped off to Goodman by an HU alumnus, then checked her out for himself on a Youtube video (the music's bangin', too).
Upon contacting Goodman, he discovered even more good news - the young lady's mother, Tondalaya, played at Hampton from 1978-82 and still reigns as the program's all-time leading rebounder. A recent visit to the HU campus apparently clinched it for Goodman - "I went down there and fell in love with the school," she told the Philadelphia Tribune.
Sherena Abercrumbia, 6-3 C, Lon Morris College (Texas)
When Six indicated he wanted some more beef in the paint, he wasn't kidding - Abercrumbia currently weighs in at about 250 pounds. In Sherena's defense, it's tough to shed excess weight when you've had to battle two ACL tears - on in each knee - in less than three years. The most recent injury occurred last February during her sophomore season at the junior college. Still, Six maintained she should be ready to play the 2010-11 season.
"She's huge, but she's pretty light on her feet," he said. "Plus she's got a very, very high basketball IQ. But obviously, she needs to get in shape."
And while you can't teach size, you can teach someone to push themselves away from the dinner table. Six said he's already got Abercrumbia on a nutrition plan and vows she'll soon be in the best shape of her life.
Can't wait to see how this project turns out.
Breanna Harris, 5-11 F, Mansfield Summit High (Texas)
Harris averaged about 10 points and 8 rebounds for the balanced, powerful Jaguars. "She plays with a lot of energy, and she's as strong as an ox," Six said.
Mansfield Summit's finest hour came in 2009, when the Jags went 34-4 and upended Brittney Griner's Nimitz High (37-2) in the Texas 5A state title game. That Mansfield team was led by tournament MVP Starr Crawford, who went on to average 9.8 points and a team-best 8.8 rebounds as a freshman at TCU last season.
Christy Willis, 5-9 G, Lon Morris College (Texas)
A teammate of Abercrumbia's at Lon Morris, Willis ran the point and provided occasional lights-out scoring including one 33-point outburst.
"She's quick and sees the floor well," Six said. "Kind of puts you in the mind of a Jason Kidd."
Jason Kidd? Well, it sounds like at least she can shoot better than Kidd. Then again, a lot of players shoot better than Kidd.
Six said he may add one more player, a post-type, to round out his 2010-11 roster.