Friday, September 14, 2012

Verbal commitments: Virginia, W&M, VCU cleaning up

Trying to keep track of verbal commitments is tricky business. After all, although letters-of-intent are signed, everyone's still technically in play. These kids could change their minds tomorrow. Schools can, too. Furthermore, since schools can't say anything about these players - an antiquated NCAA rule that's really kind of silly in 2012 - it's a challenge to nail some of these commitments down.

With that in mind, here's what we know - or think we know - about what Virginia's Division I schools have to look forward to in 2013. Three schools, Virginia, VCU and  William and Mary, appear to be stockpiling the prospects, so we'll deal with them first:

The Cavaliers spend a great deal of money on women's basketball, but with four star-studded recruits having given verbal pledges - along with the possibility the Cavs aren't finished yet - coach Joanne Boyle has UVa. poised for a significant on-court return on its investment. In late July, ESPN ranked Virginia's 2013 class the third-best in Division I. Now, a lot of top-ranked players remain undecided so that ranking might slide a bit after November's early signing period. But we've already seen enough to conclude that Boyle's reputation as an elite recruiter is every bit as strong as advertised.
The players
Virginia-bound Tiffany Suarez
Breyana Mason, 5-9 G, Forest Park - Ranked No. 51 in ESPN's Top 100. Has been a Virginia commit since last December. Averaged 24 ppg last season
Tiffany Suarez, 5-11 G/F, Lourdes Academy (Fla.). - Four-star combo guard (ESPN) who averaged 14 ppg and earned All-Dade County honors.
Amanda Fioravanti, 6-1 F, Good Counsel (Md.) - Ranked No. 93 in ESPN's Top 100. First-team All-Met performer (Washington Post) and a high school teammate of Faith Randolph, who is now a Cavaliers freshman.
Sydney Umeri, 6-1 F, The Lovette School (Ga.) - Ranked No. 29 in ESPN's Top 100. Played on the 2011 USA Basketball U16 national team.

Given her late arrival, new coach Marlene Stollings probably had to hit the recruiting trail about 10 minutes after her introductory press conference. But with the help of an aggressive staff, the Rams are still making recruiting hay. Then again, they need to, as graduation/transfers leave VCU with plenty of openings to fill. The program's move to the upwardly mobile Atlantic 10 no doubt has helped the wooing process.
The players
Keira Robinson, 5-8 G, Keenan (S.C.) - A 2A all-state pick by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association who combines quickness and size at point guard.
Ashlee Mitchell, 5-7 G, Tennessee (Tenn) - Was also recruited by Stollings at Winthrop. "I knew I could trust her," Mitchell told about Stollings.
Isis Thorpe, 5-8 G, Reading (Pa.) - Also starred for the (Fabulous) Philadelphia Belles AAU squad. Averaged 20.2 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks for a Reading team that went 23-3. Thorpe was an all-state AAAA Player in Pennsylvania and Player of the Year in Berks County. She has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark.
Monnazjea Finney-Smith, 5-10 G, Wilson
Briana DuBose, 5-10 G, Bishop McNamara (Md.)
Camille Calhoun, 5-10 F, Archbishop Spalding (Md.)

NOTE: In April - prior to VCU's coaching change - the Rams also secured a commitment from Shanese Harris, a 5-9 guard from Chesapeake's Western Branch High. Harris has since re-opened her recruitment.

W&M recruit Marlena Tremba
William and Mary
Three years ago, Tribe coach Debbie Taylor was so smitten with her recruits she said the group "restored my faith in this generation." Taylor was talking about them as people, but it turns out Emily Correal, Jaclyn McKenna and Taylor Hilton can really ball, too. In fact, we keep insisting there's an 18-20-win team in there somewhere, and we're going to keep projecting this for the Tribe until they prove us right (although given they're all seniors now, we're running out of time). Anyway, Taylor needs a big class to replace these generation-savers, and it looks like she's putting one together.
The players
Latrice Hunter, 5-6 G, Norfolk Christian - Averaged a conference-leading 20.7 ppg last season and is her school's all-time leading scorer.
Marlena Tremba, 5-9 G, Paul VI Catholic - 3-point shooter deluxe and a first-team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Association pick who averaged about 18 ppg and helped her school win a sixth straight Virginia independent schools state title.
Kasey Curtis, 6-2 C, Paul VI Catholic - Her strong upside was noticed by ESPN in this talent showcase report.
Alexis Hofstaedter, 5-8 G, Council Rock South (Pa.) - Heady point guard who helped her team reach the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

Other schools, other verbals....

Virginia Tech
Breanna Brown, 6-3 C, Bishop O'Dowd (Calif.)

George Mason
Chardell Dunnigan, 6-2 C Twinsburg (Ohio)
Brittany Jackson, 5-8 G The Bullis School (Md.)
Denisha Petty-Evans, 5-9 G, Bridgewater Raritan (N.J.)

Bayley Coleman-Cox, 5-10 G, Jordan (N.C.) - The daughter of her high school coach, Coleman-Cox averaged 21 ppg last season and has scored more than 1,200 points in her career. She can really stroke it from 3-point range, draining 68 treys last season. As a junior, Coleman-Cox averaged 21 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.6 apt and 3.6 spg.
Malia Tate-DeFreitas, 5-8 G, Steelton-Highspire (Pa.) - Two-time Class A state player of the year. Averaged 32 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and and 3.2 steals to lead her Rollers to their second straight PIAA state title.

Da'Lishia Griffin, 6-2 C/F, Western Branch - Double-double machine was a first-team All-Eastern Region pick.
Amani Tatum, 5-6 G, Archbishop Molloy (N.Y.)
Chania Ray (2014), 5-8 G, Riverdale Baptist (Md.)
Carley Brew (2014), 5-11 F, Wilson (Pa.)

Old Dominion
Odegua Oigbokie, 6-1 F, Ridgeway (Tenn.) - Rebounding ace who averaged 18 points and 8 boards last season.
Destinee Young, 5-11 F, Hoffman Estates (Ill.)

DeAnneisha Jackson, 6-2 F, Harnett Central (N.C.) - Will hopefully address the Highlanders' seemingly perpetual search for quality size.

The Spiders don't typically get the players with all the hype, so we always marvel at how the players they do get wind up kicking so much tail. So far they have pledges from Olivia Healy, a 5-10 forward from Reading Memorial (Mass.), Janelle Hubbard, a 5-8 guard from Elizabeth Seton (Md.), and Dazia Hall, a 5-10 guard from The Bullis School. Healy led her team to a 25-0 record and a Massachusetts Division 2 state title. Earlier this week, the Spiders also received a 2014 verbal from Micaela Parson, a 5-7 point guard from Monocan.

Simone Brown, 6-0 G/F, Father Lopez (Fla.) - A rebounding machine commits to what is annually one of the nation's best rebounding programs. Talk about an ideal marriage of player and school.
Mikayla Sanders, 6-0 F, Cary Academy (N.C.)

Norfolk State
Logan Powell, 6-0 F, Marion County (Kent.)

Know of anyone we missed? Let us know at


  1. I think we need to remember that Radford's roster is going to be devastated after this season. I believe they lose 75-80% of their entire roster to graduation? So they will need to be able to rebuild fast.


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