Devils Have Inside Track For Top Class

Coach Gail Goestenkors' recruiting efforts have earned Duke early honors in the class of 2007

SEATTLE, Wash., Nov. 6, 2006 - With the fall signing period starting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 91 of the HoopGurlz.com National Hot 100 for 2007 women's college-basketball prospects have committed to Division I schools.

Media members and athletic departments are receiving a summary from HoopGurlz and Scout.com today and an update on Wednesday. Up-to-the-minute coverage can be viewed at www.HoopGurlz.com. The website on Monday began its signing period coverage with a feature on Jenny Vining of Marshall, Ark., a small-town girl with a big-time stroke who has committed to the University of Oklahoma.

HoopGurlz.com is the only independent news organization that covers high-school girl's basketball on a national basis. The website compiles rankings and evaluations for Scout.com. It also is the official content and selection partner for the national and state Gatordade Player of the Year program for girl's basketball and provides content and rankings to FOXSports.com, RISE Magazine, The Seattle Times and KING-TV.

Only five of the nine uncommitted top prospects are expected to decide on a school before the fall signing period. Those include Vicki Baugh of Sacramento, Calif., the No. 5 overall prospect according to HoopGurlz; Melissa Jones of Thornton, Colo., No. 13; Tyra White of Kansas City, Mo., No. 17; Paris Johnson of San Diego, Calif., No. 42, and Johna Ward of Elko, Nev., No. 79. Amy Jaeschke of Wilmette, Ill., who is ranked 29th, was the latest Hot 100 prospect to commit, pledging to Northwestern on Saturday.

"The commitment particularly of Vicki Baugh will have a huge impact on the mythical national recruiting championship," said Glenn Nelson, publisher of HoopGurlz.com and editor-in-chief of Scout.com.

"She is down to a very stellar final five of Cal, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee and UCLA. She can swing the recruiting title to Tennessee, if she goes there, and will land any of the other four very high in the rankings."

The early leader for the team recruiting championship is Duke, which has commitments from the No. 6 prospect, Krystal Thomas of Orlando, Fla.; No. 7 Jasmine Thomas of Vienna, Va., and No. 31 Karima Christmas of Houston, Texas.

The biggest surprise nationally is UCLA, Nelson said. Bruin coach Kathy Olivier has commitments from five four-star prospects, all of whom are ranked in the Hot 100. Those include Christina Nzekwe of Seattle Wash., the No. 32 overall prospect; Regina Rogers of Seattle, Wash., No. 43; Candice Brown of La Puente, Calif., No. 63; Nina Earl of Sonoma, Calif., No. 75, and Doreena Campbell of Alexandria, Va., No. 86.

"Only the defending champs, Maryland, have as many commitments among the top 100," Nelson said. "Landing Baugh would give the UCLA class a measure of star power. The Bruins' is a very strong response to USC, which produced our national No. 1 class in 2006."

HoopGurlz will release an official version of its team rankings after the fall signing period, which concludes Nov. 15. Nelson said the site first wants to verify that the prospects signed with the schools to whom they committed. The site will post analysis of the signing class during the signing period, however.

Maya Moore of Suwanee, Ga., the No. 1 player in 2007, according to HoopGurlz, has committed to Connecticut, which signed the No. 1 player in the site's 2006 class, Tina Charles of Queens, N.Y. The nine prospects out of HoopGurlz's top 10 who have committed have pledged to perennial national powers.

"The 2007 class is loaded at the top," said Chris Hansen, the National Director of Scouting for women's basketball at HoopGurlz and Scout.com. "You have potential superstars from all over the country and at every position. You have Maya Moore from Georgia, Angie Bjorklund from Washington, Jantel Lavender from Ohio, Jasmine Thomas from Virginia, Vicki Baugh from California, Krystal Thomas from Florida, Kayla Pedersen from Arizona, Khadijah Rushdan from Delaware and Briana Gilbreath from Texas. The class is simply superb and while the ACC dominates in the total number of commitments these stars will litter several conferences throughout the country."


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories