The second signing period has begun, and Syracuse Orange women's basketball has added to their 2016 class. After signing four prospects during the early signing period back in November, one more player has joined the class in Canadian point guard Chelayne Bailey. She signed her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.
Bailey is a 5-foot-7 guard from Pickering High School in Ontario (Can.). She verbally committed to Syracuse in early March before making things official by putting ink to paper.
Her head coach, Mike Gordensky, says she picked the Orange for a variety of reasons.
"Well obviously the Syracuse name is well respected in NCAA basketball," Gordensky said. "Especially being from the Toronto area, Syracuse is the closest high major school and very popular. Plus, when she went to a game, Coach Q's style of play fits her game perfectly. And having her former teammate and friend Julia (Chandler) on the team was important."
Chelayne Bailey with her parents at her signing ceremony.
That style of play includes a relentless, aggressive, full-court pressure defense and an up-tempo offensive system. All seem to be ideal for Bailey.
"(She's a) tenacious on the ball defender," Gordensky said. "Loves picking her check up all 90 feet. Excellent off ball defender. Tons of steals off the bal. Great positioning and anticipating. She's a leader on and off the court. Always team first.
"Adequate three-point shooter. Much improved but can get better. Great at pushing the ball. Never walks it up (unless I wanted). Can better with decision making in transition. Sometimes too unselfish, passing up shots. Best step back mid-range jumper I've seen in a high school girl in 25 years."
Gordensky says she will have to adjust to not starting and not playing as much as she has in high school, where she rarely came off the court. He calls her a hard worker who is an elite defender.
Bailey cutting her special Syracuse cake after signing her NLI.
After putting ink to paper on Wednesday, the focus was not entirely on the basketball fit, however. It was about more than that. An exciting moment for her family and the Pickering High community.
"Getting her education paid for and going to a top notch school is a blessing for the family," Gordensky said. "It's huge for our program. She is the fifth female player I've sent to NCAA D-1 in the past eight years, but she's gone to the best known school.
"She is without a doubt the best and most successful female to play at Pickering High School."
Gordensky said he is very happy for Bailey and her family, who he calls great down to earth people. She joins a talented class at Syracuse, one that hopes to continue the recent success and make that the norm for the Orange women's program.
You can view highlights of Chelayne Bailey in the video at the top of the page.