Lady Vols recruiting update for 2013

Three weeks before the early signing period, Tennessee lost a verbal commitment from Jannah Tucker, a wing player from Maryland. Does that have any effect on top-ranked player Mercedes Russell? Go inside to hear from her coach.

The Lady Vols remain one of two schools vying for 2013's No. 1 player Mercedes Russell, a 6-5 center from Springfield, Oregon, who is expected to make her decision soon.

It was not believed that the de-commitment of Jannah Tucker would affect the decision-making process of Russell, as Tennessee remains in the hunt for several top perimeter and post players, and Russell has shown a willingness to finish the recruiting process and make up her own mind. Her two finalists are Tennessee and Louisville.

Bill Wagner, Russell's coach at Springfield High School, confirmed Tuesday evening to Inside Tennessee that the de-commitment will not have any effect on Russell's decision.

Wagner spoke to Russell on Tuesday and she told him she enjoyed her visit to Tennessee and looked forward to making her college decision soon.

"Nothing has changed for her," Wagner said.

The announcement Tuesday that Tucker had revoked her verbal commitment to the Lady Vols – she got emotional last June when she told the coaches of her decision – certainly reverberated throughout the basketball offices in Knoxville. It was released on Twitter via Kevin Lynch of Blue Star Basketball, a talent evaluation service and showcase provider for girls' basketball that began in 1981 and is directed by Mike Flynn.

Tucker played for Flynn's Philadelphia Belles Girls' Basketball Club. Among the schools thought to be under consideration now for Tucker, a 6-0 guard from Randallstown, Md., were Maryland, Virginia and Penn State. Tucker suffered a torn ACL last summer while playing for the USA in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. She had surgery last month and was expected to sign her LOI next month.

Now, Holly Warlick and staff must quickly turn their attention to the remaining players in Tennessee's recruiting pipeline, which includes Russell, post players Emmonie Henderson from Illinois and Kendall Cooper from California and guards/wings Jordan Reynolds from Oregon, Linnae Harper from Illinois, Kaela Davis from Georgia and Tyler Scaife from Arkansas.

Davis had previously committed to Tennessee but withdrew her verbal last winter. Tucker was the first recruit in the class of 2013 to commit to Warlick after she succeeded Pat Summitt on the sideline.

The early signing period begins Nov. 14. The Lady Vols have indicated they wanted to sign three to four players from the class of 2013. Two recruits from future classes, 2014's Jatarie White, a 6-4 center from North Carolina, and 2015's Kristian Hudson, a 5-5 guard from Alabama, took unofficial visits to Tennessee last weekend.

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