By: Keil Moore and Brandon Clay
When you look at what Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell and his staff have been able to do over the past five years, you have to give them a ton of credit. For the past three seasons Kentucky has battled it out at the top of the standings in the SEC. As we sit a few weeks away from the start of a new season of hoops, Kentucky, which was picked No. 6 in the pre-season Associated Press poll, stands as the highest ranked SEC team.
Last season Kentucky was a game away from the Final Four with just one top 10 high school rated recruit, Samarie Walker (No. 10), on the roster. All of the teams making the Final Four — Baylor, Connecticut, Notre Dame, and Stanford — had multiple top 10 caliber players on the roster and all had at least one top five high school recruit on the team as well.
With the addition of the No. 5 player in the country, Linnae Harper of Chicago, Ill., Kentucky has just added its second top 10 prospect to the roster. Harper gives them a player with true star power. Throughout her prep career she has shown the ability to rise to the occasion on the biggest of stages. Whether it’s playing point guard for the USA U16 team or grabbing 20-plus rebounds in a national showcase game for her high school team, Harper has proven she is up to the task.
As Kentucky looks to continue their climb up the ranks of the top programs in the country adding a top 10 player of Harper’s ability gives them the gun they needed for the inevitable shootout in March’s to come.
No. 28 Alaina Coates to South Carolina: This summer, 6-foot-4 post Alaina Coates of Irmo, S.C., was on a mission to prove that she was one of the most talented bigs in the country. From start to finish Coates’ activity level and energy was impossible not to notice. Her commitment to South Carolina gives coach Dawn Staley and her staff a key puzzle piece for the future. In the class of 2012 Staley was able to haul a collection of top guards including, Khadijah Sessions, Tiffany Mitchell, and Tiffany Davis. Now Staley has her post of the future in Coates.
No. 36 Antania Hayes to Depaul: With the Blue Demons’ 2013 recruiting class, Depaul has added a great combination of athletes and talent to their roster. Earlier in the fall they picked up a verbal commitment from No. 74 Jessica January of Richfield, Minn., and Shakeya Graves of Inkster, Mich. This week, with the addition of 6-foot-1 forward Antania Hayes of Detroit, Mich., the Big East school has solidified an elite recruiting class with three top 100 caliber prospects. Hayes will give Depaul and elite level athlete with tremendous upside for coach Doug Bruno and his staff to work with for the next four years.
No. 45 Andrijana Cvitkovic to Dayton: Cvitkovic of Culver, Ind., gives Dayton its second Super 60 prospect in the 2013 class, teaming up with former club teammate, Celeste Edwards of Indianapolis Ind. Originally from Croatia, Cvitkovic will give Dayton another scoring threat in their arsenal as coach Jim Jabir and his staff look to win the Atlantic 10. The 6-3 post player can face up to the basket or give the Flyers a presence around the rim.
JumpOffPlus.com Publisher Brandon Clay talks about the happenings from the previous week:
AROUND THE RIM
3-star Katie Frerking to Auburn: Frerking of Norcross, Ga., waited just over two weeks after her official visit to Auburn to make the call to coach Terri Williams-Flourney and pledge to become a Tiger. In the 6-1 wing, the program gets a legitimate perimeter option who can guard three positions in addition to knocking down the open shot on the other end. She chose Auburn over James Madison, Pittsburgh, Richmond and SMU, and in doing so became the final piece to a five-player class.
3-star G Malia Tate-Defreitas to Hampton: Speed in the backcourt is a necessity in the MEAC. This week, Hampton added just that in Tate-Defreitas of Steelton, Pa., a 5-8 guard. She will couple her speed with Bayley Coleman-Cox of Durham, N.C., shooting ability to give Hampton a backcourt that should keep them in the mix for league titles and automatic NCAA Tournament berths for years to come. Tate-Defreitas has the abilty to be an impact scorer during her time at Hampton. She is coming off a very good summer where she showed she could be effective with or without the basketball.
3-star P Klara Bradshaw to TCU: We watched Bradshaw, who stands 6-6, play this summer in Tennessee. She has tools that are near impossible to find in a prospect and, if she is able to develop into her frame during her time at the Big-12 school, she should figure to be a quality post pick up down the line.
3-star F Devon Roeper to Columbia: At 6-3, Roeper of San Diego, Calif., will give the Ivy League school depth in the post. Roeper has a developing skill set and should fair well as an impact type recruit for the Ivy League school.
Keil Moore is the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report – a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. He also is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandon Clay is the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. The service is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He serves as the Executive Camp Director for the EBA All-American, Fab Five and Super 64 Camps. In addition, he serves as a national recruiting analyst for ESPNHoopgurlz and a contributor to SLAM Magazine. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as an evaluator, event operator and trainer. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com