Arizona, Penn State surge in recruiting — Week In Review — Sept. 24, 2012

Week in Review

*Photo by Ty Freeman

By: Chris Hansen and Jonathan Hemingway

The recruiting news continues to roll in as in-home and official visits are leading to a surge in prospect commitments.  The University of Arizona landed its fourth piece this weekend when Dezja James of Elk Grove, Calif., gave Wildcats head coach Niya Butts her verbal pledge.  The 6-foot-1 forward committed Sunday night, according to her Cal Sparks NorCal Elite coach, Michelle Massari.

Dezja James

Dezja James (31) joins the Arizona 2013 recruiting class. *Photo courtesy of James family.

“She has worked hard to put herself in a position to play at the highest level,” Massari said.  “She is a terrific scorer and rebounder whose skill set is versatile.  She does all the little things needed to win games.”

James, who is rated a high three-star prospect, joins a class that is stockpiling inside depth.  She complements a class that already included LaBrittney Jones, a 6-0 forward from Cedar Hill, Texas, who is ranked in the top 100, as well as Breanna Workman, a 6-1 forward from Las Vegas, Nev., who also is a three-star prospect.  The fourth peace to the Arizona 2013 recruiting puzzle is Ashely Merrill, a 6-1 wing player from Corona, Calif.

With four players committed, Arizona has the biggest class assembled to date in the Pac-12, a great sign after coming off a tough 2011-12 campaign where the Wildcats were 3-15 in conference play.

Also from the BCS side of the fence, Penn State continued to stock pile talent in its 2013 class by adding a fourth top-100 caliber prospect this week in Alex Harris from Lorain, Ohio.  The 6-3 post player is a physical enforcer in the lane and should be a perfect complement in this class which already boasts of two offensive-minded forwards in Kaliyah Mitchell and Peyton Whitted.  Throw in two prior commitments of point guard Lindsay Spann and post Infiniti Alston and Penn State is poised to have a recruiting class that ranks near the top of the country.

Quick Hits

Starbresa McDaniel, a 5-10 guard from Dallas, gave Minnesota her verbal commitment while on an official visit.

Missouri State scored a pair of post players this week in 6-2 Onye Osemenam Brooklyn Park, Minn. and 6-3 Rachel Swartz of Stanwood, Wash.  In a game where size is hard to come by, having two talented post players in the same class is huge.

Talented point guard MC McGory of Bloomington, Minn. is headed to Creighton.  The heady playmaker should make waves in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Samford picked up a solid point guard commitment in Clara Young of Woodstock, Ga.  The Lady Bulldogs, who had already received a commitment from post player Ellen Riggins last week, now have a great one-two punch in the Southern Conference.

Pajie Hall, a 6-2 post from Lafayette, La. is committed to Tulane.  Hall has a great combination of size and skill which should allow her to contribute in Conference USA.

St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Ariz., has produced yet another D-1 commitment, this time Brandee Walton from Surprise, Ariz.  The 5-11 forward committed to New Mexico State.  That gives her high school coach Curtis Ekmark an entire starting five of D-1 prospects.  Last week it was Chloe Johnson from Laveen, Ariz. who committed to San Diego State.

Chattanooga scores a shooter from the Blue Grass State this weekend in Whitney Hartlage of Louisville, Ky.  The 5-7 guard should fit well into Wes Moore’s system.

Kiera Curry of Romeoville, Ill., have her commitment to Gardner-Webb this weekend.  The post player was awarded All-Area honors by the Herald News after her junior season.

George Washington scored another commitment out of the Sunshine State this week with Hannah Schiable from Orlando, Fla.  Coach Jonathan Tsipis had already secured a commitment from Shannon Cranshaw of Ormond Beach, Fla. last month.


Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the The service is used by more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. He also serves on the selection committee for the EBA All-American, Fab Five and Super 64 Camps. He has been involved in the community since 2002 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at [email protected] and follow him on twitter @JLHemingway

 Chris Hansen is the managing editor for Peach State Media. In addition to serving as a contributor to the National Scouting Report, Hansen also covered girls’ basketball and women’s college basketball prospects nationally for A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He is a member of the McDonald’s All-American team selection committee.