Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Updated: November 18, 12:06 PM ET
Some big names still undecided, but Baylor has best class so far
By Chris Hansen
The first day of the NCAA early signing period for the 2009 class feels more like men's college basketball than ever before, as several impact players are still undecided.
The ESPN HoopGurlz 100 had five of its top 10 still undecided on the first day of the early signing period, just as the ESPNU 100 rankings of the top boys players in the country had half of its top 10 still undecided. On the second to last day of the early sigining period, three of the top ten are still undecided and four of the top 15.
Where Kelsey Bone, the No. 2 player in the class, and Skylar Diggins, ranked third, decide to go could obviously affect the final recruiting class rankings. But looking at the commit lists right now, here are the top 10 classes.
Baylor commits: Brittney Griner (No.1), Mariah Chandler (17), Jordan Madden (58), Shanay Washington (64), Kimetria Hayden (NR)
The 2005 national champion takes top honors by adding the biggest impact player in the class (Griner) as well as elite-level depth with two players in the top 25 and four in the top 100. Topping that off, Baylor's fifth recruit (Hayden) was the Dallas Morning News state Player of the Year last season.
Illinois commits: Destiny Williams (No. 8), Karisma Penn (18), Adrienne GodBold (No. 36), Briana Jones (NR), Kersten Magrum (NR), Amber Moore (NR)
Second-year coach Jolette Law has a fantastic six-player class, including the two-headed monster of Williams and Penn. Add in GodBold, and the Illini have three players in the top 40 and impact players both inside and outside.
Cal commits: Tierra Rogers (No. 20), Eliza Pierre (22), DeNesha Stallworth (24), Gennifer Brandon (30), Talia Caldwell (43), Brenna Heater (49), Layshia Clarendon (67)
Cal landed a huge class both in size and talent, with all seven players in the top 100, including six in the top 50 and three in the top 25. The backcourt duo of Rogers and Pierre could be the best defensive backcourt in recent memory, and with the depth signed at the forward and post positions, the Bears should be able to match up with anyone.
North Carolina commits: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (No. 9), Krista Gross (23), Waltia Rolle (28), Cierra Warren (31), Nyree Williams (88)
The Tar Heels are adding fiveranked players: two athletic posts, two physical guards and a defensive stopper. Not bad for one class.
Virginia commits: China Crosby (No. 14), Erinn Thompson (21), Lexie Gerson (37), Simone Egwu (71)
The Cavs get four players ranked in the top 100, including the nation's No. 2 point guard in Crosby, versatility with forward Thompson and swing player Gerson, and an athletic post in Egwu.
USC commits: Monique Oliver (No. 6), Christina Marinacci (35), Kendall Hackney (55)
The Trojans' class claims one of the nation's elite posts in Oliver and two versatile forwards in Marinacci and Hackney, who give the team needed frontcourt depth.
Stanford commits: Joslyn Tinkle (No. 10), Mikaela Ruef (16)
With Stanford landing a top-10 prospect in Tinkle, the Cardinal class catapults into the top 10. Joined by another top-20 player, 6-foot-3 wing Ruef, the Cardinal have two of the nation's best players -- and true to Stanford form, both have plenty of size.
Georgia commits: Jasmine Hassell (No. 11), AnneMarie Armstrong (41), Jasmine James (51), Tamika Willis (80)
Andy Landers' class has a little bit of everything, with an elite post player, athleticism, scoring punch and plenty of upside. Hassell will be an immediate impact player for the Bulldogs, and all four could earn plenty of playing time as freshman.
Tennessee commits: Taber Spani (No. 13), Faith Dupree (69), Kamiko Williams (75)
Some have said this is a down recruiting year for the Lady Vols, but don't be fooled because Spani is a gamer and one of the nation's best shooters. Dupree and Williams both bring versatility and scoring punch.
Texas A&M commits: Kristi Bellock (No. 29), Diamond Ashmore (48), Adrienne Pratcher (60), Cierra Windham (98)
While the Aggies wait on Bone's decision, they should celebrate the four players who have committed, including the athletic and versatile Bellock, who gives coach Gary Blair a top-30 prospect.
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Chris Hansen covers girls' high school basketball nationally for ESPN.com and leads the panel that ranks and evaluates players for the network. He is a graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.