Don't be surprised if Stanford eventually hauls in top class
Yes, it's way to early to say who will have the top recruiting class of the year, but it sure if fun to try to figure it out. Glenn Nelson offers his take on how it will all shake out.
With half of the ESPN HoopGurlz top 12 prospects still uncommitted, calling the mythical national recruiting championship today would be like declaring a winner after only three quarters in a WNBA game. But to offer an idea of what the final recruiting class rankings might look like, we made some projected commitments and offered what could be a resulting preview.
Big caveat: These are just gut calls. None are based on any inside information from recruits or anyone else. And, most important, these in no way should be construed as our advising what the prospects should do. Plus, two of the uncommitted prospects -- No. 2 Kelsey Bone and No. 12 Tayler Hill -- say they are likely to sign in the spring.
The gut call starts at the top, with Stanford. Our theory, based on recent history, is that nearly every recruit who is admitted to the school usually commits to the Cardinal. Since Stanford lost one such athlete this year in Krista Gross (who decided to stay home and attend North Carolina), we're guessing its not going to lose two others.
One other thing: These are more than adding up rankings or ratings; they take into account how the pieces fit, as well.
Skylar Diggins (No. 3) and Joslyn Tinkle (10), plus previously committed Mikaela Ruef (16), Kayla Pedersen, both Ogwumike sisters (penciling in Chiney to join Nneka in 2010) and Sarah Boothe would give coach Tara VanDerveer has as much overall size and athleticism as she's ever had.
Destiny Williams (No. 8) and Karisma Penn (18) could become as big, athletic and versatile a forward tandem as there is in women's college basketball. Adrienne GodBold (36) adds inside-outside punch from the backcourt, with banger Briana Jones, guard Amber Moore and forward Kersten Magrum filling out coach Jolette Law's mobile lineup.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt to be bowled over by coach Debbie Ryan's tremendous recruiting momentum in 2009, joining ESPN 100 prospects China Crosby (14), Erinn Thompson (21), Lexie Gerson (37) and Simone Egwu (71) in the most well-rounded class in the country.
Brittney Griner (No. 1). She is joined by athletic thumpers Mariah Chandler (17) and Shanay Washington (64), and afterburners Jordan Madden (58) and Kimetria Hayden.
Kristi Bellock (29) as a versatile wing-forward, Diamond Ashmore (48) providing more inside umph, Adrienne Pratcher (60) at the point and Cierra Windham (98) slinging in jumpers from the wings.
Tierra Rogers (No. 20), Eliza Pierre (22), DeNesha Stallworth (24), Gennifer Brandon (30), Talia Caldwell (43), Brenna Heater (49) and Layshia Clarendon (67) -- who can really move and D it up.
Jasmine Hassell (No. 11) and Tamika Willis (80), a sharpshooter with size in Anne Marie Armstrong (41) and a combo guard who can make it go in Jasmine James (51).
Waltia Rolle (No. 28), Cierra Warren (31) and Nyree Williams (88). She also adds another polished scorer in Gross (23), who plays like her batteries never need recharging.
Monique Oliver (No. 6) bringing much-needed size, and Christina Marinacci (35) and Kendall Hackney (55) adding to the team's shooting riches while adding length.
Taber Spani (13), versatile post Faith Dupree (69) and highly-athletic guard Kamiko Williams (75).
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Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the McDonald's All-American and Parade All-American Selection Committees, he formerly coached girls club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.