Howard tops weekend commitments
Four of the remaining uncommitted players are among the top 10
While there weren't as many ranked-player commitments as the visit-frenzied, Midnight Madness-fueled previous weekend, this past weekend more than held its own in recruiting developments.[+] EnlargeGlenn Nelson/ESPN.comNatasha Howard's pledge to Florida State was among the weekend's surprises.
Any weekend during which the No. 1 ranked player made a key visit and the No. 2 player made a verbal commitment has to be considered big.
Natasha Howard's commitment to Florida State, as well as that of No. 37 Keylantra Langley to St. John's, left just 11 uncommitted players ranked by ESPN HoopGurlz among the class of 2010's top 100. Four of the remaining uncommitted players are among the top 10, led by No. 1 Chiney Ogwumike of Cypress, Texas, who made her highly anticipated visit to Stanford. The Cardinal have been considered the leading contender for Ogwumike because of her family's emphasis on education and the fact that her sister, Nneka, is a sophomore on coach Tara VanDerveer's team.
However, Ogwumike just made an official visit last weekend to Connecticut, which will have a loaded class coming in with her. UConn's coach, Geno Auriemma, also is the Olympic coach. Ogwumike also will make a visit this week to Notre Dame, which has superstar-point-guard-in-the-making Skylar Diggins to throw her the ball.
The other ranked players remaining on the board include No. 5 Kaneisha Horn of Birmingham, Ala.; No. 6 Richa Jackson of Oklahoma City, Okla.; No. 8 Shoni Schimmel of Hermiston, Ore.; No. 16 Suriya McGuire of Minneapolis, Minn.; No. 50 Alexis Burke of Bainbridge, Ga.; No. 62 Chloe Wells, who has returned to Southern California; No. 64 Laquinta Jefferson of Levergne, Tenn.; No. 67 Kastine Evans of Salem, Conn.; No. 70 Mellisa Sweat of Bakersfield, Calif., and No. 83 Lynette Holmes of Chicago, Ill.
Among the uncommitteds, Horn long has been considered an Alabama lean but also has Rutgers under consideration, and Burke is said to be poised to trim her list of Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Rutgers to two this coming week, then commit soon thereafter. Jefferson, meanwhile, was just on the campus of Kentucky, which already has one of the country's top recruiting classes under construction.
ESPN HoopGurlz takes a closer look at the weekend's top commitments.
No. 2 Howard to Florida State
The Skinny: This is a "wow" development on two counts. First, it was widely thought that Howard probably would not make a decision in time for the early signing period, which starts Nov. 11. Secondly, coach Sue Semrau now may have a class that lands in the upper half of the country's top 10. There is a lot of sentiment for Howard being the most wildly talented player in the class, under-ranked only because of her limited exposure on the club circuit. Coming in with her is a group that includes No. 68 Olivia Breshnahan, No. 76 Tay'ler Mingo, and Lauren Coleman, a 6-foot forward from Lawrenceville, Ga.
The Whole Story: Mindi Rice
No. 37 Langley to St. John's
The Skinny: Last year, coach Kim Barnes Arico put together the second-best recruiting class in the Big East, trailing only Rutgers, and No. 11 in the country. That sterling class was led by No. 7 Shenneika Smith and No. 66 Amanda Burakoski, plus three more of the region's top players. Proving that 2009 class was no fluke, St. John's reeled in another top 40 player in Langley, who may have been overshadowed in her uber-talented region by players with more hype but not more game. UConn remains the clear collegiate power center of the Tri-State area, but St. John's, as well as Seton Hall and Syracuse, are on the rise, fueled by local talent more willing to stay closer to home.
The Whole Story: Mindi Rice
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Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girl's club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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