When Malina Howard, the No. 7-ranked player in the class of 2012 by ESPN HoopGurlz, chose Maryland over Notre Dame, the impact was substantial. The ACC school moved from No. 18 in the ESPN HoopGurlz recruiting class rankings up to No. 6. Howard, a 6-foot-3 post from Twinsburg, Ohio, gives Maryland a replacement for Lynetta Kizer to anchor the middle for the next four years. Howard, rated the No. 1 post in the class, is an accomplished high school player. She won a state championship as a junior at Twinsburg, in addition to earning gold medals with the USA Basketball under-18 and under-19 teams. Howard will take her experience competing against elite competition, from both stateside and international stages, to College Park, Md., next year, and that should make every Terp fan very happy.
-- Keil Moore
Another Top 40 recruit chooses Penn State
Keeping with the trend of players making college decisions that drastically change the landscape of the class rankings, No. 30 Brittney Sykes of Newark, N.J., chose Penn State this week. Her pledge gives the Big Ten school a boost into the top tier of the class of 2012, jumping from unranked all the way up to No. 7. Sykes joins a recruiting class that is shaping up to be one of the elite freshman groups in the country. With a true post player in No. 34 Candice Agee of Victorville, Calif., an elite wing in No. 27 Branndais Agee of Detroit, and now a highly regarded guard in Sykes, Penn State has both a talented and well-rounded 2012 recruiting class. Penn State also is still in the running for other top prospects, including No. 13 Brianna Butler of Brooklyn, N.Y., No. 93 Dominique Brooks of Lansing, Ill., and Taylor Ford, a four-star forward from New York, N.Y. It's scary for league opponents to think that their 2012 group could get even better.
-- Keil Moore
Harvard goes out west
In the past, elite players rarely opted to forgo the lure of BCS conference basketball to play at high academic institutions such as Harvard, Princeton or other Ivy League schools. But for the second straight season, Harvard has managed to garner a commitment from a player ranked in the top 100. This time, it's No. 68 Shilpa Tummala from Phoenix, Ariz., who will suit up for the Harvard Crimson. She'll join current Harvard freshman and class of 2011 No. 13 Temi Fagbenle. Tummala's decision to pick the Ivy League highlights what seems to be a growing trend in women's basketball recruiting. Other top players who have recently chosen Ivy League schools include Princeton's Mariah Smith, No. 57 in the class of 2011, and Dartmouth's Milica Toskovic, who was one of the highest rated players in the class of 2011 to sign in the spring last year. Ultimately, Tummala picked Harvard over Georgetown, USC and California. As this trend continues, it will do nothing but elevate the basketball profile of the Ivy League conference as a whole.
-- Keil Moore
Asianna Bey to Memphis: Bey, a long, lean 6-2 post prospect from Chicago, appears to have her best days of basketball ahead of her. Her willingness to mix it up in the lane and rebound the basketball makes her a player who could see some minutes sooner than later. She gets out to run in the open floor, and her size gives Melissa McFerrin's staff plenty to work with at the emerging Conference-USA power.
Providence scores a pair: Jephany Brown and Chanel Green are high school teammates at H.D. Woodson. They also were summer teammates for the D.C. Cobras. So it only seems right that the two continue their playing careers together. They will do just that for Phil Seymour at Providence next fall. At 6-1, Brown is a power forward with a nice touch around the basket and a relentless motor around the rim. Green is 5-7 and prefers to do most of her damage with the ball in her hands at the point guard spot. Their different styles of play should combine to help impact the Big East program early in their careers.
Kylla Champagne to Manhattan: Champagne made her presence felt at Real Deal in the 'Ville, making plays on both ends of the floor. A two-star prospect from Paterson, N.J., her contributions often can be found with a fast-break layup on one end and then grabbing a key rebound on the other. The 5-11 forward was a valuable option all summer long on a New Jersey Sparks team featuring two BCS-level wings.
Destinie Gibbs to Ole Miss: Gibbs, a 5-10 scoring guard out of Decatur, Ga., picked Mississippi over Memphis and Virginia Tech. The power wing is the kind of player who can help a team on both sides of the ball. Throughout her prep career she has shown the ability to act as both a defensive stopper and a key offensive piece when needed. This summer Gibbs transferred from Southwest Dekalb to McEachern, where she will join one of the most talented high school teams in the country in an effort to win a Georgia class AAAAA state championship and compete for a high ranking nationally.
Dominique Wilson to Arkansas: Dominique Wilson of Powder Springs, Ga., joined school teammate Destinie Gibbs in choosing an SEC school. The combo guard picked Arkansas over James Madison, Richmond, Syracuse and Texas Christian. Wilson is known for her ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. She can offer Arkansas a good deal of versatility from the backcourt positions as she has played both on and off the ball throughout her prep career. She is the kind of player who can both make a play for a teammate or finish a play a teammate makes for her and, at 5-8, she is not afraid to take the ball to the basket and get some contact.
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Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.