West outlook: Pac-12 push
There are a trio of teams out West with the potential to have their 2012 recruiting classes elevated to among the nation's elite. Three Pac-12 teams, UCLA, USC and Washington, have one recruit in common that could trigger a drive in the express lane to national prominence -- five-star guard Jordan Adams, the No. 6 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100.
Adams, from Irvine, Calif., has two Eastern schools -- Maryland and Tennessee -- on her list as well, but the feeling is that she will stay on the West Coast.
Considering: G Jordan Adams (No. 6), G Nirra Fields (No. 11)
Outlook: With Cori Close returning to the West Coast and taking over the UCLA program, the Bruins are on the board with two guards ranked in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100. The sharp-shooting Korver, a 5-foot-9 guard from Paramount, Calif., and Holiday, a 5-8 lock-down defender from Chatsworth, Calif., bring different perimeter strengths for Close to deploy.
But there are two more perimeter pieces remaining in play, and if both say yes, UCLA can elevate its class into top-five realm. Adams and Fields are both five-star guards with international playing experience. Adding those two pieces would give UCLA one of the deepest, most versatile and most talented backcourts in the country. And with 11 of the 12 players on the 2011-12 roster returning next season, including star forward Jasmine Dixon who is redshirting this season due to an Achilles injury, the Bruins can look ahead to 2013 to recover the size in the paint that it lost when 2011 interior recruits Justine Hartman and Sheila Boykin left following the coaching change.
Considering: G Jordan Adams (No. 6), P Imani Stafford (No. 10), G Nirra Fields (No. 11)
Outlook:With key pieces of USC's backcourt -- Ashley Corral, Jacki Gemelos, Briana Gilbreath and Stefanie Gilbreath -- playing their final season, the 2012 class is coach Michael Cooper's chance to bring in the backcourt of the future. The Trojans picked up an early commitment from Barrett, a 5-7 point guard from Winnetka, Calif., in February, and this past weekend added the verbal commitment of Peacon, who will have two years to play.
If Cooper and his staff can find a way to land both of the Mater Dei guards -- Adams and Fields -- perimeter play will continue to be a strength for the women of Troy. Just as with UCLA's class, adding two five-star guards will put USC's class up with the best in the country. But the kicker here is Stafford. The 6-5 post would give the team a potential star at the pivot, which has long been missing. Adding all three could potentially elevate the class up to No. 2 in the country.
Adding all three may not be probable, but either Adams or Fields with Stafford, who is also considering Texas, gives the Trojans a huge boost with such a key group finishing their time at USC this season.
Committed: F Katie Collier (No. 21), PG Airashay Rogers (four-star), G Heather Corral (three-star)
Considering: G Jordan Adams (No. 6), Je Zhe Newton (No. 66), F Shae Kelly (Northwest Florida JC)
Outlook: New coach Kevin McGuff had a great start to November with the commitment of Collier from Covington, Wash. The 6-3 forward-post not only adds more talent to the roster, but it also fills a major need with most of the Huskies' size in the frontcourt graduating this year.
With the two prior commitments of Rogers, a four-star 5-7 point guard from Renton, Wash., and Corral, a three-star 6-1 combo-guard whose rating could be higher were it not for two ACL tears her sophomore and junior seasons, Washington has some key pieces coming together to show what the McGuff era will look like.
With Adams, a five-star combo-guard, who, like Corral, is 6-1, the Huskies would have a statement recruiting class going from rebuilding to competing in a hurry. And if the Dawgs can add another frontcourt player in the class, like Newton or Kelly, the team will have depth and talent to compete like the program did a decade ago.
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. 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. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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