Week In Review: Teams on the Rise
Illinois, Oregon State among programs making their mark on the recruiting trail
Matt Bollant, who is the new head coach at Illinois, has hit the recruiting trail in full stride, landing three verbal commitments and one transfer during his first few months in Champaign, Ill. The run of recruiting success was triggered when junior Mikaala Shackelford of Plymouth, Minn. -- a 5-foot-11 forward who was a verbal pledge to Bollant while he was at Wisconsin-Green Bay -- decided to follow Bollant to Illinois.
Shortly after the verbal pledge from Shackelford, the Illini secured two additional verbal commitments from 5-10 wing Kennedy Cattenhead of Bolingbrook, Ill., and 6-3 post Jacqueline Grant of Park Ridge, Ill. They play summer basketball together for Midwest Elite. Adding players of this caliber is important for the Illini as they start to rebuild their roster and build ties locally throughout their home state for recruiting purposes.
Illinois also added a transfer from Georgia Tech in freshman guard Sarah Hartwell of Tacoma, Wash. Hartwell will have three years of eligibility remaining after she sits out next year per NCAA transfer rules.
-- Keil Moore
Maine signs nine
This week the Maine women's basketball program put the final touches on its nine-player recruiting class, six of which are from overseas. At the end of this past season, coach Richard Barron decided to point his attention toward European recruiting and made a trip to visit 10 different countries in an effort to add talent to his roster. The trip paid off, as he was able to land six players from six different countries, including England, Finland, Germany, Israel, Serbia and Sweden. The three stateside players from Maine's 2012 class are Brittney Wells of Fishers, Ind.; Lauren Bodine of Louisville, Ky.; and Liz Wood of Bealeton, Va.
-- Keil Moore
Hedstrom chooses Minnesota
The Minnesota-based North Tartan club program is quickly becoming the go-to pipeline for University of Minnesota coach Pam Borton. She has multiple players on her current roster who suited up for North Tartan during high school, including heralded point guard Rachel Banham -- as well as three players who have signed or committed to stay in-state when they finish high school. This week, the Gophers snatched another prospect from the North Tartan pipeline in Class of 2013 point guard Joanna Hedstrom of Shorewood, Minn. Given her academic standing, Hedstrom had multiple options, including several Ivy League schools. In the end, the 6-1 combo guard choose to stay home and try to help the Golden Gophers make it back to the top of the Big Ten conference.
-- Brandon Clay
Agler to Indiana: Taylor Agler of Westerville, Ohio has been a fixture on the national recruiting scene for the past two years. Our staff saw her as a rising sophomore at the Midwest Showdown in May of 2010. The three-star prospect is the first Class of 2013 prospect to pledge to play for new coach Curt Miller and his staff. A 5-8 combo guard, Agler will bring versatility to Bloomington as she can play on the ball or off of it and can stretch defenses with her shooting range.
Farmer to Auburn: A lot has changed in the recruiting process for Keonna Farmer of Birmingham, Ala., over the past six months. Farmer originally pledged to attend Alabama before re-opening her recruitment during the high school season. The four-star forward visited multiple campuses before deciding to stay in-state and attend Bama's SEC West rival, Auburn. At 6-1, Farmer will bring the Tigers length and activity at the forward position. Those skills appear to fall in line with new coach Terri-Williams Flourney's previous style of play as the coach at Georgetown.
Hanson to Oregon State: Gabriella Hanson of Fullerton, Calif., gives an Oregon State program on the rise another weapon to score. The 5-11 junior guard, might not have a specialty on the offensive end but does a little of everything and has a real knack for putting the basketball in the hole. A three-star prospect, Hanson should be productive in the Pac-12 as she possesses a good build with a motor that runs consistently on both ends of the floor.
Pongonis to Saint Joseph's: Our staff saw Jessica Pongonis of Fishers, Ind., in January and came away impressed with the 6-2 post's ability to score all the way out to 15 feet. A three-star prospect, Pongonis is taking that skill set -- along with a willingness to rebound in her area and defend -- to Philadelphia for the Atlantic 10 program.
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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. The service is used by more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com or you can follow him on Twitter @BrandonClayPSB.
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. The service is used by more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.