Heiman, Johnson Sign with Huskers Lincoln – University of Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Tim Miles announced that high school seniors Brady Heiman (Springfield, Neb.) and Xavier Johnson (Arlington, Va.) have signed National Letters-of-Intent to play for the Huskers beginning with the 2018-19 season.
“I’m really excited about both of these young guys,” Miles said. “In their own way, they will add a great deal of value to Husker basketball.”
Heiman is a 6-foot-11 center from nearby Platteview High School, where he is a four-year starter for Coach Tim Brotzki. A three-star recruit by Rivals, he becomes the first high school senior to sign a Letter-of-Intent with the Husker basketball program since the fall of 2001. As a junior, he was an honorable-mention all-state Class B pick by both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star, averaging 15.7 points on 55 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game, as Platteview went 21-5 and reached the state tournament for the second straight year. He had seven double-doubles as a junior, including a 17-point, 11-block performance. Heiman burst on the scene as a sophomore, averaging 13.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.7 blocks per game in helping Platteview post a 17-9 record and the school’s first state tournament appearance since 2000. In the regional final, he had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 13 blocked shots and had seven games with at least 10 blocked shots, including a school-record 15 in one contests. He played his AAU basketball with the Omaha Sports Academy and Bob Franzese and chose Nebraska after receiving more than a dozen scholarship offers. He is also an excellent student, carrying nearly a 3.5 GPA. He is the son of Tracy and Erica Heiman.
“It has been great to watch Brady grow and develop his game over the last year and a half,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “We’ve had a chance to know him well and see him play in AAU and in high school basketball and seen him experience a great deal of success in both areas. Brady is a well-coached young man who really knows the game. I look forward to him putting his excellent mind for the game and skillset to use for us over the coming years. People are going to love watching him grow and develop.”
Xavier Johnson is a 6-foot-2 guard who attends Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va. A four-star recruit by ESPN, Johnson was one of the top-10 players in Virginia by ESPN, while Rivals and 247Sports both rated Johnson as a three-star prospect. 247Sports listed him as the No. 10 combo guard nationally in the class of 2018. As a junior, Johnson averaged 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for Coach Joe Wootten, as Bishop O’Connell finished with a 20-10 mark. Johnson’s best performance as a junior was a 32-point, eight-rebound, four-assist outburst against Gonzaga Prep. Bishop O’Connell, which has produced recent point guard standouts Melo Trimble and Kendall Marshall, plays in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, considered to be one of the toughest high school basketball conferences in the country. Current Huskers James Palmer Jr. and Evan Taylor are products of the WCAC. Johnson is the fifth player NU has signed from the Mid-Atlantic region in the last three years. Johnson plays AAU ball for Team Takeover and Coach Keith Stevens, helping Team Takeover win The 8 Tournament in Las Vegas last July with a 16-point effort in the title game. He also helped his team earn a runner-up finish at the Peach Jam this past summer. He is the son of Michael and Lakesha Johnson, and Xavier selected Nebraska over Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Creighton, Washington and South Florida.
“I believe Xavier Johnson is one of the fastest players in high school basketball today, and he will make an immediate impact in our program,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “I love his pace, speed and quickness and his excellent decision-making ability. He makes everybody better. The other thing that stands out most about Xavier is his competitiveness. He may be one of the most competitive people I have recruited in a long time. He’s played at a high level in high school and with his AAU program, and he’s been successful. Previous performance always bodes well for the future, and Xavier has always performed well against the best, whether in the Nike EYBL, Peach Jam or in Las Vegas when his team won The 8 this summer. I’m excited to get Xavier here and on the floor. He will bring an excellent dimension to the Huskers.”
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (Previous School)
Brady Heiman F/C 6-11 200 Springfield, Neb. (Platteview)
Xavier Johnson G 6-2 180 Arlington, Va. (Bishop O’Connell)
Montez Mathis Signs with Rutgers Basketball
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 10, 2017) â€“ Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Pikiell announced today that Montez Mathis has signed to compete at Rutgers University. A senior at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md., he is a consensus Top 100 recruit and four star player that will hit the hardwood for the Scarlet Knights as a true freshman in 2018-19.
Montez Mathis is a very exciting addition to Rutgers Basketball,â€ said head coach Steve Pikiell identified him very early in the process and he really embodies what were trying to do here. Hes relentless on the court. Hes unselfish and hard working. Hes a great young man from great family, coming to us from a terrific program. Were very excited about his toughness, his rebounding and his ability to produce buckets. Hes a scorer that is going to do many tremendous things for us.
Montez is a super tough kid said The John Carroll School Head Coach John Zito. He can really score the ball from all over the floor, from all three levels. He’s gotten much better over the last two years. He can really get to the basket, he can finish through contact, and hes really good in the open floor. Hes a really good defender. His size and athleticism, along with his skill set allow him to do some things that a lot of guys cant.
Guard / 6-4, 190
Joppa, Md. / The John Carroll School
Scholastic: A consensus four star recruit and top 100 player who averaged 26.7 points and 8.9 rebounds-per-game under head coach John Zito as a junior in 2016-17 at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md.rated as the 72nd overall player nationally by Scout, 78th by 247Sports, 91st by Rivals and 93rd by ESPN recognized as the 13th shooting guard overall by Scout and 16th by both 247Sports and ESPN ranked as the top overall 2018 recruit in the State of Maryland by Scout.
by USA Today for his play at The Gauntlet in May 2017 participated in the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team training camp and the 2015 USA U16 National Team training camp â€¦ named to the 2015-16 USA Basketball Mens Junior National Team … was enrolled at Oak Hill Academy (Va.) in 2015-16 and helped the team to a 45-1 record and the 2016 DICKS Sporting Goods Nationals title … was selected as the DM Velite Maryland Freshman of the Year and All-Baltimore Catholic League third team in 2014-15
Northwestern Inks Highly Touted Recruiting Class
EVANSTON, Ill. — Four individuals have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Northwestern men’s basketball program for the 2017-18 season Sullivan-Ubben head men’s basketball coach Chris Collins announced Wednesday.
Jordan Lathon (Grandview, Mo./Grandview), Miller Kopp (Houston, Texas/Houston Christian), Pete Nance (Akron, Ohio/Revere) and Ryan Young (Stewartsville, N.J./Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic) comprise the highly regard quartet that will matriculate to Evanston next year.
The group currently is rated as the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation by 247Sports and No. 17 by Rivals.com.
“We’re really excited about this class of four young men who are joining the Northwestern family,” Collins said. “We knew this would be a vital class for the future of our program, as we have a veteran team this year. We’re adding four tremendous players, but also individuals who are going to add to the work ethic and the character that we’ve been able to build over the last few years.”
Complete bios on each of the signees follow.
Northwestern is ranked No. 19 by the Associated Press and No. 20 in the USA TODAY Coaches poll in the preseason. The Wildcats open their 2017-18 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Loyola (Md.) at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Tickets are available at NUsports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.
G • 6-4 • 195
High School: Rated as the No. 119 recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com … Suburban Blue Conference Player of the Year as a junior, averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game … Two-time first-team all-conference … Jackson County Advocate Player of the Year and first-team pick … Kansas City All-Metro first-team selection … Named to MSHSAA District 12 and Class 4 first team … All-tournament team selection at William Jewel Classic and Blue Valley Invitational … Shawnee Mission Classic Most Outstanding Player … Named team Best Offensive Player and Franklin Foreman Leadership Award recipient … Posted 34 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists vs. Ruskin … Led team Grandview to a 24-5 record and conference, district and sectional titles … Only player in school history to record 400 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in a season … Competed on AAU circuit for Team Rush … Honor roll student.
Personal: Born Jordan Ryan Lathon on 2/25/00 … Son of Torran Sayles and Derrick Lathon … Father played professionally in Mexico … Chose Northwestern over Illinois, Iowa State, Wake Forest, Butler and Colorado … Attends same high school as current Utah Jazz player Alec Burks.
Collins on Lathon: “Jordan is a big, athletic point guard. He has great leadership skills. He is someone who has continued to get better year in and year out which is something that we really value here. He’s got tremendous upside. His speed and quickness, his ability to run a team were things that were very attractive to us in our program.”
F • 6-7 • 210
Houston, Texas/Houston Christian
High School: No. 98 recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com and No. 100 according to both 247Sports and ESPN.com … Four-star recruit … Averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game junior year … All-Southwest Preparatory Conference selection … Two-time team MVP and team captain … Holds school records for points (44) and rebounds (19) in a game … Competed on AAU circuit for Houston Defenders … Under Armour first-team All-American … Led UAA in scoring with an average of 20.2 points per game … Previously played on Adidas circuit with Basketball University for three years … Honor roll student … Academic all-state.
Personal: Born Miller Dudley Kopp on 11/24/98 … Son of Will and Deborah Kopp … Father played tennis collegiately at Chattanooga … Brother, Braden, plays football at Vanderbilt … Grandfather played college football … Chose Northwestern over Michigan, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Texas A&M and Butler.
Collins on Kopp: “Miller is a dynamic wing scorer. He’s a tough competitor. He has continued to improve as his high school career has gone on. We always have valued guys here who continue to get better. He is a tremendous worker. He has great size and will fall into the same mold of big wings that we have had here over the last few years like Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law.”
F • 6-9 • 205
High School: Rated No. 61 recruit in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 75 by 247Sports and No. 76 by ESPN.com … Four-star recruit … First team all-district … First-team All-Suburban League … Special mention all-state … Varsity letter winner three years at Revere … Team captain … Averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks per game as a junior … Multi-tournament winner with AAU team Akron Bobcats.
Personal: Born Pete Lucas Nance on 2/19/00 … Son of Larry and Jaynee Nance … Father played 13 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers … Brother, Larry Jr., drafted 27th overall to the Los Angeles Lakers and is playing in the NBA for his third season … Competed against Northwestern recruit Miller Kopp … Chose Northwestern over Ohio State and Michigan.
Collins on Nance: “Pete is a very dynamic player. He’s 6-foot-9 and is long and athletic. He has been around the game of basketball his entire life. Pete brings a complete skill set. He can play inside and out, he has tremendous ball skills and can shoot, pass and handle the ball with speed and athleticism. I really believe that he has a terrific upside in our program.”
C • 6-10 • 235
Stewartsville, N.J./Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic
High School: First-team all-conference and second-team all-state junior year … Averaged 14 points, 14 rebounds per game as a junior. … Team captain … 2017 District Champions with Bethlehem Catholic … Captured six tournament championships with Jersey Shore Warriors … Voted 2017 Hoop Group Spring Jam Fest MVP (17U) … Earned high academic honors and was president of Business Club … Also competed in golf, volleyball, football and lacrosse.
Personal: Born Ryan Patrick Young on 12/2/99 in Montreal, Quebec … Son of Patrick and Tammy Young … Father was a member of the crew team at Syracuse … Mother played volleyball at Syracuse … Canadian and American dual citizen … Chose Northwestern over Maryland, Richmond, Princeton and Columbia.
Collins on Young: “Ryan is an emerging big man. He’s a very skilled player for someone who is 6-foot-10. He can pass and shoot and has a great IQ for the game. He’s someone who has really exploded onto the scene from where he was a year ago. His potential to keep improving is terrific with our player development program.”
Ron Harper, Jr. Signs with Rutgers Basketball
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 8, 2017) – Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Pikiell announced today that Ron Harper, Jr. has signed to compete at Rutgers University. A senior at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., he comes from a basketball family and will hit the hardwood for the Scarlet Knights as a true freshman in 2018-19.
“We are excited to have Ron Harper, Jr. join Rutgers Nation,” said Pikiell. “He was a player we identified and loved from the first time we saw him play. His versatility and ability to shoot the ball, along with the fact that he’s an awesome kid from a tremendous family, was really exciting to our staff and me as the head coach. We love the fact that he is from a winning and well coached program at Don Bosco in our home state of New Jersey. Ron has a tremendous upside and we look forward to him having a great career ‘On the Banks.’ Rutgers Nation is very excited to add Ron Harper Jr. to R Family.”
“He’s been great for us in his progression as a player, on and off the court,” said Don Bosco Prep Head Coach Kevin Diverio. “I think his best days are ahead of him. I don’t think he’s near the kind of player that he will end up being. I think that potential was what Rutgers saw in him that some other people missed out on. He comes from a great family, with both his mom and his dad being Division I players. His game has evolved since last year. He’s been a leader on our team and someone that we look to score, rebound and defend. He’s really embraced his role and run with it.
“His versatility is his biggest strength,” Diverio continued. “He can play and score both inside and outside, he has great court vision. He passes the ball well. He’s not one dimensional, I think down the line he’ll be able to guard multiple positions. His teammates love him. He is a great teammate and I think that goes a long way in creating team unity. I can’t say enough about him as a person.”
Ron Harper Jr.
Guard / 6-6, 220
Franklin Lakes, N.J. / Don Bosco Prep
Scholastic: A Rivals three star prospect who averaged 10.1 points-per-game as a junior at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey (N.J.) under head coach Kevin Diverio in 2016-17 … helped the Ironmen win their first NJSIAA Non-Public A title in 47 years and reach Tournament of Champions final … had 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in TOC semifinal victory over Linden … was recognized as a Standout Performer at the Oladipo Skills Academy in July 2017 … competes on the AAU circuit for Ring City … signed with the Scarlet Knights over reported offers from Nebraska and Miami (OH).
Personal: Son of Maria and Ron Harper … mother played collegiately at the University of New Orleans … father was an AP All-American at Miami (OH) and had a 15-year career in the NBA, winning five titles combined with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, while averaging 13.8 points over 1,009 career games.
Northwestern Announces Signing of Three Future Wildcats
EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown announced the signing of three members of the 2018 class Wednesday night during National Signing Day.
Guards Sydney Wood (Olney, Md./St. John’s College HS) and Veronica Burton (Newton, Mass./Newton South) and forward Courtney Shaw (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall) inked National Letters of Intent to join the Wildcats next year.
“We are really excited about this 2018 class,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “Sydney, Veronica, and Courtney bring us great diversity at the guard and forward positions and really answer our needs as a program moving forward. Each of them comes from a great family and are committed to the student-athlete concept at Northwestern.
“The success of our program has enabled us to go into different areas of the country to recruit and continue to get better.”
Wood is a four-star recruit and ranked a top-100 player by espnW HoopGurlz. She holds a scouts’ grade of 92 and is ranked the 25th-best guard in the country.
Shaw is the No. 21 forward in the 2018 class and is a three-star recruit with a scouts’ grade of 90. Burton also holds a 90 grade and is a three-star recruit, while ranked the No. 28 point guard in the class.
Complete bios and information for each of the signees can be found below.
5-11 * Guard
Olney, Md./St. John’s College High School
High School/AAU: ESPN Top 100 recruit… Ranked in the top 25 in the nation at her position… Four-year varsity team member… Team captain… Averaged 10.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game as a junior… WCAC All-Conference Third Team… All-Met Honorable Mention… Scored 19 points against Paul VI High School, the No. 1 team in the nation… Led team to conference title in 2016-17… Two-time D.C. State Champions… 31-2 record in 2016-17… Ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today… AAU Team (Fairfax Stars) was champion of the Boo Williams Nike Invitational.
Personal: Born Sydney Marie Wood… Parents are Kenneth and Paula Wood… Uncle, Howard, graduated high school as the all-time leading scorer in New York public school history… Went to same high school as Under Armour founder Kevin Plank… Competed with current Northwestern first year Lindsey Pulliam… Member of Honor Roll and National Honor Society… Anticipated major is broadcast journalism.
McKeown on Wood: “Sydney plays in one of the top high school programs and arguably one of the best conferences in the country. To have one of the best players from that area come to Northwestern is great. She is first-class and an outstanding student-athlete. She can play multiple positions and can defend.”
5-9 * Guard
Newton, Mass./Newton South
High School/AAU: Four-year varsity team member… Two-year team captain… Over 1,200 career points through her junior year… Averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 3.6 steals per game last season… Named First-Team All-State by USA Today… Boston Globe Player of the Year… Boston Herald Dream Team honoree… Dual County League MVP as freshman, sophomore, and junior… 18-5 team record and advanced to D1 state semi-finals junior year… Scored a career high 41 points against Cambridge Rindge and Latin… Played six years for AAU team Bay State Jaguars… Champions of National Showcase in Orlando… Two-time Nike Nationals finalists in Washington, D.C…. Semi-finalists at Boo Williams Nike Invitational.
Personal: Born Veronica Grace Burton… Parents are Steve and Ginni Burton… Father played quarterback at Northwestern… Mother was an All-American and Big Ten Champion in swimming for the Wildcats… Grandfather, Ron Burton, also played football at Northwestern and is an NCAA and NU Hall of Fame member… Brother, Austin, is currently a quarterback at UCLA… Three uncles also all played football at NU… Uncle, Paul Burton, was teammate of Pat Fitzgerald… Sister, Kendall, played basketball for Villanova… Sister, Kayla, was a member of the basketball team at Lehigh… Member of Honor Roll in high school… Anticipated major at Northwestern is undecided.
McKeown on Burton: “Veronica is one of the top guards in the country and can play multiple positions, is an outstanding student-athlete, and has incredible leadership potential. Her family has a great legacy at Northwestern, and we are excited for her to write her own story here.”
6-0 * Forward
Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall
High School/AAU: ESPN scouts grade of 90… Ranked in the top 25 in the nation at her position… Four-year varsity team member… Two-year team captain… Three-year varsity volleyball team member… Averaged 19 points per game with a field-goal shooting percentage of .410 as a junior… First Team All-County, Team MVP for both basketball and volleyball… Played four years of AAU basketball… AAU Team (Fairfax Stars) was champion of the Boo Williams Nike Invitational… Was teammates with fellow signee Sydney Wood.
Personal: Born Courtney Aleiah Shaw… Parents are Stephanie and Jay Saw… Uncle, Stafford Gaston, was a defensive tackle for Northwestern… Father Jay Shaw was in the US Marine Corps… Cousin, James McCallister, was a super-welterweight boxer… Finished in top five percent of her class at Perry Hall… National Honor Society Member… French Honor Society Member… Anticipated major at Northwestern is bioengineering.
McKeown on Shaw: “Courtney has incredible athletic ability and plays at the rim. She changes the dynamic of a game because of her speed and ability to run the floor. Her potential and her future are really bright.”
Three future Golden Gophers have signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) to join the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team. Delaynie Byrne (Arvada, Colo.), Lesila Finau (Dublin, Calif.) and Jaidah Stewart (Kirkwood, Mo.) will be eligible to compete starting in the 2018-19 season.
“We are thrilled to welcome this trio to the Gopher family,” head coach Marlene Stollings said. “Each of these student-athletes bring a wealth of top-notch, competitive experience from high-level programs along with an outstanding academic pedigree.”
Delaynie Byrne | 6-2 | F | Ralston Valley High School | Arvada, Colo.
Byrne, a forward, earned a No. 21 ranking from ESPN at her position. She has played for BC Denver’s Elite team on the AAU circuit throughout her high school career. Byrne will finish her prep career at Ralston Valley High School, where she sat out last season due to transfer rules. She averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Broomfield High School.
“I chose Minnesota because of the perfect balance of academics and athletics and I feel at home amongst the basketball family. I think the University of Minnesota will challenge me as a student and I know the coaches will help develop me into the best athlete and person I can be. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to see what my future holds as a Golden Gopher!”
“Her size, skill package and versatility can impact a game in many different ways. She can score in the post and step out to the 3 with great accuracy. Delaynie’s ability to score and her high basketball IQ make her a great addition to our program.”
Geoff Golden, BC Denver Coach:
“Delaynie is a first-class kid. She has been a model of hard work, commitment and character throughout her high school career. As a player, her size and versatility on both ends of the court make her unique and a very difficult match-up for opponents. We could not be more excited for Delaynie and her decision to play for Coach Stollings and the University of Minnesota.”
Jeff Gomer, Ralston Valley Coach:
“Delaynie is a very grounded and focused individual who possesses an excellent work ethic. She has been a pleasure to coach.”
Lesila Finau | 5-10 | G/F | Dublin High School |Dublin, Calif.
Finau, a senior guard/forward at Dublin High School, also played for the Cal Stars on the prestigious Nike EYBL circuit. Her team was the only one to go undefeated (10-0) during the 2017 girls’ EYBL regular season. Finau was ranked 67th at her position by ESPN. She has received All-East Bay Athletic League, all-metro and all-state recognition. As a junior at Dublin, Finau averaged 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 4.4 steals per game.
“Selecting Minnesota was an easy choice for me. I felt it as soon as I stepped in the Barn! The opportunity to play for a coach like Coach M doesn’t come around often. It was really a no-brainer. The academics, resources and top-of-the-line facilities available to a student-athlete at Minnesota are second to none. And to top it off, being able to play for an amazing fan base and community like Minnesota is a dream come true. Ski-U-Mah!”
“She is a multi-purpose guard that can create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. Her size, versatility and athleticism are going to be an asset for our program both offensively and defensively. Her best basketball is ahead of her and she can be as good as she wants to be at this level.”
Kareem Summerville, Dublin Coach:
“Minnesota is getting a hidden gem, hands down! Sila is incredibly competitive in the classroom and on the basketball court. She is extremely disciplined and has set very high goals for herself personally, academically and athletically. Minnesota was the perfect place to help her attain her goals with their tremendous academic support system, Coach M and her staff and cutting-edge facilities. Sila is without question one of the most all-around players I have ever coached. She can play multiple positions, her IQ is through the roof and she is all about one thing: winning. Coach M and her staff will be getting a player that wants to be the best and will give everything she has every time she steps on the floor. Go, Gophers!”
Kelly Sopak, Cal Stars Nike Elite Coach:
“Sila is a skilled, versatile player who loves to compete. She can play multiple positions, which is going to serve her well at the University of Minnesota. Sila’s best attribute is her work ethic and constant drive to get better. Above and beyond her great skill set, Sila is a pleasure to coach and she is a tremendous teammate on and off the court.”
Jaidah Stewart | 5-9 | G | Kirkwood High School | Kirkwood, Mo.
Stewart was 28th at position by ESPN, and played her AAU basketball for the EYBL’s Missouri Phenom. She will close out her prep career at Kirkwood High School, last year’s Class 5 Missouri state championship team. Stewart previously compiled more than 1,500 points during her time at Webster Groves High School, eclipsing that mark in the last game of her junior season. Missouri high school coaches have selected Stewart to their all-state team the past two years. The all-conference and all-metro honoree averaged a team-high 18.6 points per game last season before scoring 26 in the Statesmen’s sectional game.
“I am very excited about being a Golden Gopher and competing in one of the best conferences in the country, the Big Ten! To play for Coach M and her staff, earn a prestigious degree from Minnesota and enjoy the cutting-edge facilities of the Athletes Village is a dream come true. I can’t wait to begin the next chapter of my life.”
“She is a highly competitive and versatile guard who has proven her ability to impact the game on both ends of the court. Jaidah’s athleticism and ability to score will put her in a position to make an immediate contribution to our program.”
Travis Wallace, Missouri Phenom Nike Elite Coach:
“Some coaches are blessed to have good players. I had to the pleasure of coaching one of them in Jai. She is a very good basketball player and student, but she is an even better person. In all of my years of coaching Jai is by far the most humble, unselfish and coachable kids. She is the kid we refer to as a ‘go getter.’ Her versatility will allow Jai to have an immediate impact at Minnesota.”
Hawkeyes Pen 2 Prep Standouts
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery announced Wednesday that Joe Wieskamp and C.J. Fredrick have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Iowa.
Guard, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds
Cincinnati, Ohio (Covington Catholic High School)
C.J. FREDRICK ON BECOMING A HAWKEYE
“I am excited to become a Hawkeye and be a part of this great program. I’m looking forward to playing with my new teammates and to do whatever I can to help them win games.”
- Averaged 19.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 19 games as a junior
- Helped led Covington High School to district championship and regional runners-up honors… team ranked sixth in the state both his junior and senior seasons
- Team captain as a junior and senior
- Made 134-of-246 field goal attempts (.545), including 38-of-94 (.404) from 3-point range as a junior
- Averaged 10.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 35 games as a sophomore
- 2017 Most Outstanding Player 35th District Boys Basketball Tournament
- Helped his team place third at the 2016 King of the Bluegrass Tournament, while earning all-tournament team accolades
- Played on the Indian Elite AAU squad and head coach Mike Fox
- 2016 and 2017 All-Conference Division 1 All-Star Team
- 2016 and 2017 Northern Kentucky Coaches Association All-Star Team
- 2017 Adidas AAU No. 1 Class of 2018 Top 3-Point Percentage Shooter (.506)
- High school basketball coach is Scott Ruthsatz
FRAN McCAFFERY ON C.J. FREDRICK
“I’ve been impressed with C.J. going back to when we first started watching him play. He is a good shooter and scorer, but also is a good ball handler and creates shots for other people. He’s equally adept at making plays for himself and his teammates that help you win. C.J. is fiercely competitive and can play multiple positions. He felt comfortable here during the recruiting process, watched us on TV, and really studied our program. I coached his uncle and have known his father for a long time. There was that comfort level with me. C.J. likes our style of play and was willing to commit to us even when there was not a scholarship available immediately. We are excited about him.”
Joe Wieskamp (pronounced WEEZ-kamp)
Guard, 6-foot-7, 195 pounds
Muscatine, Iowa (Muscatine High School)
JOE WIESKAMP ON BECOMING A HAWKEYE
“It has always been a dream of mine to stay home and play for the Hawkeyes. I have been verbally committed for more than two years and I am excited to finally sign my National Letter of Intent to the University of Iowa. I can’t wait for the future playing for coach McCaffery and staff.”
- School record holder in career points (1,573), points in a single-game (50), 3-pointers in a single-season (62), scoring average (30.4 ppg), and career rebounds
- Averaged a school-record 30.4 points per game as a junior
- Made a school-record 62 3-pointers last season as a junior
- Team captain his senior year
- Two-time first team all-state honoree
- 2017 Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year
- Currently ranked 40th and 68th by Rivals and ESPN, respectively, in the Class of 2018
- Averaged 18.6 points as a freshman, 21.6 points as a sophomore, and 30.4 points as a junior
- 2017 All-Iowa Boys Basketball Elite Team (Des Moines Register)
- MAC Player of the Year as a junior
- Three-time first-team All-MAC Player
- Also played on the Iowa Barnstormers AAU program
- Member of the Adidas US-Select Team
- NBPA Top 100 All-Tournament Team
- Excels in the classroom, boasting a 4.0 GPA
- National Honor Society member
- High school basketball coach is Greg Belger
FRAN McCAFFERY ON JOE WIESKAMP
“Not only is Joe is an incredibly versatile player, but he is a person with terrific character, basketball intellect, and commitment to the team. We could not be more thrilled because he epitomizes everything you look for. Joe can help you win in a lot of different ways. He has one of the best 3-point shooting strokes I have ever seen. He is also a terrific rebounder, can attack the rim, is unselfish, and can affect the game defensively, which for good offensive players is not always the case. He understands how to win and does what it takes to win.”
Dosunmu Signs with Illini
Underwood lands five-star point guard from Chicago
CHAMPAIGN, ILL.–University of Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Wednesday the signing of five-star point guard Ayo Dosunmu (EYE-oh dough-SUE-moo) from Chicago Morgan Park High School to a national letter of intent.
Dosunmu had a dominating junior season for the Mustangs, averaging 22 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals. The first-team all-state selection led Morgan Park to the IHSA state championship in class 3A, despite an injury in the semifinals that kept him out of the title game. He also helped Morgan Park to the Public League Red South title. Dosunmu shined during the summer as well, excelling at the NBPA Top 100 camp and Nike Basketball Academy and on the AAU circuit with the Mac Irvin Fire.
“We feel we are getting the best point guard in the country in Ayo Dosunmu,” Underwood said. “He possesses a number of traits that have elevated him to elite status. He is a proven winner, a great competitor, comes from a tremendous family, is a high-character young man, and has outstanding work ethic.
“Along with being a perfect fit for our system and style, Ayo embraces the power of Fighting Illini basketball and joining a program with such great history and tradition,” Underwood added. “It is extremely important to him to wear the “I” and represent our state.”
Following the commitment of 2017 Illinois Mr. Basketball recipient Mark Smith just six weeks after taking over in Champaign, Underwood has made another statement on the recruiting trail by landing the top 25-ranked Dosunmu, a McDonald’s All-America Game candidate and the highest-rated guard to join the Fighting Illini program since Dee Brown signed in November 2001.
Point Guard, 6-5, 185 Hometown: Chicago, Ill. High School / Coach: Morgan Park / Nick Irvin AAU Program / Coach: Mac Irvin Fire / Mike Irvin
Notes on Dosunmu: Five-star recruit ranked No. 24 by the recruiting services consensus index, checking in at No. 20 by Rivals, No. 27 by 247Sports composite and No. 29 by ESPN … Starting point guard for Morgan Park squad that won the 2017 IHSA Class 3A state championship and Chicago Public League Red South title … First-team All-State by the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Champaign News-Gazette and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association … Second-team All-State by the Chicago Tribune … All-Area and first-team All-City by the Sun-Times … Averaged 22 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals as a junior … Scored a career-high 51 points in season opener vs. Bowen on Nov. 27, 2016 … Selected to participate in the NBPA Top 100 camp and Nike Basketball Academy.
Iowa WBB Inks 4 Prep Standouts
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Logan Cook, Monika Czinano, Kate Martin, and Tomi Taiwo have inked National Letters of Intent to play basketball at the University of Iowa, UI head coach Lisa Bluder announced on Wednesday.
“We are thrilled to welcome these four exceptional young ladies to our program,” said Bluder. “We feel that we met our needs by signing an off-guard, small forward, power forward, and center. They are not only tremendous basketball players, but incredible students as well. All four come from terrific high school programs with winning traditions. I like the championship mentality they all will bring to our program.”
Logan Cook | 6-1 | Forward
Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City West
The Cook File:
- Attends Iowa City West High school where she is coached by BJ Mayer
- Two-time all-conference honoree (2016, 2017)
- Named first team all-state (Class 5A) and first team all-tournament as a junior in 2017
- Three-year varsity letterwinner
- Started all 25 games as a junior, leading the Women of Troy with 15 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game as a junior
- Started all 23 games and averaged nine points, six rebounds, and 1.1 assists as a sophomore
- Played in all 25 games as a freshmen, averaging 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds
- Guided Iowa City West to a pair of Class 5A State Semifinal appearances
- Led the Women of Troy to a 2017 Regional Championship
- Played for the Iowa Barnstormers under head coach Todd Rogers for two years
- Daughter of Marv and Tracy Cook
- Father, Marv, played tight end at the University of Iowa and went on to play seven years in the National Football League
- Brother, Drew, is a redshirt sophomore tight end for the Iowa football team
- Member of the National Honor Society
Monika Czinano | 6-3 | Forward/Center
The Czinano File:
- Attends Watertown-Mayer High School where she is coached by John Rosholt
- Two-time all-conference honoree (2016, 2017)
- All-section selection by Breakdown Sports Media in 2017
- Two-time Watertown-Mayer Most Improved Player (2016, 2017)
- 2017 Watertown-Mayer Team Captain
- Averaged 8.7 points, 12.6 rebounds (4.8 offensive, 7.7 defensive), 1.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game as a junior
- Averaged 7.3 points, 11.5 rebounds (5.3 offensive, 6.2 defensive), and 1.1 blocks per game as a sophomore
- Led Watertown-Mayer to a third-place finish in the 2017 state tournament
- Guided her high school team to back-to-back Wright County West Championships (2016, 2017)
- Plays for the Minnesota Fury under head coach Tim Pepper
- Four-year letterwinner in swimming, three-year letterwinner in track, and 2017 letterwinner in volleyball.
- State qualifier in basketball, track, and volleyball
- Daughter of Theresa and Gyula Czinano
- Has two sisters, Maggie (14) and Mallory (11)
- Member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Theater, and Band
Kate Martin | 6-0 | Guard
The Martin File:
- Attends Edwardsville High School where she is coached by Lori Blade
- Second team all-state selection in 2017
- 2017 all-metro honoree
- Three-year starter
- Averaged 12.9 points and 5.2 rebounds as a junior
- Surpassed the 1,000 career points milestone in 2017
- Led Edwardsville to a 30-1 record and a state runner-up finish in 2017
- Guided her high school to a 2016 Southwestern Conference Championship
- Played for Blue Star St. Louis under the direction of Kris Lovette for two years
- Daughter of Matthew and Jill Martin
- Has two siblings, Kennedy (22) and Trevor (19)
- Sister, Kennedy, is a senior forward at Truman State
- Aunt, Julie Fitzpatrick, played basketball at Drake
- Dad, Mattew, and uncle, Mitch Martin, played football at Western Illinois
- Uncle, Mike Martin played basketball at Parkland and Pitt State
Tomi Taiwo | 5-10 | Guard
The Taiwo File:
- Attends Carmel High School where she is coached by Tod Windlan
- Honorable mention AP All-State selection in 2017
- One of 13 girls basketball players listed on the IndyStar All-MIC team (2017)
- Started all 27 games in 2017, averaging 14 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game
- Set a Carmel High School record for 3-pointers made in a season with 65 in 2017
- Guided three different teams to a sectional championship, including Roseville Area High School (Roseville, Minnesota) in 2015, Homestead High School (Fort Wayne, Indiana) in 2016, and Carmel High School in 2017
- Played for Michigan Crossover Girls EYBL under the direction of Emez Oliver in 2017
- Led the EYBL in free throw percentage (92.0)
- Varsity letterwinner in basketball, track, and tennis
- Qualified for state in the 4X200 meter relay as a freshman
- Sectional champion in singles tennis in 2015
- Daughter of Bola and Omobola Taiwo
- Has one brother, Seyi
- Recipient of the Carmel High School Scholar Athlete Award for maintaining a GPA over 3.7 (2016-17)
- Homestead High School Physical Education Academic Award (2015-16)
- Academic Award recipient at Roseville Area High School for maintaining a GPA above 3.5 (2014-15)
MBK: Holtmann Inks Four for 2018-19
Ahrens, LeDee, Muhammad and Washington sign with the Buckeyes
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Holtmann, Ohio State first-year head coach, announced the signing of four recruits for the 2018-19 season Wednesday.
Justin Ahrens, a 6-foot-5-inch forward from Versailles, Ohio, Jaedon LeDee, a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Houston, Texas, Luther Muhammad, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Jersey City, N.J., and Duane Washington, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Chatsworth, Calif., have signed their National Letter of Intent to join the Buckeyes as part of Holtmann’s first full recruiting class in Columbus.
“We are very excited about the addition of Justin, Jae, Luther and Duane,” Holtmann said. “Our staff did an outstanding job working tirelessly and diligently to add these four young men who we feel can make an early impact in our program and who exemplify what we want to be as a Buckeye. They all provide versatility and they complement each other very well. While we understand that there will be an adjustment for all four to the college game and that will require some patience, we are extremely excited about what they can grow into as Buckeyes. We officially welcome Justin, Jaedon, Luther and Duane to The Ohio State University!”
6-5, 180, Forward
Versailles High School
– 2017 Ohio Division III Co-Player of the Year
– Helped Versailles to a league title and a 25-2 record
– Averaged 23.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists
– 2016 third team All-Ohio after averaging 22.7 points per contest as a sophomore
– Played for C2K Elite last summer, averaging 13.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13 games
– No. 197 overall player, No. 45 small forward and No. 7 player in Ohio by 247Sports
Coach Chris Holtmann: “Justin is a versatile and skilled wing guard who has a terrific feel for the game. He can really shoot the ball and is a deceptive athlete. We are very excited about him! As soon as we were able to spend some time getting to know Justin he became a major priority because of the impact we felt he could have in our program. We watched nearly all of his July games and I love his approach as a player and teammate. Being from just down the road in Ohio, Justin understands and has a great appreciation for this place. We think Justin’s versatility, shooting, IQ and feel will be really important for our program moving forward. Justin has been very well coached and he has a terrific support system with his family. We’re so excited to add them to our Buckeye family.”
6-9, 230, Forward
The Kinkaid School
– Averaged 15.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for Texas Pro in the Adidas Gauntlet Series
– Averaged 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds as a junior at The Kinkaid School
– No. 94 overall player, No. 18 small forward and No. 5 player in Texas by 247Sports
Coach Chris Holtmann: “Jae got the ball rolling with this 2018 class after taking an official visit here and committing shortly thereafter. Obviously, we knew we were going to have a need for a forward and Jae is a young man we identified as soon as we were hired in June. We are really excited about him! He is a very good rebounder, has a great nose for the ball, is physically ready and has versatility. He can score with his back to the basket as well as step out on the perimeter, which is a requirement in today’s game for guys his size. As with most bigger guys, we believe his best days are ahead of him as his game continue to grow and he adjust to the college pace. Jae comes from an outstanding family and has been coached well. We’re very excited to add them to the Buckeye family.”
6-3, 185, Guard
Jersey City, N.J.
Hudson Catholic High School
– Averaged 15.8 points, 3.2 boards 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a junior
– Shot 50.6 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line
– No. 71 overall player, No. 14 shooting guard and No. 5 player in New Jersey by 247Sports
Coach Chris Holtmann: “Luther is a young man who we have known for over a year and a half. From the first days on the job here for us, he was a major recruiting priority. He brings versatility, toughness, high-level competitiveness and an elite defensive mindset. Luther can make shots, make plays with the ball in his hands for others and defend all three perimeter positions. He plays with an edge and his competiveness is contagious. He also is an outstanding teammate. We expect Luther to have an immediate impact and continue to improve as he adjusts to the pace of this level as a freshman. Luther comes from a terrific program and has been coached very well. We are excited to add Luther and his terrific family to the Buckeye family.”
6-3, 190, Guard
Sierra Canyon High School
– Played first three years of high school basketball at Grand Rapids Christian in Michigan
– Averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 assists per contest as a junior
– Nephew of five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher
– No. 257 overall player, No. 46 points guard and No. 29 player in California by 247Sports
Coach Chris Holtmann: “Duane is an outstanding shooter with excellent versatility because of his scoring ability, playmaking and size. He has really good feel for the game and brings a confidence and charisma as a player and teammate. He grew up in Big Ten country and understands the demands of playing at this level. Duane is young for his class and we are very excited about his immediate impact on our program. We obviously have had a significant need to add guard play and Duane was someone we identified as a major priority as soon as we saw him. He had an outstanding July! He comes from a terrific program. We are excited to add Duane and his outstanding family to our Buckeye family.”
Indiana Women’s Basketball Inks Three To National Letters of Intent
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana Women’s Basketball head coach Teri Moren has announced the signing of three for the class of 2022 on Wednesday. Grace Berger (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy), Chanel Wilson (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern HS) and Aleksa Gulbe (Riga, Latvia/TTT Riga) have all signed letters of intent to play for the Hoosiers beginning in 2018-19.
A 6-0 guard from Louisville, Ky., Berger averaged 14.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a junior for Sacred Heart Academy. During her time with the Valkyries, Berger has led her team to a 72-25 overall record including a 2017 7th region championship and appearance in the state finals. She is a three-time All-7th Region First Team honoree, three-time All-7th region tournament team selection, 2017 First Team All-State and 2016 and 2017 Louisville Invitational All-Tournament team. She is also a two-time team captain at Sacred Heart and played AAU with Kentucky Premier.
Berger is ranked by ESPN as a five-star recruit and No. 46 overall. She is also ranked No. 43 overall by Dan Olson, No. 70 overall by All-Star Girls Report, No. 76 overall by ProspectsNation.com and No. 79 overall by Preferred Athlete Scouting Service.
A 5-6 guard out of Powder Springs, Ga., Wilson comes to Indiana after leading McEachern High School to three-straight GHSA AAAAAA state championships. As a junior, averaged 12.9 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game before her season ended due to an injury. She was named a two-time First Team All-Region and two-time Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro second team selection. In addition, she was the 2017 Rose Classic Super Jam MVP, 2017 Atlanta Tip Off Club mid-season All-Metro and has been named a Sandy Spiel Preseason All-State for 2017-18.
As a sophomore, Wilson averaged 12.0 points, 3.6 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds per game as she was named the She Got Game Player of the Game; Art Turner Tipoff Player of the Game; First Team All-Region and Atlanta Tip Off Club Preseason All-Metro. She’s ranked as No. 111 overall by All Star Girls Report, No. 124 overall by Blue Star and No. 229 overall by Dan Olson.
A 6-3 forward becomes the third Latvian player in IU history, coming to Bloomington from Riga, Latvia. Gulbe plays for TTT Riga and is a European and World Championship participant. She averaged 12.4 point and 6.4 rebounds at the 2017 U18 European Championship. In 2016, she participated in both the U17 World Championships where she averaged 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as well as the U16 European Championships where she scored 12.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. At the U16 European Championships in 2015, she averaged 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
Husker Signing Class Ranked in ESPN Top 20 Lincoln – The Nebraska women’s basketball team received National Letters of Intent from four standout high school seniors from Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana on the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.
Nebraska’s recruiting class was ranked No. 20 in the nation by the ESPN rankings at the start of the early signing period. Coach Amy Williams’ first Nebraska class, which consisted of current Husker freshmen Taylor Kissinger and Kate Cain, was also ranked No. 20 nationally, giving the second-year Husker head coach and her staff back-to-back top-20 classes.
The first commitment to the Huskers in this year’s class, Ashtyn Veerbeek made her commitment to Nebraska in December of 2016. The 6-2 forward out of Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa, is ranked as the No. 55 player in the nation by Blue Star, No. 66 by Prospects Nation and No. 68 by ESPN, which also ranked Veerbeek as the No. 9 forward in the Class of 2018.
The Sioux Center native earned first-team Iowa Class 2A honors as a junior in 2016-17. She led Western Christian to an Iowa Class 2A state title in 2017. Veerbeek averaged 22.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game while shooting 80.3 percent from the free throw line as a junior.
Nebraska’s second commit to the class, Kayla Mershon will come to Lincoln as one of the top players in the state of Minnesota. The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., who committed to the Huskers in February of 2017, was ranked as the No. 132 overall player in the nation by Prospects Nation and the No. 14 wing nationally by ESPN. As a junior, Mershon averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds in 2016-17. As a sophomore, she help Minnetonka High School to its first-ever state championship in 2016.
A North Tartan club teammate of Mershon’s, guard Sam Haiby committed to the Huskers in mid-May of 2017. A 5-9 guard, Haiby averaged 22.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.1 steals as a junior for Class 4A Moorhead High School in 2016-17. Haiby, who was ranked as the No. 122 player in the country by Prospects Nation, the No. 125 player by Blue Star and the No. 28 guard nationally by ESPN, enters her senior season with 1,856 career points.
Leigha Brown, a 6-1 guard out of DeKalb High School in Indiana, rounds out Nebraska’s class. Brown, who also committed to the Huskers in May, averaged 22.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season as a first-team Class 4A choice and an Supreme 15 Underclass All-State selection in 2016-17. She was ranked as the No. 21 forward nationally by ESPN.
“We are really excited about this entire group of high-achieving young women,” Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. “They not only have had strong careers so far, but they are all on track to have great senior seasons. They have all shown an impressive commitment to our program during the recruiting process. They are high-character individuals with incredible work ethics and competitive spirits. We are looking forward to helping them achieve their goals on and off the court.”
Leigha Brown 6-1, Guard, Auburn, Indiana (DeKalb) One of the top players in Indiana, Leigha Brown (pronounced LEE-uh) averaged 22.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 blocks as a junior for Coach Brett Eltzroth at DeKalb High School in 2016-17. The 6-1 guard earned Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Supreme 15 Underclass All-State honors. She was a second-team Class 4A all-stater after averaging 17.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a sophomore in 2015-16. She claimed honorable-mention all-state recognition as a freshman when she captured the first of three straight first-team all-area honors. She was also ranked as the No. 21 forward nationally by ESPN.
Brown, who entered her senior season with 1,238 points, 580 rebounds, 225 assists and 128 steals, has her final year at DeKalb off to amazing start, averaging 43.5 points, 22.0 rebounds, 7.0 steals, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks through the first two games. She opened her senior season with 34 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists for a triple-double in a Halloween win over Heritage High School, before exploding for a career-high 53 points, 24 rebounds and four assists in a win over Lakeland High School on Nov. 3.
Brown played her club basketball for Always 100 coached by Julius Smith.
“We are so excited for all that Leigha will bring to our program. She is a versatile guard with good size and has the ability to score at all three levels,” Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. “She understands how to work and fits the culture we are establishing at Nebraska. Each time Leigha steps on the court, she plays like she has something to prove, and we will welcome that sense of urgency into our program.”
The daughter of Jenese Brown and Nate Brown, Leigha was born July 14, 2000 in Auburn, Ind. She has a younger sister, Jayla. Leigha chose Nebraska over Xavier, Belmont, Western Michigan, Wright State, Indiana State, Youngstown State, American and IUPUI.
“I believe it is a perfect fit for me,” Brown said. “The coaching staff, fans and the opportunities that the school provides were exactly what I was looking for in a school.”
Sam Haiby 5-9, Guard, Moorhead, Minnesota (Moorhead) An outstanding all-around athlete, Sam Haiby (pronounced HY-bee) was ranked as one of the top 125 players in the nation by both Blue Star and Prospects Nation. She was also the No. 28 guard in the nation according to ESPN. Despite those rankings, Nebraska coaches feel that Haiby flew relatively under the national recruiting radar. Haiby is coming off a big junior season when she averaged 22.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.1 steals as a 5-9 point guard at Moorhead High School.
Her junior season was highlighted by a huge 44-point performance against Fargo Shanley on Jan. 17, 2017. A first-team Minnesota Class 4A selection for Coach Jed Carlson at Moorhead, Haiby enters her senior season with 1,856 career points.
Haiby played her club basketball alongside future Husker teammate Kayla Mershon for North Tartan and Coach Gerard Coury. Haiby was a part of five consecutive Minnesota State AAU championships with North Tartan.
In addition to playing basketball, Haiby was a starting shortstop and pitcher on Moorhead High School’s baseball team in the spring of 2017. She was the first pitcher to ever throw a pitch in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, taking the mound for the Spuds against the Sartell Sabres at the home of the Minnesota Vikings and the upcoming Super Bowl in the Twin Cities. She also became the first female in history to pitch a scoreless inning in a Minnesota High School boys baseball game last spring.
“Sam has a great feel for the game. Her athleticism and explosiveness allow her to make plays for herself and others,” Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. “She has incredible potential on the defensive side of the basketball, as she has deceptive length and quickness. Her experience with her high school and summer programs have prepared her to play at the next level.”
The daughter of Jay Haiby and Janet Haiby, Samantha Rae Brianna Haiby was born Sept. 25, 1999 in St. Louis, Mo. She has an older brother, Andrew. Sam is a friend of current Nebraska soccer player Allison Ulness, who was also a Moorhead Spud. Haiby, who chose Nebraska over Minnesota, Arizona, Creighton, North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State, said she chose Nebraska because of the overall feel of the program.
“It felt like home,” Haiby said. “I formed a great relationship with the coaches, and the support from Husker Nation is unbelievable.”
Kayla Mershon 6-3, Forward, Chanhassen, Minnesota (Minnetonka) Kayla Mershon (pronounced MER-shawn) will come to Lincoln as one of the top players in the state of Minnesota. The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., was Nebraska’s second commit in the class, making her plans known to attend Nebraska in February of 2017. Mershon was ranked as the No. 132 overall player in the nation by Prospects Nation and the No. 14 wing nationally by ESPN.
As a junior, Mershon averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds in 2016-17. As a sophomore, she helped Minnetonka High School to its first-ever state championship in 2016. A five-time high school basketball letterwinner, Mershon was a first-team All-Lake Conference selection for Coach Leah Dasovich.
Mershon also has played club basketball at the highest level for Coach Gerard Coury and the North Tartan program, which has won the Minnesota State AAU title seven years in a row. She was named to the all-tournament team at the Georgia Super Showcase. She was also invited to Nike All-American National Elite Camp in 2014, and advanced to the second round of tryouts for USA Basketball in 2016. She also has competed internationally with North Tartan in Europe against national teams from France and the Netherlands.
“Kayla Mershon has great length and a strong all-around skill-set, and we are excited about her versatility,” Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. “Kayla has shown some unique natural gifts, but she is also a tremendous worker and has a great attitude. She has played for a state championship high school team, and an extremely competitive summer team, and she is eager to compete at the highest level. We can’t wait to see all she will accomplish here in a Husker uniform.”
The daughter of Rick and Leslie Mershon, Kayla was born May 30, 1999, in Royal Oak, Mich. She has two sisters, Lauren and Ally. An honor roll student, Kayla chose Nebraska over Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon, DePaul, Utah, Minnesota, Princeton, Wake Forest, Colorado, Creighton, Saint Louis, Drake and South Dakota State.
“I chose Nebraska because I felt most at ‘home’ when I visited,” Mershon said. “The coaches and players are amazing, the campus itself is beautiful, and I love the Haymarket area right next to it. Not to mention the fan support is insane, and I can’t wait to be a Husker.”
Ashtyn Veerbeek 6-2, Forward, Sioux Center, Iowa (Western Christian) The first commitment to the Huskers in this year’s class, Ashtyn Veerbeek (pronounced VER-beek) made her commitment to Nebraska in December of 2016. The 6-2 forward out of Western Christian High School in Sioux Center, Iowa, is ranked as the No. 55 player in the nation by Blue Star, No. 66 by Prospects Nation and No. 68 by ESPN, which also ranked Veerbeek as the No. 9 forward in the Class of 2018.
Veerbeek, who earned first-team Iowa Class 2A honors as a junior in 2016-17, comes to Nebraska from the same high school that produced Husker volleyball All-American and U.S. Olympian Nancy Metcalf Meendering.
“We have known Ashtyn for a long time and we are so excited she was the first player to commit to this class,” Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. “She is a strong, yet agile athlete who is an extremely talented basketball and volleyball player. She is a fierce competitor who simply knows how to win. She really exploded onto the national scene this past summer, competing at a very high level with her club program. She understands what it means to work hard, and we are looking forward to the growth she will continue to make here at Nebraska.”
Veerbeek led Western Christian to Iowa Class 2A state title in 2017, by averaging 22.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game while shooting 80.3 percent from the free throw line as a junior for Coach Justin Negen.
Veerbeek was the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association Class 2A Player of the Year and the captain of the Class 2A All-Tournament team while leading the Wolfpack to the 2017 state title. She was a first-team all-state selection by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association and the Des Moines Register while also being named the Sioux City Journal Player of the Year.
As a sophomore in 2015-16, Veerbeek averaged 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds while hitting 82.2 percent of her free throws. She helped the Wolfpack to a state runner-up finish while earning a spot on the Class 2A All-Tournament team. She was a first-team all-state selection by the IGCA and the Iowa Newspaper Association.
In 2014-15, she contributed 9.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for a Western Christian team that advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals. She enters her senior season with 1,252 points and 776 rebounds in 79 career games, including a school single-season record 592 points last year.
She played her club basketball for the All Iowa Attack under Coach Dickson Jensen.
Veerbeek is also a three-time volleyball letterwinner who helped Western Christian to a pair of state volleyball titles. She was a first-team Class 2A all-state selection in volleyball and a two-time member of the Class 2A All-Tournament team. Her mother, Tammi, is the head volleyball coach at Western Christian.
The daughter of Ron and Tammi Veerbeek, Ashtyn was born on Feb. 15, 2000. She has two younger brothers, Trey and Chase. A solid student, Ashtyn is a member of National Honor Society and an honor roll student. Ashtyn chose Nebraska over Iowa, South Dakota State, South Dakota, Creighton, Drake, Arizona State and Missouri.
“I chose Nebraska because the coaching staff is one of kind and genuinely cares about me as a person,” Veerbeek said. “The top-notch facilities and fan support are incredible, and it just felt like home.”
Purdue Women’s Basketball Signs Three 2018 Recruits
The Boilermakers added more homegrown talent in their 2018 recruiting class
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue women’s basketball head coach Sharon Versyp announced the addition of three players to the Boilermaker family Wednesday, inking Nyagoa Gony, Cassidy Hardin and Kayana Traylor to national letters of intent. The trio boasts an impressive list of credentials, features a pair of Indiana natives and will join the Boilermakers in the fall of 2018.
“This class brings us another huge addition of talent and potential to continue improving on some of the great things we’re doing here at Purdue,” said Versyp. “Our ability to keep Indiana’s best kids at home and go steal another great player out of the state of Nebraska speaks volumes about the work that our staff is putting in and the team and culture we’ve built.”
Hardin and Traylor will bolster the Boilermaker backcourt, playing shooting guard and point guard, respectively, while Gony is a budding, 6-foot-2 post player with intentions to make an impact down low for the Old Gold & Black.
Gony is the second player in program history to hail from Nebraska, following Boilermaker standout KK Houser. A two-year letterwinner at Lincoln High School, she was the state’s leading rebounder in 2015-16, and offers the Boilermakers’ a wealth of potential in the post. A long and agile post defender, Gony has drawn comparisons to 2008 All-Big Ten Defensive Team honoree Danielle Campbell and can change the game with her length around the bucket. Offensively she’s comfortable with a face-up game, back to the basket or running in transition, and brings a versatile defensive skill set that allows her to defend at the top of a press or anchor a half-court set near the basket.
“Nyagoa’s work ethic, determination and dedication are unwavering,” said Versyp. “She has the potential to be a game-changer for us and is capable of becoming double-trouble for opponents on each end of the floor.”
The Boilermakers’ 3-point records are officially on watch with the addition of Hardin, who will make the short trip from Bargersville, Indiana to West Lafayette. One of the nation’s best shooters from downtown, she has exceptionally deep range and does a great job with both catch-and-shoot or coming off the dribble. Hardin has a very high basketball IQ and has added a variety of 1-on-1 moves and a sweet mid-range game, making her a threat from every position. At 5-foot-10, she has solid size for a guard and can post up a smaller matchup as well.
“We’re thrilled about Cassidy’s technique and keen eye for shooting,” said Versyp. “We think we got the best shooter in the country in this class, but she can do everything else. She’s really an exceptional passer, which is an incredible addition to a player who can knock it down the way she can.”
Traylor is an explosive, quick, dynamic point guard who will be a fun one to watch for Boilermaker fans. A lefty with a blazing first step, she presents a variety of problems for opponents: blowing by them to the bucket, stopping on a dime for a pull-up jumper or stepping back behind the arc to rain down 3’s. Despite an offensive prowess that has her averaging close to 30 points per game, it’s Traylor’s defensive game that will truly excite Boilermaker fans. She has incredible focus on a defensive gameplan and that coupled with her quickness and athleticism makes her a terror for opponents.
“Kayana has been a player we’re excited about joining us for a long time,” said Versyp. “She’ll be able to follow in an outstanding line of defensive point guards that have suited up for Purdue, and wreak havoc in opposing backcourts.”
Chambers Signs Two to National Letters of Intent
Dread and Bolton Join Penn State in 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers added two guards to the class of 2018 as Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread have signed their national letters of intent to enroll at Penn State and play for the Nittany Lions.
“We are elated to welcome Myles and Rasir to the Penn State family,” said Nittany Lion basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “Our staff’s primary focus was on recruiting individuals who align with our vision for the Penn State basketball program. In both Myles and Rasir we believe we have found two young men who have distinguished themselves with their academic and athletic accomplishments and we are thrilled about the future.”
Dread, a 6-4 guard from Burtonsville, Maryland, helped lead Gonzaga College High School to the Washington Post’s number-one ranking in 2016-17. His junior season saw the Eagles win the 2017 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and District of Columbia State Athletic Association titles as well as the Alhambra Catholic Invitation. It was Gonzaga’s second-straight WCAC championship and Dread earned second-team accolades both years, as well as fourth-team All-Met honors in 2017.
As a junior, Dread averaged 10.4 points and 4.9 assists per game as Gonzaga posted a 32-5 record. He joined future teammates Lamar Stevens, Nazeer Bostick and Tony Carr on the 2015 DC Classic All-Tournament team and was a repeat selection when Gonzaga claimed the championship in 2016. Dread’s outstanding performance at Junior Orange Bowl Classic in 2015 earned him a spot on the all-tournament first team as a sophomore as Gonzaga swept through the competition. Basketballspotlight.com named Dread as its Class of 2018 Scholar Athlete of the Year. The son of Aaron and Kisha, Dread was also a part of Team Takeover’s 2008 AAU national championship team.
“Myles has been a part of winning programs in his high school (Gonzaga) and AAU programs (Team Takeover) and we feel he will fit really well in our system,” said Nittany Lion men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “He is a fierce competitor who is extremely skilled, which will allow him to play multiple positions. In addition to those characteristics, he has a great shooting stroke and high basketball I.Q. We became close to his family during the recruiting process and we are excited Myles and his family are now part of our Penn State family.”
As a member of the Team Loaded Virginia team that won the 2017 adidas Uprising championship, Bolton averaged 11.6 points during the eight-game tournament with two 20-point games. Bolton, from Chesterfield, Va., is rated as the top point guard in Virginia and as one of the top point guards on the East Coast.
An all-state and all-conference pick following his sophomore year where he had multiple 30-plus scoring games, Bolton has already eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring mark. The son of Ray and Chalonda, he plays for Massanuttan Military Academy.
“Rasir is an explosive point guard and an elite student who will bring energy and passion to the court and classroom,” Chambers said. “His AAU program (Team Loaded) and high school (Massanuttan Military) have given Rasir the opportunity to compete on some of the biggest national stages. He plays with toughness, can shoot the ball, and has great floor vision that allows him to make plays off ball screens. We are excited that he and his family are officially Nittany Lions.”
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL INKS THREE FOR 2018-19
Note: Head Coach Nancy Fahey will hold a press conference at 12:20 p.m. CT. Click here to watch the live video stream.
CHAMPAIGN – Fighting Illini women’s basketball and head coach Nancy Fahey announced Wednesday the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Mackenzie Blazek (Franklin, Indiana), J-Naya Ephraim (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) and Arieal Scott (Urbana, Illinois) will join the Orange and Blue for the 2018-19 campaign.
“We are extremely excited to welcome these three new members to our Fighting Illini family,” Fahey said. “In the frontcourt, we gain an energetic competitor and top-notch scoring threat in Arieal as well as athleticism, speed, and tenacity from J-Naya. Pairing them with Mackenzie in the backcourt who, at 6-foot-3, uses her length for shot blocking and aggressive rebounding, we are confident that this class will have a strong, positive impact on the future of Illinois women’s basketball.”
6-3 | Forward | Franklin, Indiana | Whiteland Community High School
–2017 IBCA Underclass All-State honoree
-2016 IBCA Underclass Large School All-State honoree
-Ranked No. 90 overall by ESPN Hoopgurlz
-Daily Journal 2016-17 Player of the Year
-Averaged 18 points and 13.4 rebounds per game for Whiteland last season
FAHEY’S TAKE: “Mackenzie is a 6-foot-3 ESPN Top 100 post in the 2018 class, and we are thrilled she is joining the Fighting Illini family. Mackenzie is a true 5-player with very good back-to-the-basket skills, and she is an excellent rebounder at both ends of the floor. She is also a very good passer with impressive shooting range, and defensively is a strong shot blocker. Her skill set also goes beyond the court as she excels in the classroom.”
MACKENZIE SAYS: “I chose Illinois because it feels like home when I’m on campus. The educational aspect is amazing, and athletically, they have exactly what I was looking for in a college basketball program.”
5-9 | Guard | St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands | Southern Durham High School
– Averaged 16.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game for Southern Durham last season and tallied 16 double-doubles
– Represented the Virgin Islands on both the U16 and U17 National Teams
– NCBCA 2017 First Team All-District
– 2017 Big Eight Conference Player of the Year
– Chose Illinois over Temple and James Madison
FAHEY’S TAKE: “J-Naya is a hard-nosed and gritty guard from North Carolina, who has an extremely high motor and great work ethic. She is great in transition and has an innate ability to get to the rim, knock down the three and make great passes. When you also factor in her athleticism, size and strength, J-Naya can truly be a threat at multiple positions on both ends of the court. We are extremely excited about J-Naya’s future with the Illini women’s basketball program.”
J-NAYA SAYS: “I picked Illinois because they offered me the opportunity to showcase my talents on a big stage, competing in the Big Ten against some of the best talent in the country. When I visited the university, it felt like home and everyone welcomed me with open arms. I love Coach Fahey’s vision and that we share the same vision to make Illinois great.”
5-9 | Guard | Urbana, Illinois | Urbana High School
-2016 IBCA First Team 1A/2A All-State
-No. 39-ranked recruit in the country according to Prospects Nation
-Ranked among the top 100 players in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz
-Two-time News Gazette All-Area First Team honoree
-Chose Illinois over Missouri, Arkansas State, USC and Washington, among others
FAHEY’S TAKE: “We are so excited Arieal made the decision to stay home and represent the University of Illinois. She is also an ESPN Top 100 guard who is competitive, energetic and a true gym rat. Arieal is known for her scoring range and ability, but is a multi-dimensional player, which makes her tough to defend. Her addition to our team will be a huge asset.”
ARIEAL SAYS: “I chose Illinois because I feel that the program is heading in the right direction. It is truly a family atmosphere, and there is no place or program I would rather play for than the Fighting Illini.”