Talented guard play leaped out during our latest review of the 2012 class, conducted after the spring NCAA-certified evaluation weekend.
That sentiment certainly is reflected in ESPN HoopGurlz's prospect rankings expansion, from 60 to 100. Four of the top five players in the initial top 100 for 2012 are guards -- No. 2 Moriah Jefferson (Glenn Heights, Texas/Home School), No. 3 Alexis Jones (Irving, Texas/MacArthur), No. 4 Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West), and No. 5 Jordan Adams (Irvine, Calif./Mater Dei).
The depth of talent at all the perimeter positions may be the hallmark of this class but there are still some impressive frontcourt players such as the class' No. 1 player, Breanna Stewart (Syracuse, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse).
Four more frontcourt prospects make their way into the top 10 – No. 6 Alyson Beebe (Santa Maria, Calif./Saint Joseph), No. 7 Malina Howard (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg), No. 8 Rachel Hollivay (Caledonia, Miss./Caledonia), and No. 9 Bashaara Graves (Clarksville, Tenn./Clarksville).
Rounding out the top 10 is 6-foot-2 wing-forward Alexis Prince (Maitland, Fla./Edgewater) known for her sharpshooting and versatility.
One quarter of the players in the top 100 are committed. Connecticut has three verbal commitments – Stewart, Jefferson and No. 12 Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook). Tennessee also checks in with three commitments from ranked players – Graves, No. 14 Jasmine Jones (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones), and No. 18 Andraya Carter (Flowery Branch, Ga./Buford).
Texas A&M, the 2011 NCAA national champion, as well as runner-up Notre Dame, each have multiple verbal commitments from the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100. The Aggies have pledges from No. 11 Courtney Williams (Houston, Texas/North Shore) and No. 39 Courtney Walker (Oklahoma City, Okla./Sante Fe). The Irish have secured commitments from Loyd, No. 38 Hannah Huffman (Concord, Calif./Carondelet), and No. 48 Michaela Mabrey (Holmdel, N.J./Manasquan).
The other programs with two commitments from the top 100 are Georgetown, Maryland, North Carolina, Purdue and South Carolina.
In all, 11 of the top 50 players are new to the rankings and, with 75 of the 100 top players still undecided, there is plenty of options for schools looking to land a program changing class.
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ESPN HoopGurlz Rankings Panel
Prentice Beverly is editor of BamaPrepGirls.com, a scouting website that covers Alabama. He is the author of Navigating the Maze Grassroots Reference Guide to Women's Basketball College Recruiting. He coached on the club circuit as well as the high school level for over 15 years.
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A graduate of Seattle University and Columbia University, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.