Five unsigned seniors who are ready to cap their final seasons and make an impact
Time to reload. NCAA women's basketball programs have concluded their seasons, and dozens of the most talented players will be drafted Thursday night into the WNBA. Most of the top-ranked high school seniors already have signed national letters of intent. But there's still talent available in this 2017 class. Leaving out superstars such as Destiny Littleton, who reopened her recruitment after signing with USC, and Samantha Breen, who decommitted from Dayton, here are five unsigned seniors who have the talent to make an impact at the next level.
In a state as talent-rich as Texas (six McDonald's All Americans were from the Lone Star State in 2017), it's all too easy to fall into the shadows. Such is the case with Taylah Thomas, who not only shared a state with one of those McDonald's All Americans but also shared a team. The 6-foot-1 forward teamed up with Chennedy Carter to propel Timberview (Mansfield, Texas) all the way to the state title game. She's quick, athletic and perhaps the best unsigned frontcourt player remaining in the class. Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Arkansas and Texas State are apparently all onto the gem. "Who wouldn't want a 6-1 forward with wingspan, quickness in the block and a big upside?" Timberview coach Kit Kyle Martin said.
Anyone in the market for a winner? Allow us to introduce two-time state tournament MVP Angel Hayden of Canyon (Texas), which has won four straight state championships. It was Hayden and Canyon, in fact, who knocked out Thomas and Timberview in the final game of the season. Hayden, a 5-6 point guard, isn't the quickest, but she is among the best at -- somehow, some way -- finding her way through traffic and to the basket. She's smooth, smart and competent. Hayden has offers from Angelo State and others in the region.
If you want a tough, competitive backcourt player, Payton Paro of Plant (Tampa, Florida) is your player. The 5-8 shooting guard competes on both ends of the floor, guides her team in half-court sets and does what it takes to make things happen. She's a leader. And an athletic one at that. Paro averaged 12.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.7 assists as a senior. She can create her own shot and step out to the arc. The daughter of a Navy Seal, Paro also is an honors student.
How can LaMiracle Sims beat opponents? Let us count the ways. The 6-foot forward out of Moss Point (Mississippi), is nothing if not versatile. She can attack off the dribble, she can pound the glass, she can deliver in mid-range, she can find her way to the free throw line. Sometimes in combination. And, if all else fails, she can find open teammates for an easy look. Some BCS schools have joined in the chase, which includes Hartford, Charleston Southern and a host of SWAC programs. Whether she goes Division I, junior college or prep school, one thing is certain: Sims is a sweet sleeper in the 2017 class.
We head north for our final selection for the list, all the way to Minnesota and Osseo High School. It is there that we find Azaria Reed, an athletic shooting guard with size, range and athleticism. The 5-9 guard produces best in the mid-range game but can also stretch the defense out to the arc. She's found the basket a bunch already -- Reed hit the 1,000-point milestone during her final season at Osseo. She has been getting regional interest from Fort Wayne and Illinois-Chicago.