Aquira DeCosta and her acrobatic game heading to Baylor
DeCosta, who had also considered USC, Louisville, South Carolina and Tennessee, made her official visit to Waco last weekend.
"The atmosphere was great," DeCosta said. "Coach [Kim] Mulkey is so intense, their practices move so quick and I really liked that."
DeCosta boasts the kind of game that holds up well on the world stage. This past summer she won a gold medal with USA Basketball and was named MVP of the FIBA 3x3 under-18 World Cup in China. Before that, she had won two bronze medals with USA Basketball, on the 2015 U16 national team and the 2016 U17 World Cup team.
The senior at St. Mary's (Stockton, California) is an explosive prospect who puts on acrobatic displays on her way to the rim. She's also a rebounder deluxe. As a junior, she averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 steals per game. After surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January 2016, she was back on the court that February. She scored 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting in her first game back.
Baylor had been recruiting DeCosta since her introduction to the travel circuit nearly five years ago. DeCosta pointed to her relationship with Mulkey as one of the reasons she'll be headed to Waco.
"All the coaches from each school worked hard in the process," she said. "Coach Mulkey spent time with me throughout the entire recruiting process, perhaps spending more time with me than other head coaches. She and I had conversations that were not always about basketball and stressed academics first and basketball second. It was a positive influence on me."
Also on Tuesday night, Honesty Scott-Grayson, the No. 18 prospect in the class, gave a verbal commitment to Baylor. The 5-10 guard from Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) was also considering Mississippi, Ohio State, North Carolina, Texas, Louisville and West Virginia.
"My future teammates took me in as if I belonged there," Scott-Grayson said. "We felt like family."
DeCosta's commitment means just two prospects in the top 10 remain undeclared: No. 1 Christyn Williams and No. 5 Olivia Nelson-Ododa. Williams' finalists are UCLA, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Connecticut. Nelson-Ododa is down to Georgia, Florida State, Duke, Stanford, South Carolina and UConn. Williams was one of DeCosta's teammates on the U.S. 3x3 team that won gold.
The early signing period opens Nov. 8.