Women's basketball recruiting: Prospects on the rise in final 2018-19 rankings
The final espnW HoopGurlz rankings from the 2018-19 girls' basketball season are in. The three No. 1 women's basketball recruits -- Haley Jones (Stanford), Paige Bueckers (UConn) and Azzi Fudd -- all remain on top, but that's not to say there aren't some notable movers and shakers. Here are five of them.
Aliyah Matharu, No. 28 prospect in 2019. The 5-foot-7 combo guard who is headed to Mississippi State has found another gear. Against some of the nation's best talent in the Washington, D.C., area, the senior simply shined. Matharu scored in bunches and led Bishop McNamara to a 31-4 record and kept her team in the hunt for a national title until the end. Matharu's game has some similarities to Morgan William. Yep, the same Morgan William who led Mississippi State past UConn with a buzzer-beater in the NCAA national semifinals in 2017. Matharu does not yet have the defensive skills that William had, but she does have the skills to produce more on offense. She is elusive off the dribble, superb at scoring in traffic, and she can bury the deep jumper. No prospect in any class did more to improve her stock than Matharu did.
Angel Reese, No 2 prospect in 2020. The 6-foot-3 pick-a-position settles in right under UConn-bound Bueckers in the 2020 class. The undeclared star at Baltimore's St. Frances Academy competes with an edge that every college coach covets. Reese is a versatile prospect who can play numerous positions. She rebounds with the best of them and brings consistent tenacity to finish plays. She causes havoc in the paint and utilizes superb footwork, head fakes and ball fakes to throw off defenders. A ball handler in the open court? Yep, check that box too. Need more? She's got an infectious joy with her teammates that impacts games over and over again. Simply put, the undeclared Reese is a stud in the class of 2020.
Sakima Walker, No. 54 prospect in 2020. The 6-foot-4 post player starred alongside Tennessee-bound Jordan Horston during her high school season, leading Africentric (Columbus, Ohio) to a state title, an undefeated season and a No. 2 ranking in the final espnW 25 Power Rankings. Walker has added an array of offensive moves in the key to complement her superb shot-blocking prowess, which leads to countless fast-break opportunities. Still scratching the surface of her ability, coaches flock to front-court players who show glimpses of potential. With Walker, it may lead to bona fide stardom.
Olivia Miles, No. 2 prospect in 2021. The 5-foot-10 point guard at Blair Academy (Blairstown, New Jersey) inches up a spot, right below reigning Gatorade national player of the year Fudd. The electrifying Miles has superb court vision and passes with flair to complete plays. The pass-first point guard also is armed with a killer crossover. Although Miles seems wired to look for the assist and wants to share with teammates, she is also a formidable offensive threat who can knock down shots from beyond the 3-point line when they're needed.
Amiya Joyner, 2022 Watch List. The 6-foot-2 forward and pogo-stick leaper at Farmville Central (North Carolina) plays near the rim. Really. She has an explosive interior game that is on the runway preparing for takeoff. Still a bit unpolished offensively, Joyner uses her athleticism to star. She loves to block shots and defend the key, and she can simply jump over defenders in the post to stuff the stat sheet with offensive rebounds. She has all the tools to impact at the next level. And she's got a lot more time to sharpen them.