The courtship of Malina Howard of Twinsburg, Ohio, now is down to Notre Dame and Maryland. Two weeks ago, Notre Dame played host to the prospect ranked No. 7 in 2012 by ESPN HoopGurlz. Now it's Maryland's turn, and it has an equally big weekend planned as the Terps are hosting their current Class of 2012 commitments, including four-star guard Chloe Pavlech and No. 22 Tierney Pfirman.
Brenda Frese and her staff also will welcome a couple of Top 20 Class of 2013 players to College Park this weekend, including No. 17 Alexis "Lexie" Brown and No. 3 Diamond DeShields.
Brown pledged to the ACC program last June while DeShields still is on the fence. Pavlech and Howard played on the same Sports City summer team while Brown has a previous relationship with Howard after previous trips to Maryland for unofficial visits. Throw in the unofficial visit from the uber-athletic DeShields and this has the potential to be a major weekend for Maryland.
Over the past three years, No. 13 Brianna Butler, now of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been a mainstay on the Exodus NYC top team that is widely considered to be one of the best in the country. This fall, the 5-foot-11 guard left Penn Charter and transferred to Nazareth Academy, a school coached by Exodus NYC program director Apache Paschall and located in the New York City area. Just this week, she released her college list that consisted of four finalists: Kentucky, Ohio State, Penn State and Syracuse. She's already been to Penn State and this week will visit Ohio State. As the early signing period approaches, Butler doesn't seem close to a decision, but this much is sure: Whatever she does will greatly impact the HoopGurlz class rankings.
After visiting North Carolina two weekends ago, Xylina McDaniel of Columbia, S.C., is visiting border rival South Carolina this weekend. The 6-1 power forward's aggressive play in the paint for Spring Valley High was a major factor in her high school winning back-to-back state titles. Her high school teammate, No. 88 Asia Dozier, already has verballed to the SEC school. Head coach Dawn Staley is hoping the local product will join her school teammate and in the process bring the Gamecocks the same success. On that end, both Dozier and No. 46 Tiffany Mitchell from Charlotte, N.C., will join McDaniel on her visit.
Just outside of the Top 100, Tiaria Griffin, a four-star shooting guard from Monticello, Miss., is visiting Georgia for "Gameday in Athens." The 5-8 scorer has been to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Providence over the past three weekends on official visits. Her ability to make shots from all over the floor for her South Mississippi Elite travel team made her a hot commodity after the July evaluation period. If the Bulldogs were to get the scoring guard, it would help solidify the Top 20 class headlined by Marjorie Butler.
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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 or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.
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 or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.