Jadda Buckley, the No. 53 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz Super 60 for 2013 and the next standout from a small but quality crop of players from Iowa, proved over the summer that she can more than hold her own against elite competition.
But what makes the 5-foot-8 combo guard noteworthy is that she has decided to stay in-state.
In the 2011 class, Kiah Stokes, the No. 42 player from Marion, Iowa, and Taylor Greenfield, the No. 31 player from Huxley, have left the Heartland for Connecticut and Stanford, respectively. The class of 2012 has a similar feel as Maddie Manning, the No. 33 prospect from Ankeny, has decided to play her college basketball at Oklahoma.
Over the summer, Buckley emerged as a top-shelf guard and became a major target for Iowa State. Coach Bill Fennelly and his staff accomplished their goal this week when the hard-nosed perimeter threat gave her verbal pledge to stay close to home and play her college basketball in Ames.
Buckley had strong interest from a number of national level programs, including UCLA and Ohio State. Buckley's decision to stay home gives Iowa State a good amount of momentum as the Cyclones continue to work on two strong classes in the state of Iowa -- both the class of 2013 and 2014 have a number of BCS-level prospects.
-- Keil Moore
Diamond for Notre Dame
After Malina Howard, the No. 7 prospect in 2012, picked Maryland over Notre Dame, Irish coach Muffet McGraw and her staff went back to the drawing board looking to add quality post play to their roster in the upcoming years. Last year's NCAA national runners-up did just that as they picked up Diamond Thompson, a 6-4 post rated as the seventh-best center in 2013, out of Lombard, Ill. In the class of 2012, Notre Dame did an excellent job of adding depth on the perimeter with the additions of Jewell Loyd of Lincolnwood, Ill., Michaela Mabrey of Holmdel, N.J., and Hannah Huffman of Concord, Calif., a class widely regarded to be top-five nationally. Look for the Irish to continue to add to their frontcourt depth as the 2013 class grows in number, but the addition of Thompson is a great way for them to start.
-- Keil Moore
Late early-signing period winners
Georgia: With a solid four-player recruiting class already in hand, Georgia coach Andy Landers scored the scorer that his program was waiting for in Tiaria Griffin from Monticello, Miss. At 5-8, the dynamic scorer is effective off the dribble or off the catch from as far away as 23 feet. A four-star guard, Griffin is a legitimate difference-maker on the offensive end. The Bulldogs will combine Griffin's scoring ability with a class full of talent that brings everything else -- defense, heart, passing, size and strength -- to the table.
-- Brandon Clay
Texas: Any time a program can pick up the No. 10 player in a class, they've had a great week. That's exactly what Gail Goestenkors and her staff did landing in landing bona fide post threat Imani Stafford of Los Angeles on Monday to close out their early class. Due to injuries, Stafford hasn't been able to play at as many key events as some of the other top prospects. But the 6-7 center has played enough to show glimpses of a prospect who four years from now could be an All-American. As if getting Stafford weren't enough, the Longhorns' staff would be wise to walk down to the volleyball office and see if they can convince No. 78 Sara Hattis from Santa Fe, N.M. to join them after volleyball season ends next December. This week, Hattis chose to play volleyball as her primary sport in college in Austin.
-- Brandon Clay
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights started off the signing period with a verbal from No. 8 Rachel Hollivay from Columbus, Miss., and finished with a bang, picking up No. 17 Kahleah Copper of Philadelphia, Pa. The two top-20 commits bookend another verbal pledge from No. 75 Ariel Butts of Columbus, Ga., giving the Scarlet Knights a remarkable finish to close out the class of 2012. Add in the verbal from Precious Person, and Rutgers probably gets a top-five recruiting ranking to boot.
-- Brandon Clay
South Carolina: Gamecocks coaches Dawn Staley and Nikki McCray are going to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2012 class. They also did a stellar job of recruiting a 2012 class that could very well go down in South Carolina history. Before the early signing period got under way, they already had pledges from two top 100 prospects -- No. 46 Tiffany Mitchell of Charlotte, N.C., and No. 88 Asia Dozier of Columbia, S.C. Adding a second in-state product this week, No. 40 Khadijah Sessions of Myrtle Beach, S.C., only enhances what is shaping up as a signature class for a program looking to elevate into the top third of the SEC. Sessions gives them a dynamic point guard who can create scoring opportunities for Mitchell and Dozier.
-- Brandon Clay
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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.