Texas A&M added a third piece to its budding recruiting class on Sunday when Kristi Bellock gave her verbal commitment to the Aggies and head coach Gary Blair.
Bellock, a 6-foot-1 swing player who is ranked No. 29 in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, is the highest ranked prospect to verbally commit to the Aggies to date. Previous commitments from 6-3 post Diamond Ashmore of Midwest City, Okla., and 6-0 wing Cierra Windham of Norco, Calif., who are ranked No. 48 and 98 respectively, make quite a class headed for College Station.
"I think Texas A&M is a really great school. I love what they are doing with their players and the program," Bellock said. "Coach Blair and Coach (Vic) Schaeffer I think (have) what it takes to get me to the next level."
Bellock is an extremely versatile player offensively with a plethora of back to the basket moves and fluid athleticism. She has enough handle to make that athleticism a weapon on the wing and projects as an effective player on the wing on the block in college.
"I can use a little more defense in my game and they can put the finishing touch on my offensive game as well," Bellock said. "So I think it's a good fit for me. I can't wait to get to the university to learn more about the school, the basketball program and myself at Texas A&M. Plus I look forward to seeing Texas A&M in the final four next year and when I get there."
Bellock made her oral commitment while on an official visit last weekend. She also made visits to Florida State, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, and South Carolina while considering offers from many others.
"What stood out to the family (were) Coach Blair and Coach Schaeffer," Bellock's mother, Marilyn, said, "where they are taking the school with the basketball program."
It's rare for an assistant coach to get public kudos for landing a recruit but for the Bellock family associate head coach Vic Schaeffer was the closer.
"He sealed it for me," Marilyn Bellock said of Schaeffer.
Bellock was selected the Gatorade Player of the Year for Louisiana last year as junior at John Curtis Christian High School and led the Patriots to an AA state championship. She has been showered with awards and accolades from the get go with three straight years of being selected as All-State, All-Metro and District MVP.
With the trio of recruits on board Blair's program looks to have the talent coming in to make a run at a final four by building on an Aggies team that advanced to the elite eight last season. They are also in the mix for two more highly ranked players, Kelsey Bone and Adrienne Pratcher.
Bone, a 6-5 post from Sugarland, Texas, is the highest ranked player yet to commit at No. 2 in the nation. She is considering Illinois, South Carolina and Texas in addition to the Aggies. Pratcher, a 5-7 point guard from Memphis, Tenn., is considering Arizona, Cal, Kentucky, Pepperdine as well as Texas A&M.
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Chris Hansen covers girls' high school basketball nationally for ESPN.com and leads the panel that ranks and evaluates players for the network. He is a graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.