Another top recruit has made what could be considered a surprising commitment.
Pittsburgh native Markel Walker, ranked No. 4 in the class of 2009 by ESPN HoopGurlz, will head to the opposite corner of the country for college, as she gave a verbal commitment to the UCLA program this weekend, NYC Gauchos club coach Earl Elliotte confirmed Sunday.
Walker is now the highest ranked player in the 2009 class to commit during her senior year. Top-ranked Brittney Griner committed to Baylor in 2007, while No. 2 Kelsey Bone and No. 3 Skylar Diggins are still undecided.
With Walker's verbal, first-year Bruins head coach Nikki Caldwell now has her second 2009 commitment, as the 6-foot-1 wing joins Colorado's Mariah Williams, who committed in early October, as Caldwell's first recruits.
Walker will likely make an immediate impact for Caldwell with her speed and drive to succeed on the court. She has the power and skill to finish in the paint and is nearly unstoppable when driving to the basket.
Walker, a senior at Schenley High School, initially committed to Pittsburgh as a junior, and then re-opened her recruitment in May, opening the door for Louisville, South Carolina and UCLA. She took her first official visit Sept. 20 to UCLA and then visited South Carolina the following week. She also took a visit to Louisville in October before choosing UCLA this weekend.
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Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and a barista at Starbucks, and grew up in Seattle, where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.