As the early signing period begins to close the books on the 2010 class, attention begins to shift to the junior class. What awaits the college coaches in the 2011 class is a plethora of dynamic swing players -- those that can play on both the inside and out on the perimeter.
The usual suspects already have begun raiding the cupboards as both Connecticut and Tennessee have commitments from the top two junior wings. In October, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Anaheim, Calif., gave her verbal commitment to the Huskies and gave head coach Geno Auriemma the top wing and No. 2 prospect in the class. Tennessee struck recruiting gold in early November with a pledge from Cierra Burdick of Charlotte, N.C., the No. 2 wing and No. 6 overall ranked player in the class.
The two players' unique abilities really epitomize the wing-forward heavy class. Mosqueda-Lewis, at 6 feet, is perhaps the most lethal long-range threat in the class but she is also a skilled operator with her back to the basket, playing with contact, and is a talented passer as well.
The 6-2 Burdick is also a multi-faceted offensive weapon with the athleticism and length to create a mismatch against anyone either by facing them up and going by them or bodying up a smaller defender inside. She has creative ability with the ball as well and the swagger of a top prospect.
But the versatile swing-player riches don't stop with those two prospects. In the Chicago-area fall viewing events both Morgan Jones and Eliza Normen showed continued development and backed up their ranking in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60.
Jones, a 6-2 wing from Altamonte Springs, Fla., played with a style that can be likened to former Stanford standout Nicole Powell. She is capable of playing all over the perimeter and an increase in assertiveness on the offensive end makes the No. 18 prospect even more impressive than the player on display this summer.
Normen, a 6-1 wing from Louisville, Colo., brings versatility as well. Her instincts and basketball IQ stand out while her height, length, and skill-set make her a dynamic player. If she adds strength to handle the stronger interior players she too will be a model swing-player.
The 2011 class's list of multi-position forwards continues with the likes of Kayla Brewer of Jacksonville, Fla.; Temi Fagbenle of London, England via the Blair Academy in New Jersey; Krystal Forthan of Portland, Ore.; Betnijah Laney of Clayton, Del.; Allyson Malott of Middletown, Ohio; Rachel Mitchell of Houston, Texas; Kacy Swain Temecula, Calif.; and Alexyz Vaioletama of Irvine, Calif.
The growth these players have shown to date make for an exciting crop. The versatility of the wing position will be the theme of the class as the depth in the post is, again, lacking in this class though it's not as light as the 2010 class.
Similar to the senior class, there is also a strong group of point guards and just like the wing players, two have already committed. Texas A&M landed Alexia Standish of Colleyville, Texas, and the No. 16 player in the class and Duke got an early verbal from Ka'lia Johnson of Chester, Va., and No. 55 in the class.
Don't be surprised if a few more of the nation's top juniors make early decisions this winter either. The trend of early commitments doesn't seem to be changing any time soon.
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.