When it comes to recruiting, a lot of emphasis is placed on official visits and phone calls, But for the University of Texas, recruiting was kicked into high gear this weekend after the all-important elite camp.
Yesterday ESPN HoopGurlz broke the news that Peyton Little, the standout combo guard from Abilene, Texas, gave her verbal commitment to the Longhorns while at UT Camp. Tuesday the news got even better for Gail Goestenkors and her staff. UT added three prospect commitments: one from the 2011 class and two from the 2013 class. Even better is that all three hail from the Lone Star state.
Ronisha Major, the 6-foot-1 forward from Huntsville, Texas, is ranked No. 56 in the 2011 class according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
Major originally made a soft-verbal to Kansas three weeks ago but was always interested in staying closer to home.
"She had verbally committed to Kansas but her heart was in Texas," her KC Select club team director, Earnest Jones, said.
Besides Kansas, it came down to Texas and Texas A&M. After a strong showing at the elite camp this weekend the Longhorns extended the offer and Major jumped at the opportunity to play less than two hours from her hometown.
"She gave everything she had and played for that scholarship there," Jones said of her performance at the UT Elite.
"When I went up there I was nervous, really nervous," Major said of her trip to Austin. "But I did pretty good and they realized I was what they needed."
Majors said point-blank that her nerves were a direct result of not having an offer coming in.
"I knew I had to play (well) to get the offer," Major said, "because every time they came to my games in high school I didn't play well."
Consistency is a problem Major is well aware of in her game. Though her commitment is out of the way she still feels pressure to live up to her commitment as well as earn some points with McDonald's All-American voters.
"When I miss a shot I get mad at myself," Majors said of what triggers her inconsistency, "it's downhill from there. I'm trying to talk to myself out there."
Peoples, a 5-foot-6 point guard, was selected to the USA Basketball U18 National Team that is competing this week in the FIBA Americas Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. She is the No. 21 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100. Sanders is a player with good size for the perimeter and a nice shooting stroke.
But the news for the Longhorns did not stop as two 2013 prospects from Cedar Hill High School both decided to commit. Jada Terry and Candice Adams have been playing basketball together since the second grade and that link will continue for the next seven years as the two complete high school and college together.
Both Adams and Terry play club basketball for DFW Elite and both had the same final two schools, Baylor and Texas. Adams also considered Texas A&M; Terry grew up an LSU fan.
Their reasons for picking Texas were common in many respects. Both felt a connection with the coaches and the atmosphere and both wanted to be relatively close to home.
"(Goestenkors) is very nice. She wants the best for everybody," Terry said. "She is the type of coach to get on you but she doesn't show favoritism."
"When I first shook (assistant) coach (Ronald) Hughey's hand, it just felt right," Adams said.
"I talked to Tiff," Adams said. "She was kind of giving me a few words of encouragement and she was telling me why Texas was a good place for her."
With this quartet of commitments the Longhorns have a big jump on recruiting over the next few years. Goestenkors & Co. could sign another two prospects in the 2011 class. One of those targets is Nneka Enemkpali, who verbally committed but reopened her recruitment this spring. She is still considering Texas.
Little is the first player pledge burnt orange in the 2012 class and the Cedar Hill duo of Adams and Terry are the first commits from the 2013 class.
Jones also cited possible commitments from two twins from Quebec that were at camp. There is some question as to what class they could fall into because high school in Quebec ends at grade 11 but has an extended two-year program through grade 13 for college-bound students. It may be some time before it is clear if they will be in the class of 2012, after completing grade 11, or if they will be in the class of 2015 following completion of grade 13.
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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 email@example.com