Moriah Jefferson unfazed by rumors

Moriah Jefferson won't let her size or the recruiting rumor mill slow her down. Glenn Nelson/ESPN.com

Nothing can be as wild and inaccurate as the rumor mill in college basketball recruiting. An unofficial visit here, a commitment at the same position there, or a friend committing to yet another school; those are just examples of things that folks latch on to and use to project what kids might do.

While losing is Moriah Jefferson's chief nuisance, the constant recruiting speculation on Twitter and message boards might be a close second for the 5-foot-6 point guard from Glenn Heights, Texas. Jefferson has heard from a lot of people about what she is going to do for college, and in reality, she's not figured it out yet. In fact, she hasn't really talked to anyone outside her family about what's going on in her mind.

The most frequent proclamation by these so-called experts is that Jefferson won't go to Baylor because Odyssey Sims is there.

"Honestly, I don't want anything given, I don't," Jefferson said. "The type of player I am, I like to work for it. People say I'm not going here, I'm not going there because of who they have; I'm not looking at any of that."

But having whittled her list down to Baylor, Connecticut and Texas A&M, it's pretty obvious Jefferson doesn't have a problem going to a program with elite guard talent.

"I know there's going to be people better than me so when I see them, that just motivates me to be better than them," Jefferson said.

Jefferson doesn't have to look far to find some top competition. Alexis Jones, the nation's highest ranked guard, is also located in the Dallas area.

"That's why I like playing against Alexis (Jones). She's a wonderful player; she's great. Whenever I see somebody like that it makes me want to compete more. It makes me want to get in the gym more. I want to be around players that are going to push me."

Jefferson also pushes herself by training with and against male players.

Jefferson has made unofficial visits to Baylor, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. She's has also strongly considered Kentucky and Tennessee. She said she plans on getting through the summer before making a decision.

"I'm a kid, I don't know what I want to do yet."

She knows so much can change and she looks at the coaching carousel as evidence to be patient in her decision. She's also savvy enough to know that on visits, a program puts its best foot forward, so she is studious in her research of the teams. She looks for player reactions and chemistry on the bench during games as well as how coaches interact with players and their assistants.

"I'm a fast-paced player and need to learn to slow down some but I'm really looking at (style of play) and family atmosphere. I'm really big on family atmosphere because I've grown up with my family, home-schooled, and that's all I know really."

Some may worry that the home-schooled player, ranked second in the ESPNU HoopGurlz Super 60 in the 2012 class, may struggle with the transition to life on a big college campus. But she's already working on making that adjustment by taking classes at a local junior college.

"Already, the college atmosphere is getting there," Jefferson added. "I'm learning how to react with other people instead of being by myself or with my siblings."

Jefferson is hoping to fulfill a promise she made to the late Marques Jackson. Jackson, who was the director of her DFW Elite program, died from a heart attack in April 2010. She promised him she would lead her team to a Nike Nationals title before she was done. That's where her focus is. The recruiting piece will fall into place when the time is right.


Brianna Butler, the 5-11 guard from Philadelphia, told ESPN HoopGurlz that she has taken unofficial visits to Georgetown, Syracuse, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, George Washington, and Duke. The junior at William Penn Charter School (King of Prussia, Pa.) plans to make a trip to Notre Dame before the summer season hits full swing. Heading into the April viewing period, she is ranked No. 8 in the 2012 class by ESPN HoopGurlz.

• Bria and Brianna Day, a pair of twin sisters and posts in the 2013 class, are making plans to take unofficial visits during their spring break, their Carolina All-Stars coach Ty Cox told ESPN HoopGurlz. Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and North Carolina State are among the schools they plan to visit. While it is still early in their process, Cox indicated that Tennessee, Connecticut, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Notre Dame are early favorites.

• Class of 2012 point guard Jasmine Jenkins told ESPN HoopGurlz that she has taken an unofficial to Georgia and plans on taking trips to Vanderbilt, Georgia State, and Auburn in the near future.

Keil Moore also contributed to this report.

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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. He is a member of the McDonald's All-American team selection committee. Hansen can be reached at chris.hansen@espn.com.