Among women's college-basketball prospects, this past summer was a good one if your surname was Agee.
It especially was good if your first name was Branndais (pronounced: Bran-dee) because you had such an outstanding summer with the Michigan Crossover, you jumped from unranked to No. 27 in the re-ranked ESPN HoopGurlz Class of 2012 prospects. It was almost as good if your first name was Candice because your skills became so evident during a summer with West Coast Premier that you jumped from unranked to No. 34 overall.
The first four in the final ranking of high-school senior prospects remains unchanged. Breanna Stewart of North Syracuse, N.Y., holds down the No. 1 spot, which she has done from start to finish; Moriah Jefferson of Glenn Heights, Texas, stays at No. 2; Alexis Jones of Irving, Texas, remaining at No. 3, and Jewell Loyd of Lincolnwood, Ill., our Best Player of Summer, finishing at No. 4. Bashaara Graves of Clarksville, Tenn., jumps from No. 9 to No. 5.
Branndais Agee of Detroit, Mich., was a prospect whom we deemed earlier had elite-level athleticism. She is long and explosive. But this past summer, she put all the pieces together, showing the ability to operate on the boxes, as well as the perimeter, and having an impact on the glass and on defense with her hops and work ethic.
The situation was similar for Candice Agee of Victorville, Calif., who demonstrated potential early on as a legitimate, 6-foot-6 post prospect. As in the past, she spent the summer as one of the circuit's top defensive deterrents. Her growth as a player came with increased balance and physical play, and the upside showed mainly at the offensive end, where she finished more consistently with both layups and baby-hook counters.
There are 14 other newcomers to the rankings, in addition to the two Agees. The others include Jamie Weisner (No. 41) of Clarkston, Wash.; Caprice Dennis (No. 47) of Detroit, Mich.; Morgan Batey (No. 54) of Atlanta, Ga.; Lauren Holiday (No. 65) of Chatsworth, Calif.; Keyona Hayes (No. 67) of Austell, Ga.; Shilpa Tummala (No. 68) of Phoenix, Ariz.; Precious Person (No. 69) of Rex, Ga.; Sandra Udogbi-Ofogu (No. 74) of Columbus, N.J.; Sara Hattis (No. 78) of Sante Fe, N.M.; Samantha Siegner (No. 92) of Albany, Ore.; Brianna Barrett (No. 95) of Winnetka, Calif., and Jackie Johnson (No. 100) of Eden Prairie, Minn.
Others making noteworthy jumps were Imani Stafford of Los Angeles, Calif., who in spite of an injury that knocked her off the USA Basketball U19 squad, improved her stock from No. 17 to No. 10. One of the more versatile players in the class, Brittney Martin of West Point, Utah, jumped from No. 35 to elite, top-20 status at No. 18. Maddie Manning of Ankeny, Iowa, leapt from No. 92 to No. 33 and Jonquel Jones of Ellicott City, Md., went from No. 94 to No. 36.
From a college-program standpoint, Connecticut already has a sizeable advantage in this class. The Huskies have commitments from the Nos. 1 and 2 prospects, Stewart and Jefferson, as well as No. 15 Morgan Tuck of Bolingbrook, Ill. Texas A&M challenges with an overwhelming number of ranked guards, including No. 9 Courtney Williams of Houston, Texas; No. 14 Jordan Jones of DeSoto, Texas; No. 29 Peyton Little of Abilene, Texas; No. 31 Courtney Walker of Oklahoma City, Okla.; No. 45 Chelsea Jennings of Fort Worth, Texas and No. 72 Curtyce Knox of Humble, Texas.
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ESPN HoopGurlz Rankings Panel
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.
Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously wrote a column for the website about her experiences as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A graduate of Seattle University and Columbia University, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.