Anyone who knows the Minnesota women's basketball scene will tell you that University of Minnesota coach Pam Borton is on a mission to close the borders of her state. Borton's staff has been on the trail hard to accomplish just that over the past two years. And she has managed to secure the state's top player for two years in a row -- first with class of 2011 point guard Rachel Banham and now Jackie Johnson who made her pledge early this week.
With talented in-state prospects such as No. 24 Rebekah Dahlman and No. 42 Nia Coffey coming up in the 2013 class, this is a positive trend for Borton and the Golden Gophers.
Johnson's commitment gives Minnesota a versatile forward with the ability to stretch the floor with her perimeter jumper. At 6-foot-2 Johnson, ranked No. 100 by ESPN HoopGurlz, has the size and skill to force opposing defenses to guard her all over the court.
-- Keil Moore
Agee Redux at Penn State
Earlier this week, Penn State coach Coquese Washington and her staff picked up a verbal from Branndais Agee, ranked No. 27 by ESPN HoopGurlz. The addition of Agee to Penn State's 2012 recruiting class gives them an ultra-athletic wing to pair with their other Agee, Candice Agee of Victorville, Calif. The Agee combo has the potential to vault Penn State up the recruiting class rankings as they continue to build upon their success on both the recruiting trail as well as during the season over the past couple of years.
Having the same last name isn't the only similarity that the two Agee's have in common: The future Penn State Nittany Lions were also two of the biggest risers of the most recent ESPN class of 2012 rankings. Candice Agee made the jump from unranked to No. 34 in the class of 2012, while Brandais Agee made an even bigger move from unranked to No. 27. After a summer basketball season that both Candice and Brandais managed to turn heads with their play, we expect them to make a similar splash early in their careers at Penn State.
-- Keil Moore
Complementary Pair for FSU
If the persistent talk of ACC expansion holds up, Florida State picked up a couple of verbal commitments this week to help strengthen their quest to stay at the top of the ultra-competitive league. Jakelle Gilchrist from Teaneck, N.J., and Shanae Armbrister out of Dania Beach, Fla., are a year apart in graduating class but similar in style of play. This summer at Real Deal in the 'Ville, both showed they should thrive in the Seminoles' uptempo system. The 5-9 Gilchrist is a four-star guard in the 2012 class who can defend on the ball and makes plays in the open floor. Currently ranked No. 51 in our Class of 2013 Super 60, Armbrister made a splash with her shot-making ability from the outside coupled with her willingness to serve as another option to handle the basketball in transition. At 6-1, she's a bigger wing who should complement Gilchrist well, not allowing opposing defenses to double the dribble drive or pinch down on post play either. Together they should help a Seminole program that has won the ACC title two of the last three seasons.
-- Brandon Clay
Fondren Goes Orange
On the topic of ACC expansion, Syracuse did more this week than announcing their decision to leave the Big East. The Orange also added one of the best available point guards in the country in Cornelia Fondren from Memphis, Tenn. Though she isn't a household name, there is no doubt amongst those who have seen her that she is a big-time prospect. The best word to describe the 5-7 point guard is fast. Ranked as our No. 73 prospect, the lefty will give coach Quentin Hillsman a different dimension with her speed in the open floor. She's just as good left to right, which should allow her to be a nice on-ball defensive option as well.
-- Brandon Clay
Alexis Carter to Hofstra: A legit 5-10 wing, Carter made a name for herself during a summer circuit where she played in events on both coasts. Her versatility, coupled with verbals from Sydni Epps and Asia Jackson, have Hofstra in a position to have arguably the top class in a Colonial League that has been home to Dawn Evans and Elena Delle Donne the past two seasons.
Ashlee Cole to High Point: Cole is a flat-out scorer. Her father, Steven, is her high-school coach and the swagger that the 5-8 guard exudes is a direct result of hours in the gym. That confidence and ability on the offensive end make her a tough matchup for opposing defenses. She'll provide an instant offensive threat for new head coach Jennifer Hoover and her staff.
Bre Elder to Dayton: For a program that has 2011 McDonald's All-American Allison Malott on campus and Class of 2013 Super 60 member Celeste Edwards already committed, Elder should serve as the glue kid in the backcourt on a talented roster. The 5-8 guard has all of the qualities that coaches look for. Her ability to attack the rim coupled with an energy level that allows her to make plays on both ends of the floor make the four-star guard a great option for coach Jim Jabir.
Tatianna Jackson to Chattanooga: Coach Wes Moore has made a living picking up players who are highly recruited then wind up choosing to bring their talents to the Southern Conference. Jackson is no different, turning down offers from Air Force, Cincinnati, James Madison and Providence to stay close to home. The 5-10, four-star forward watched her stock take off after a stellar summer. She's a hard-nosed, consistent perimeter option.
Keitra Wallace to Pepperdine: Like the aforementioned Elder, Wallace is player who has made a name for herself by being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. The 5-10 forward brings activity and energy to a Pepperdine class that already has two skilled players in Kelsey Brockway and Amanda Lovely. The three-star prospect's ability to create plays in traffic and rebound from either forward position makes her a potential instant rotation player in Malibu next season.
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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 email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.
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 or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.