Stars make break for campus visits

Je Zhe Newton is one of the highest ranked players in the 2012 class to sign during the spring period. Courtesy of GSB Hoops

Going into the late signing period Je Zhe Newton of Chandler (Ariz.) was the only player in the ESPN HoopGurlz top 100 who had yet to make a college decision. This week Newton made a pledge to sign with Georgia Tech shortly after she took an official visit to the ACC school. The addition of the 6-foot-3 Newton to Georgia Tech's 2012 class provides the Yellow Jackets with the legitimate post presence that they needed in this class.

With the departure of four-year starting center Sasha Goodlet, who should be one of the names called next week in the WNBA draft, Georgia Tech needed to add a post player who could step in and fill some of the void. Newton has the potential to be a great fit in Atlanta, as she is an athletic big who should adapt well to Georgia Tech's uptempo style of play. Adding another top-100 prospect to a class that is already ranked 11th in the country gives Georgia Tech a very good chance of leaping into the top 10 of the class rankings when they are finalized later this spring.

Mercedes Russell Targets the East ... Plus USC

Any time the No. 1 overall prospect in a class makes an adjustment to her list it is certainly newsworthy. The fact that Springfield, Ore.-based Mercedes Russell has made the decision to neglect the majority of the West Coast schools that were vying for her services is noteworthy as well. Earlier this week the 6-5 post player released a list of her final 10 schools, which include Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Georgia, USC, Duke, North Carolina, LSU and Baylor.

Russell has made the decision that staying in PAC-12 country isn't as attractive of an option as leaving home to play her college basketball. USC could possibly be a major wildcard as it is the school closest to home that remains on her list. Russelll plans to make all five official visits next fall so don't expect a decision on a final destination anytime soon.

Erica McCall Visits Storrs

Earlier this year Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma made a visit to Bakersfield, Calif., to see the ESPN HoopGurlz No. 16-ranked prospect Erica McCall play a high school game. This week McCall returned the favor and made a trip to Storrs, Conn., for an unofficial visit at the Big East school. UConn has been actively pursuing power forwards in the 2013 class for some time now. The Huskies have made that position a priority in this class as they have gone after Taya Reimer, Stephanie Muvunga and Erica McCall. It's unclear whether they will look to add just one power forward in the 2013 class or if they will look to add multiples at that position. In addition to Reimer, Muvunga and McCall, UConn has also expressed interest in Diamond DeShields and Linnae Harper.

Range Unofficials to Cal

This weekend Courtney Range of Stockton, Calif., will be on campus at California for an unofficial visit. Range, who is one of three players from northern California in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60, will be a primary recruiting target for Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb as she and her staff prepare to put their first recruiting class together at Cal. If they can close down the Bay and keep Range and the Bishop O'Dowd duo of Kendall Waters and Oderah Chidom home they will be in great shape for the class of 2013 landing three local products who are also some of the best prospects in the country.

Johnson Follows Johnson to Wisconsin

Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey is in just her first calendar year at her new school and she has already set the tone for the future on the recruiting trail. After signing a solid 2012 class, Kelsey reached into Chicago to pick up a verbal commitment from Malayna Johnson, the sister of then UConn sophomore Michala Johnson. Earlier this week Michala decided to leave UConn and transfer to Wisconsin, where she will join her younger sister. The sisters will give Kelsey a nice combination of athletic post players to go with the guards that she signed in the 2012 class.

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