Women's Basketball Lands One of the Nation's Top Recruiting Classes
|2011 Aggie Women's Basketball Signing Class|
|Chelsea Jennings||Wing||5-10||Forth Worth, Texas||North Crowly|
|Jordan Jones||G||5-6||DeSoto, Texas||DeSoto|
|Curtyce Knox||G||5-7||Humble, Texas||Atascocita|
|Peyton Little||Wing||6-0||Abilene, Texas||Wylie|
|Courtney Walker||Wing||5-8||Edmond, Oklahoma||Edmond Santa Fe|
|Courtney Williams||F/G||6-1||Houston, Texas||North Shore|
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – For the fourth straight year, the Texas A&M women’s basketball program landed one of the top recruiting classes in the nation with the signing of six top-rated high school prospects who will join the nationally-ranked Aggies for the 2012-13 season as announced by head coach Gary Blair on Wednesday.
Coming off the program’s first national championship and a school-record 33-5 campaign, Blair and his coaching staff welcome A&M’s heralded recruiting class that was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, Premier Basketball Report and All-Star Girls Report. The Aggies welcome 5-foot-10 wing Chelsea Jennings from Fort Worth, Texas, 5-foot-6 point guard Jordan Jones from DeSoto, Texas, 5-foot-7 combo guard Curtyce Knox from Humble, Texas, six-foot wing Peyton Little from Abilene, Texas, 5-foot-8 wing Courtney Walker from Edmond, Okla., and 6-foot-1 forward/guard Courtney Williams from Houston.
“Kelly Bond, our associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, along with associate head coach Vic Schaefer and assistant coach Johnnie Harris have worked hard for four years putting this class together and it will be our highest recruiting class ever,” Blair said. “Winning the national championship has definitely helped with recruiting, but most of our signees were committed to A&M beforehand. Thanks to my staff they have found the replacements that will keep our program going forward for years to come.
“All six of these young ladies have been friends, summer AAU teammates or competed against each other. Four of the six won a national championship with the DFW Elite club team this past summer. They all have attended summer camps at A&M where friendships started, families bonded and they saw how they would fit into A&M academically, socially and with the Aggie way of basketball.
“Each young lady brings something different to our team. They are long, athletic, quick and natural leaders for their high school teams. They were sold on what academics could do for them at A&M and are all looking forward to the challenges that the SEC will give us next year.”
Rated the No. 7 overall prospect in the state by Premier Basketball Report and No. 34 nationally in her class by All-Star Girls Report, Jennings is a member of the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Watch List. She averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 3.0 assists and 0.9 blocks per game as a junior at North Crowley High School while shooting 48 percent from the floor. Jennings led her team to a 32-4 overall record and was named the District 4-5A Offensive Player of the Year by the Dallas Morning News. She was also an Academic All-District selection last season. Jennings plays for the DFW Elite club program and chose Texas A&M over Baylor, Kentucky and Tennessee.
“Chelsea is the complete package for a wing player,” Blair said. “She scores in traffic, shoots the three and has the ability to defend at the 2 or 3 spot for us like Tyra White. She was slowed by an eye injury this summer, but well be in top form for her senior year.”
Rated the No. 3 point guard and the No. 14 overall prospect in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, Jones is another selection on the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Watch List. As a junior, she led DeSoto High School to the Class 5A regional semifinals and a 32-6 overall record with an average of 14.5 points and 6.3 assists per game. Jones is part of a line of DeSoto guards that includes current A&M player Sydney Carter and former great Lisa Branch. Jones also plays for the DFW Elite club team and chose Texas A&M over Baylor, Kansas, Tennessee and Texas Tech.
“Jordan is explosive, quick and has the ability to see the floor well,” said Blair. “She will impact our ability to run in transition and create opportunities for our wings and posts.”
Rated the No. 11 combination guard in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 37 nationally in her class by All-Star Girls Report, Knox was the District 14-5A Most Valuable Player as a junior at Atascocita High School. She averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 assists and 3.0 steals per game for the 33-6 Eagles and will be reunited with her high school teammate and current A&M center Rachel Mitchell. Knox is another player from the DFW Elite club program and chose Texas A&M over Kansas, TCU and LSU.
“Curtyce is a young lady coming off a summer ACL injury,” Blair said. “She has rehabbed well and will be a force in leading her team to the playoffs this year. She scores off the bounce, is a great penetrator and a leader.”
Rated the No. 8 guard in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 24 nationally in her class by All-Star Girls Report, Little is the third Aggie signee named to the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Watch List. She averaged 23.4 points per game last season at Wylie High School and increased that to 31 a game during a postseason run that ended in a Class 3A state title. Little scored a 3A-record 43 points in the championship game. As a junior, she shot 53.7 percent from the floor, 32.1 percent from beyond the arc and 78.4 percent from the free-throw line. She also runs track and made it to the state track meet as a freshman and also finished third at regionals. Little comes from an athletic family as her father and two uncles each played Division I basketball. She plays for the Cy-Fair Nike Elite club program, where current Aggie guard Alexia Standish played, and chose Texas A&M over Texas, Baylor and Connecticut.
“Peyton is a wing player with great length and versatility to play multiple positions,” said Blair. “She comes from a basketball family where her dad played at Texas Tech and is in the Hall of Fame, and her uncles played at Oklahoma and Baylor. She shoots the three very well and understands the game.”
Rated the No. 1 overall prospect from the state of Oklahoma and the No. 7 wing in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz, Walker is the fourth A&M signee selected to the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Watch List. She averaged 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds last season at Edmond Sante Fe High School where she led her team to the 2011 Class 6A State Championship and the 2011 Texas A&M Team Camp Championship. She earned honorable mention all-state honors as a sophomore and also competes in the high jump in track and field. Walker plays for the DFW Elite club team and chose Texas A&M over Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.
“The Oklahoma tradition continues with Courtney and she will fit right into our defensive scheme,” said Blair. “We lose 5-foot-6 Sydney Carter and insert 5-foot-8 Courtney Walker who attacks well, rebounds well and plays defense with the best of them.”
Rated the No. 1 wing and the No. 9 overall prospect in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, Williams is A&M’s fifth signee that is a member of the 2012 McDonald’s High School All-America Watch List. She averaged 16.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a junior and is a three-year starter at North Shore High School. Williams was the District 21-5A’s newcomer of the year as a freshman and earned all-district honors as a sophomore, helping the 28-6 Mustangs reach the regional quarterfinals. She was the only sophomore on the Houston Chronicle’s five-player All-Greater Houston team. Williams plays for the Houston Elite club team and chose Texas A&M over Stanford, Baylor, Tennessee and Texas.
Other Houston Elite players that signed with Blair at A&M were Morenike Atunrase, A’Quonesia Franklin, Patrice Reado, La Toya Micheaux, Damitria Buchanan and current A&M players Kelsey Bone, Karla Gilbert and Rachel Mitchell.
“Courtney might be most versatile player we have ever signed at A&M,” Blair said. “She was the first player to commit in the class and was very instrumental in helping sign her future teammates. With her height and length she can play 1 through 4 and we’re looking forward to the matchup she can create. She is the highest-rated guard to ever sign with the Aggies.”
Last year the Aggies singed the third-best recruiting class in the country with the addition of 6-foot-7 center Rachel Mitchell (Houston, Texas), 5-foot-10 guard Tori Scott (Marrero, La.) and 5-foot-8 guard Alexia Standish (Colleyville, Texas.)
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT TEXAS A&M’S SIGNEES
“Texas A&M landed another great class this year. They reloaded and got everyone they wanted. With this class they won’t have any drop off; they will just keep going with the high-caliber of basketball they are accustomed to. The SEC is in trouble and at minimum A&M should be competing for an SEC title every year.”
- Brett McCormick, All-Star Girls Report
“Gary Blair and his staff are again wizards. A&M is coming off a fabulous season last year and staying in state with virtually all their signees except Courtney Walker. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with regards to Texas basketball talent. They’ve signed six players who can virtually play anywhere in the backcourt and who have size, speed, athleticism and defensive aggressiveness – all that lead them to doing what they do – playing tremendous defense. This class is predicated on that. My hat goes off to Coach Blair and his staff. Moving conferences won’t make any difference for A&M. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he’s knocking down the door to another national championship soon.”
- Dan Olson, The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report
“Recruiting and ultimately signing elite players is tough with so many great programs in the sport today. Signing six players in a class is also a difficult task. Putting the two together, signing six players in the top 100 in the same class is incredibly rare. This class brings a lot of interchangeable parts to the program which should allow the coaching staff to mix and match lineups and be tough to scheme for.
- Chris Hansen, the National Director of Prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz
“Texas A&M has done a remarkable job in recruiting over the past five years, but this year they have outdone themselves. Gary Blair and his staff have reloaded with awesome young talent. Texas A&M fans could have another national championship team coming down the pipe. Do not count them out this year either, for a repeat is a real possibility.”- Joey Simmons, Premier Basketball Report