PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
Amber Harris, a five-star forward prospect and one of the nation’s top seniors from North Central High School has signed a letter of intent to play her college ball at Xavier. Harris, a First Team Parade All-American originally committed to Purdue but changed her mind with the departure of head coach Kristy Curry.
Harris sent a buzz throughout the college recruiting world when she was rumored to be available along with her Indiana Family club team teammate D.D. Jernigan. Harris, Scout.com’s No. 4 player in the 2006 class, had teams across the country recounting their scholarships in hopes of landing her amazing talents.
At 6-foot-6, Harris has ability to play multiple positions and there wasn’t a coach in the country that wouldn’t have made room for her. Some consider Harris to be the most overall talented player in the Class of 2006, but her work ethic has been questioned. She appeared to clash with coaches at the McDonald’s All-American Game and did not see significant minutes in that showcase.
Harris also considered Rutgers. Jernigan, ranked No. 21 by Scout.com, has yet to decide where she will play next year
Riser from the Northwest
One of the West Coast’s top wing prospets, Alex Montgomery, 6-1, from Tacoma, Wash. has narrowed her final list to four, cutting Arizona, LSU, Pepperdine, Vanderbilt and Washington. The four-star 2007 prospect is down to Colorado, Oregon, UCLA and Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech appears to have connections in the Northwest. The Yellow Jackets signed Seattle-area star Jacqua Williams in 2005, and had Randi Richardson, one of the most prolific scorers in Washington state last year, on an official visit. They now look to get a commitment from one of the state’s most athletic players.
Montgomery, who burst on the recruiting scene last summer with the Y.E.S. Baden Elite club team is not content with her game. “I want to shoot more in games and be a 100-percent free throw shooter,” Montgomery said of the upcoming summer. “A lot of people on my high school team look up to me. I want to improve and be a leader.”
This summer she expects to show people she is an even better player than last year where she made her living slashing to the basket and using her athleticism. “I’ve worked on my jumper – my game will be better,” Montgomery said.
Her club team coach, Buck Buchanan, whose daughter, Lacale Pringle-Buchanan, is headed to Pepperdine this fall, is very impressed with her development this year. “She’s got a better understanding of the game now. You’ll see more leadership from her this year,” said Buchanan. “She’s improved her ballhandling a lot and she’s got a nice little mid-range pull-up jumper that she’s worked a lot on.”
Caitlin Hollifield, a 6-foot forward out of Powell High School in Powell, Tenn., has committed to Alabama. Hollifield was a Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state selection as a junior and two-time Street & Smith honorable mention All-American. … Updating a previous note, Collins Hill High School two-guard Jordan Jones rescheduled her unofficial visit to Vanderbilt to May 25, 2006. Her club team the adidas FBC finished second in the Georgia State AAU Championships on Mother’s Day Weekend, losing to Brittany Carter and the Georgia Nike Elite in double overtime. … Christina Nzekwe of Seattle, Wash., is a 6-4 forward prospect in the Class 2007 whose athleticism and versatility has attracted considerable attention. The hometown Washington Huskies have offered and Georgia Tech and LSU are said to be actively recruiting her. Buck Buchanon, her club coach, says, “Before she would only go after smaller players. Now she’s going over everyone, big and small. She’s a much different player than last year.”
… Several of the nation’s top young players – college underclassmen and high school seniors – are in Colorado Springs this weekend to try out for the USA Basketball U-20 team. Invitees include Demetress Adams of South Carolina / Bishopville, S.C.; Matee Ajavon of Rutgers / Newark, N.J.; Jolene Anderson of Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.; Morenike Atunrase of Texas A&M / Shreveport, La.; DeWanna Bonner of Auburn / Fairfield, Ala.; Sha Brooks of Florida / Jackson, Tenn.; KeKe Carrier of Auburn / Lake Charles, La.; Essence Carson of Rutgers / Paterson, N.J.; Rosalyn Gold-Onwude of Stanford / Queens, N.Y.; Alexis Gray-Lawson of California / Oakland, Calif.; Devanei Hampton of California / Oakland, Calif.; Jillian Harmon of Stanford / Lake Oswego, Ore.; Michelle Harrison of Mountain View High School / Sandy, Utah; JJ Hones of Southridge High School / Beaverton, Ore.; Danielle Hood of Hartford / Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.; Aarika Hughes of Southridge High School / Beaverton, Ore.; Tye Jackson of Houston / Houston, Texas; Erlana Larkins of North Carolina / Riviera Beach, Fla.; Victoria Lucas-Perry of Michigan State / Flint, Mich.; Dionne Marsh of New Mexico / Flower Mound, Texas; Renee Montgomery of Connecticut / St. Albans, W.Va.; Jené Morris of California / San Francisco, Calif.; Jordan Murphree of Brock High School / Weatherford, Texas; Marscilla Packer of Ohio State / Pickerington, Ohio; Ashley Paris of Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.; Courtney Paris of Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.; Allie Quigley of DePaul / Joliet, Ill.; Lindsay Schrader of Notre Dame / Bartlett, Ill.; Megan Skouby of Iowa of Mentor, Ohio; Amanda Thompson of Whitney Young High School / Chicago, Ill.; Kia Vaughn of Rutgers / Bronx, N.Y.; Ashley Walker of California / Modesto, Calif.; Marcedes Walker of Pittsburgh / Philadelphia, Pa.; Erica White of Louisiana State / Jacksonville, Fla.; Khadijah Whittington of North Carolina State / Roanoke, Va.; Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton of Purdue / Naperville, Ill., and Tamera Young of James Madison / Wilmington, N.C.
Chris Hansen is the National Director of Scouting for Women's Basketball at HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com. Chris leads the panel that evaluates and ranks girl's basketball prospects nationally for HoopGurlz, Scout.com and Full Court Press (www.FullCourt.com). Chris has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.