We let men's basketball have their moment in the moonlight Wednesday night but it was also national signing day for women's basketball as well so...
Maryland's 2014 roster is full and talented with only one senior - redshirt guard / forward Laurin Mincy. On Wednesday, Coach Brenda Frese received national Letters of Intent from only two players - 6'3" forward Brianna Fraser and 6'2" forward Kiah Gillespie. So strong are these two players that they give the coach her tenth top ten recruiting class in her 13 years at Maryland. UCLA is the only other school in the top ten with fewer than three recruits in the class. For Maryland, the 2015 class is about quality, not quantity.
Before we take a look at the Terrapins' incoming class of 2015, we'll note the other schools on the top ten list. And, if you think it's a case of...
you'd be more or less right. Here are the top ten classes:
|Ranking||Team||Total Recruits||Five Star|
Other Big Ten schools landing in the top 20 were Penn State (11), Michigan (15), and Iowa (18).
Meet Brianna Fraser
Fraser is a 6'3" forward from Brooklyn's South Shore High School. She is rated the number 15 player overall by ESPN and ranked third at her position. Fraser is reported to be extremely athletic and have an explosive first step that will make her a difficult match-up. Here is how ESPN describes her:
Ultra-athletic faceup-4 with explosive footwork, first-step attack; hangs, draws contact, finishes in traffic; extremely active on glass; among the elite frontcourt performers in the nation and a mismatch nightmare for opponents.
And here is what Coach Frese has to say:
"Bri can do things a lot of taller girls simply can't. She will amaze our fans with some of her moves and agility. She's potentially a monster rebounder and she could be one of the best shot-blockers we've ever recruited. Watching how her game has grown since the first time we saw her has been phenomenal to see. We plan on continuing that trend here and her potential is tremendous.
"A neat little tidbit is that Bri's parents immigrated to the United States from Guyana in South America. That's the same place Crystal Langhorne's family came from. Bri's dad was a professional cricket player on the international level. When you watch Bri do some things on the court, it's not a surprise she inherited some amazing ability."
In addition to being a stellar basketball player who led her Brooklyn team to the Public School Athletic League championship game as a sophomore, Fraser competed in volleyball and was recruited by several Division 1 programs. In yet another demonstration of her versatility, she has also been a competitive fencer.
Meet Kiah Gillespie
The 2013 Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior, ESPN rates Gillespie who attends Meriden Prep, as the 25th best player in the class of 2015. From ESPN's description and the highlights you'll see below, Gillespie gives every appearance of being the sort of versatile and athletic player that Frese vigorously pursues. Per ESPN, Gillespie is,
Agile, versatile faceup-4 prospect with a scorer's mentality; handles in transition, finishes plays on break; reads and breaks down defender, elevates with soft touch in mid-range game; physical in block, competes on glass; among the elite scoring forwards in the nation.
Gillespie put up some impressive numbers as a junior when she averaged 22.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals and two blocks per game. She needed less than three years to reach 1,00 points for her high school career.
How does her future coach see her?
"Kiah fits the mold of players we've had tremendous success with - she's big, agile, skilled and can play either on the perimeter or in the paint. Kiah oozes confidence, which is something I love. She can also do something else I really value, which is put the ball in the basket at a high rate.
"Kiah has led her teams to a lot of success. She's a real match-up problem for opponents, because at her size, she can play positions 1 through 4 on the floor. She can shoot from the perimeter, run the offense and set teammates up with terrific passes. She's really been raised well by her coaches, which happen to include her mom and dad. In fact, when you watch her, it's not surprising at all that she grew up with coaches as parents. She has a feel for the game that is uncommon."
While I couldn't locate a highlight for Brianna Fraser, I did find one of Gillespie. So, for those among who like to look at such material, I give you this:
On behalf of Testudo Times, I'd like to extend Brianna and Kiah an early and warm welcome to the Terrapins family.