Lady Lions Ink Seven Players to Nationally-Ranked Recruiting Class
Nov. 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Penn State Lady Lion basketball coach Coquese Washington announced today that she has signed seven players to the 2013 recruiting class, which is ranked No. 6 by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 7 Blue Star Basketball. Guards Lindsey Spann (Laurel, Md./Good Counsel) and KeKe Sevillian (Goodrich, Mich./Goodrich), swing players Jenny DeGraaf (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro), Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson), Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett), forward Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio/Lorain Southview) and center Infiniti Alston (Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor) signed National Letters of Intent and will start their Lady Lion careers in 2013-14. The seven-player class is the largest in school history and includes six players that are in the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report Top 100.
"I am absolutely thrilled to add these young ladies to the Penn State family," Washington said. "It is an outstanding collection of some of the best talent the nation has to offer. This is a fantastic group of young women who also happen to excel on the basketball court. Collectively, they will be wonderful ambassadors for Penn State University and their on-court talent will allow us to continue to compete for championships for years to come."
"With this class we get size and skill at every position. What most excites me about this group is their upside. While individually each one comes in with strong skills and a track record of success, they are all gym rats, who will work hard to become better players in college. The sky is the limit for this class and they have high expectations for themselves. It is going to be a treat for Lady Lion fans to watch their growth and impact on the program during their time at Penn State."
Spann, who is the 22nd-ranked player by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and 88th-rated player by Blue Star Basketball, led Good Counsel, to the 2012 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Championship and became the first team in league history to finish with an undefeated record (18-0). The 5-6 guard averaged 15.0 points, 5.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds as a junior en route to first team All-WCAC honors. She was also a first team All-Gazette, All-Sentinel and All-DCSportsfan selection and was a second team All-Met honoree. Spann participated in USA Basketball's U16 Trials in May 2011. She played her AAU ball for the Maryland Lady Terps.
"Lindsey will be the next great point guard to suit up for the Lady Lions," Washington said. "She has all the tools to be a great player in college. She is a natural leader, who plays with tremendous poise and composure. She can shoot the outside shot and is outstanding at setting up her teammates for easy baskets. She is also a feisty defender. She tends to play best when the stakes are high, which will serve her well in Big Ten play."
Sevillian is a two-time All-State point guard, who led Goodrich High School in Michigan to their first-ever Class B State Championship in 2011-12 with a perfect 28-0 record. Sevillian, a 5-6 guard, is a three-time first team all-conference choice for the Martians, who averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 assists per game during her junior season. She also snatched 107 steals in 28 contests a year ago. For her career, Sevillian has 916 points, 237 assists, 283 steals and 130 blocks. Sevillian is also an outstanding track athlete, earning four varsity letters at Goodrich. She holds the school record in the 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash and finished second in the state championships in the 300-meters hurdles her freshman and sophomore seasons. She was unable to compete last season due to an injury. She played AAU ball for the Michigan Crossover.
"Keke is, to put it simply - fast," Washington said. "She is an outstanding defender and at times can be a one-man press. Her tenacious defense will give us more opportunities to get going in transition and play up-tempo. She is going to be one of the toughest defenders in the conference from day one. She is also a winner and will bring to Penn State that winning mentality and attitude."
DeGraaf, 87th-rated recruit by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, averaged 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game as she led Springboro to a 22-2 record. The 6-1 forward led the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) with a .548 field goal percentage and accounted for a .747 effort from the free throw line. DeGraaf was a first team All-GWOC, Dayton Daily News D-I All-Area team and first team Associated Press D-I All-Southwestern District honoree as a junior. Additionally, she garnered special mention All-Ohio accolades in 2011-12. As a sophomore, she averaged 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game en route to All-GWOC South Division first team honors. DeGraaf is also a standout volleyball player for Springboro. She played her AAU ball for Sports City U.
"Jenny is as skilled a player as we have ever had," Washington said. "She can put the ball in the hole with the best of them. She is also a tireless worker. In every facet of the game, Jenny puts forth maximum effort and that effort tends to result in positive plays for her team. She is a tough, physical player and that will be a strong complement to the other players on our roster."
Mitchell, who is the 54th-ranked recruit by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and 40th-ranked recruit by All-Star Girls Report, accounted for 12.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 4.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game as a junior for Stephenson High School. The 6-2 forward shot 46% from the field and 68% from the free throw line last season on her way to All-DeKalb County accolades. Mitchell is a two-time All-Metro third team honoree, an Atlanta Journal Constitution DeKalb County second team choice and honorable mention All-State selection. She played her AAU ball for the Georgia Hoopstars Black.
"One gift that Kaliyah has is competitive fire," Washington said. "She is a player who will battle continuously and she loves being physical. She is versatile and can play a variety of positions on the floor. She plays hard on both ends and just happens to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time to make impactful plays. She has a high basketball IQ and is relentless on the court. Her versatility is a wonderful luxury for us to have."
Whitted is the 71st-ranked recruit by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and 60th-ranked player by All-Star Girls Report after averaging 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for North Gwinett her junior season. The 6-2 forward guided the Bulldogs to their first state semifinal appearance since 1963 as she averaged a double-double in state playoff games (14.8 pts., 10.0 rebs.). She was a second team All-County selection by the Daily Post. In two seasons at North Gwinett, Whitted has 551 points, 279 rebounds and 89 steals. She also has experience on the national level, participating in USA Basketball's U16 Trials in May 2011.
"Peyton is a fantastic player," Washington said. "She has played high level basketball in Georgia for a lot of years and that should help her make the transition to Penn State basketball a fairly smooth one. She has tremendous skill for a player her size, which is really exciting. She can shoot from outside, is a dynamic passer, and has a good handle for her size. Peyton will give us length, size and shooting on the perimeter and will help stretch the defense for us. The cool thing about Peyton is she is so smooth when she plays. She really is fun to watch."
Harris, who is the 49th-ranked recruit by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and All-Star Girls Report, averaged a double-double for Lorain Southview in Ohio. The 6-3 forward tallied 12.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in 2011-12 as the Titans went 17-5. She also accounted for 5.0 blocks per game a year ago on her way to honorable mention All-State and first team All-County and All-District honors. She also earned honorable mention All-State accolades and first team All-Lorain County honors as a sophomore. In her freshman year, Harris was All-Lorain County first team and Lake Erie League first team while playing at Admiral King. In her high school career, Harris has 233 blocks and 741 rebounds as a defensive stalwart. She played her AAU ball for TNBA.
"Alex is an outstanding athlete and just a tremendous rebounder," Washington said. "She will help us replace Mia Nickson with her ability to get on the glass and score baskets in the paint. She is also a pretty good defender who is quite adept at blocking shots. Most importantly, Alex has a big upside and her best basketball is in front of her."
Alston is the 48th-ranked recruit by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and 96th-rated recruit by All-Star Girls Report. The 6-5 center averaged 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 assists for Digital Harbor High School as a junior. She was a member of the Philly Belles AAU squad last summer and played for Boo Williams' top team as a freshman in high school. Alston participated in Nike Skills Academy in 2011.
"We love post players here at Penn State and Infiniti is another post that is poised to have a wonderful career in college," Washington said. "Infiniti has soft hands, quick feet and knows how to get great position. Once she adjusts to the speed, quickness and physicality of the college game, Infiniti will be a force down low."
In reflecting on this class, Washington credited the work of her assistant coaches, led by recruiting coordinator Kia Damon. "Kia, Maren and Fred worked diligently to assemble this high-quality class," Washington said. "They understand the type of student-athletes it takes to be successful here at Penn State and the work they've put in to bring so many talented individuals to our program is really impressive. I am very fortunate to work with a team of exceptional coaches."
The Lady Lions travel to #15/13 Texas A&M tonight at 8 p.m. before returning home to face Lafayette on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. for Kids Day and YMCA Day. Kids will take over the BJC by partaking in various jobs on game day and the Lady Lions will host a kids clinic postgame for kids that register by emailing their information (names and ages) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, Nov. 17. YMCA members can show their card at the ticket office on game day and can get $5 off per ticket. Additionally, fans that show their ticket from the Penn State-Indiana football game will receive a buy one ticket, get one free offer for the day. The Lady Lions are also helping the Penn State football team Stuff the Blue Bus for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and will offer fans that bring a canned good to the game a $5 ticket.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale now. Tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are still available by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Season tickets are $99 for adults and $50 for youth (12 and under), this includes a Nittany Lion Kids Club Membership for 2012-13. The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions' Coaches Vs. Cancer game and the Lady Lions' Pink Zone game.
The 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 24 as the Lady Lions take on Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $203,000 to breast cancer causes. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org.
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