Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson announced that Jada Brown (Las Vegas), Dakota Gonzalez (Pocatello, Idaho), Dylan Gonzalez (Pocatello, Idaho), Caelynn Manning-Allen (Chicago) and Keyla Morgan (Rancho Dominguez, Calif.) each signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) Wednesday with KU during the early-signing period.
This KU recruiting class is ranked No. 14 nationally by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and first among Big 12 Conference schools. In addition, the recruiting class was also ranked No. 25 nationally by Blue Star Basketball.
“With three talented seniors in our program and a couple of extra scholarships that were available, we are excited about the (class of) five,” Henrickson said. “It needed to be a bigger class. It needed to be a class that could come in and contribute right away and we feel like we have five players who feel like they can come in and make a difference and are talented enough to come in and make a difference.”
Brown, from Centennial High School in Las Vegas, is a 6-foot forward. Rated as a three-star recruit by Hoopgurlz.com, Brown is also ranked No. 38 nationally by her position according to the recruiting site. She is coached by Karen Weitz on both her high school team and on the Las Vegas Bulldogs AAU squad. Brown has twice been named the Las Vegas Division I Player of the Year and first-team all-state, as well as being tapped the 2012 Gatorade State Player of the Year.
“Jada has been coached well and plays with her high school team during the summer, so she has had consistency there,” Henrickson said. “Another plus for Jada is how hard she competes and her competitive drive. She is a young lady who will come in as a four, we will want to swing to a three, but for her to immediately come in and play power forward and play in the middle of the floor.”
Brown led Centennial to a 29-3 record and a trip to the Nevada Class 4A semifinals last season, while averaging 13.5 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 assists. The 2012 Northwest League MVP, Brown was also the 2011 and 2012 Las Vegas Holiday Classic MVP and 2012 Las Vegas Review Journal Basketball Athlete of the Year.
The Gonzalez twins both stand at 6-feet tall and currently play guard at Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho. They are coached by Tony Green and own a 64-8 overall record as preps with a pair of third-place finishes at the state tournament and a fourth-place effort. The sisters also played together for Team Concept on the AAU circuit.
Last season, Dakota averaged 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.3 steals per game. The two-time first-team all-state selection also earned second-team all-state honors in 2010 as a freshman. Ranked No. 85 nationally by Blue Star Basketball, Dakota Gonzalez is also a three-star recruit according to Hoopgurlz.com and ranked No. 43 in the country among guards in this year’s recruiting class.
“Dakota and Dylan have a great pedigree as their mom, Angie Snider, was an honorable mention academic all-American (at Kansas), so the gene pool is good,” Henrickson said. “They are tough. They are competitive. They love to guard defensively and that is important to them. They take a lot of pride that offensively they are both very good and can put it on the floor and can space the defense.”
Dylan averaged 17.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 5.1 steals per game last season, while earning first-team all-state honors after receiving second-team all-state honors in 2011. Dylan, a three-star recruit according to Hoopgurlz.com and ranked No. 44 among guards, was also named the 2011 all-area player of the year. Together, the Gonzalez sisters were the 2012 Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year co-runner up and were also the 2012 all-area co-players of the year.
Manning-Allen, a senior at Curie High School in Chicago, Ill., is a 6-foot-4 forward who also played AAU for Team Meanstreets. Manning-Allen averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots per game at Curie last season. She also lettered two years in volleyball for the Condors.
“Caeylnn is long, lengthy and bouncy,” Henrickson said. “She is very skilled and has a similar face-up game to Aishah (Sutherland). She will play both positions, as we don’t play two players in the post. She’s got three-point range, she can put it on the floor and nice little pull-up jump shot, but she can score with her back to the basket over the right shoulder and the left shoulder.”
Manning-Allen earned first-team all-city and first-team all-conference last season and was the Chicago Public League Player of the Year. During the season, she was also named the most valuable player at the De La Salle Tournament. At the AAU 2012 Windy City Classic, Manning-Allen was named to the all-star team of her pool play. She was also recruited by Florida and Missouri.
Morgan, a 5-foot-8 guard from Rancho Dominguez, Calif., is a product of Long Beach Poly High School. She is coached by Carl Buggs and played for the Cal Sparks Gold AAU team, which is one of the top programs in the country. Morgan has been tabbed as a three-star recruit by Hoopgurlz.com and is rated as the No. 72 guard in the nation.
“Keyla is a very competitive and tough kid, who loves to guard,” Henrickson said. “She loves to get up and guard you and has been to camp the last couple of summers and we have probably known her the longest. She is a young lady who understands how to win and what it takes to compete every day for championships. She is surrounded by talented players and so she understands what it is like to be on the court with other talented players.”
Recruited by Arizona, San Diego State, Kentucky, Oregon State and Washington State, Morgan averaged 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a high school junior. She led the Jackrabbits to a 31-4 record last season.