Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mikayla Bailey 1st Gopher Women's Recruit for 2012; Doolittle to Iowa

2012 could be a crucial class for the Gophers, as 4 seniors will be leaving the program that year--Kiara Buford, the Masteys and Jackie Voigt. And yet 2012 is not regarded as a particularly strong Minnesota high school class. All the buzz of late has been directed toward 2013.

So it's a bit of a shock that the Gophers' 1st 2012 is the #21 rated player in the gPrep ratings found at www.gprep.net (then click "Ratings").

EDIT 12-1-10: Not to mention, it is a complete shock to hear Bailey say that Borton and the Gophers told her that she was the only 2012 they (the Gophers) were after. Four seniors (Buford, the Mastey twins, and Voigt) will graduate in 2012. Is Borton really going to sit on 3 scholarships for a year? Granted, the 2013s are very highly regarded. But, is it just me who thinks the 2012s are pretty good, too? Bailey plays summer ball for North Tartan, and her summer teammate Marissa Janning (of Watertown-Mayer) has been more highly regarded, not to mention Tessa Cichy of Hill-Murray. These are just the guards. But more to the point, a freshman class of Bailey only means a roster of just 10 players. Chances are the Gophers will end up plugging a gap on an emergency basis with a junior college player. Why not stock up now on a known commodity like Jackie Johnson of Eden Prairie?

Of course, maybe Mikayla Bailey misspoke or misunderstood whatever Borton told her. If so, never mind. END OF EDIT.

This is not by any means to say that gPrep ratings are the be-all and end-all. One might just as easily disagree with them, but they're well-informed and easily accessible. By contrast, the national ratings only go a few players deep among Minnesotans, and Kevin Anderson only updates his ratings once a year. His most current rating of the 2012s is based on play in the 2008-2009 season, when they were just freshmen.

So gPrep it is. Here are the top guards in the class of 2012 as rated by gPrep on 10-4-10.

1. Tessa Cichy, Hill-Murray
3. Marissa Janning, Watertown-Mayer
4. Whitney Tinjum, Chisago Lakes, G-F
5. Kali Peschel, Sauk Centre
6. Brittney Scherber, Bloomington Jefferson
7. Alexis Foley, White Bear Lake
8. Jen Hill, St. Paul Central
9. Riley Nordgaard, Canby
12. Shayne Mullaney, Eden Prarie
13. Amie Tunheim, Orono
14. Katybeth Biewen, Edina
15. Maria Adanane, Mpls. Southwest
16. Sydney Coffey, Hopkins, G-F
20. Whitney Olson, Cambridge
21. Mikayla Bailey, Osseo

Now, does this make Bailey a bad choice for the Gophers? No. I always thought she was underrated by gPrep and the fact that she plays for the leading girls club, North Tartan, would seem to validate that. But, more to the point, she's a certain type of player. North Tartan program director Bill Larson, who knows a thing or two about girls basketball, was quoted on the Gopher Web site saying, "Mikayla Bailey is definitely a defensive stopper that you are going to want on the floor from beginning to the end of the game. Mikayla is ready for battle every game and brings great energy."

This makes sense. Everybody knows that Pam Borton has been a defense-first recruiter. Whether you agree with it or not, Bailey is her kind of kid. And maybe Bailey is the one girl among the 2012s whom Borton feels will complement offense-first 2011 guard Rachel Banham, rated #18 in the country by HoopGurlz, who is expected to be the Gophers' best guard since, well, you-know-who.

Still, let's be honest. This is a shocker. Her #21 rating is all about offense where Bailey hasn't established herself as an elite guard. Among 2012s, if you're looking to move the ball, you're thinking Mullaney and Scherber and Biewen. If you want scoring, you're thinking Janning and Tinjum and Peschel and Foley and Adanane before you're thinking Bailey.

But the more I think about this, the better it looks. Bailey could be the perfect complement to Banham.

But now, while we're at it, let's quick sign up Jackie Johnson, #2 on gPrep's list of 2012s, okay? The good news is Johnson seems unlikely to end up at Iowa because, in other recruiting news, the Hawks have just announced the signing of 6-3 post Beth Doolittle of Hill-Murray.

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