Stanford, which plays No. 1 Baylor on Friday, announced the signing of four women’s basketball players to letters of intent on Thursday, and two of them are ranked among the nation’s top 20 recruits.
None of the signings was a surprise.
The four signees are forwards Kailee Johnson (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic HS) and Erica McCall (Bakersfield, Calif./Ridgeview HS), wing Karlie Samuelson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and point guard Khaliyah “Lili” Thompson (Mansfield, Texas/Timberview HS).
The Cardinal also received a verbal commitment from Briana Roberson last month, and she is expected to join the team as a walk-on next year.
Wednesday was the first day of the fall signing period, which lasts until next Wednesday.
Stanford should have one of the highest rated recruiting classes in the country, but perhaps not quite as high as North Carolina, Tennessee, Duke and Notre Dame. BlueStar ranks the Cardinal class the fifth best in the country.
“Some words that I think really describe this class are versatile, athletic, and competitive,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said in a statement released by Stanford. “Our players are coming out of high school very skilled, and we will continue to have good team speed. All four are a great fit for Stanford academically, will be a great fit for our team. These are players who have played not only for USA Basketball, but for elite summer basketball programs and great coaches, so the experienced competition they have excelled against will help them acclimate quickly to the college game.”
The 6-3 McCall is the highest rated of the signees, ranking No. 11 in the country for the class of 2013, according to ESPN.com.
“We like Erica’s physical play, she’s a rebounder and a very aggressive competitor,” noted VanDerveer. “She scores, has 3-point range, and she is extremely competitive and versatile.”
“Getting in to Stanford was an exciting feeling,” McCall said in a statement issued by Stanford, “especially since there is a small percentage who get in from those that apply. Also with joining the basketball program I felt a sense of pride knowing that I would a part of such great history.
“The key reasons that helped me choose Stanford were the fact that I could get the best of both worlds, great academics and a top basketball program coached by Tara Vanderveer, and it was also close to home. What is a better accomplishment that includes a NCAA championship and a Stanford degree?”
Johnson, a 6-3 forward, is ranked the No. 20 recruit in the country, according to ESPN.com.
“We’re very excited about Kailee coming to Stanford and her great versatility,” VanDerveer said. “She can score on the block as well as face-up, and I feel she can also be a great defender for our team.”
“I was so excited when I found out that I had been accepted into Stanford,” Johnson said. “It was just such a relief that all of my hard work, both in the classroom and on the court, had paid off. This program and team is so great I cannot wait until I get to be a part of it.”
Samuelson is also ranked among ESPN.com’s top 100 recruits, coming in at No. 77.
Samuelson’s older sister, Bonnie, is already on the Cardinal roster. Karlie Samuelson can play both the point and the off-guard spots.
“Karlie’s strength is her 3-point shooting but she can also play both guard positions and can be another versatile player for us,” VanDerveer added.
Samuelson transferred to Mater Dei High School early this past summer, where she will play her senior season.
“I miss playing with my sister Bonnie, and it will be great getting to play with her on the court again,” Samuelson said.
Thompson, a 5-7 point guard, will join fellow Texans Chiney Ogwumike (Cypress), Alex Green (Dallas), Kiran Lakhian (Plano) and Amber Orrange (Houston) on the Stanford roster.
“We are big fans of Lili’s point-guard skills,” said VanDerveer. “She is a vocal, heady point guard. She can put the ball on the floor, is a strong player and has an excellent pull-up jump shot.”