Alexandria Gully is a 5' 9" 5-star (ESPN) point guard from Dallas' Skyline High School. She committed to Baylor as an eighth grader. In her junior year, she averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. She is ranked No. 50 nationally according to Girls Basketball Report and is the second best point guard in Texas according to All Star Girls Report.
She seems to have a sixth sense about where her fellow players are for the assist as well as the ball, grabbing loose balls. She has a solid three point shot as well as a nice hook shot. Coach Mulkey commented hat "She's a true floor general who is unselfish and sees the floor well", which is exactly the sort of point guard she looks for in her system. You can see a highlight real here (the first 5 minutes are game play). Pay close attention to 00:58.
My Take: Given how well Kristy Wallace has been playing this year, I could see her sitting behind Wallace and getting some great experience before she is called on by the team. I imagine that her freshman year will be mainly playing non-conference to get experience and will serve as relief sub for Wallace. The fact that she committed as an eighth grader as a point guard tells me that Coach Mulkey sees great potential for her in this system. We might even see by her second year us having a two guard rotation to allow us to play to her and Wallace's strengths.
Alyssa Dry is a 5' 9" 4-star (ESPN) combo guard from Aledo, Texas and attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. She is a former commit for the University of Texas. In her junior year, she averages 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 4.2 steals per game. She is ranked No. 68 nationally by Girls Basketball Report. She had offers from Duke, Louisville, Texas A&M, Stanford and TCU as well as interest from UConn, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, to name a few.
When not shooting hoops, she participated on the Aledo track team as sprinter and long jumper, which should help in transition. She is strong with both hands and has NBA 3-point range. Her AAU coach commented that she also plays solid defense. According to Keil Moore with Prospects Nation, "While she can make the occasional play off the bounce, she could really make an impact in catch-and-shoot situations where she spaces the floor and allows driving lanes and post spacing for her teammates. Throughout her high school career she has worked on adding a one-dribble pull up to her arsenal and if she can become more consistent in this area she could be a nice threat as a secondary scorer for the Baylor Bears." I could see Dry coming to Baylor and playing shooting guard and serving as three shot threat we need. Interesting notes: her grandfather is F.A. Dry who at one time coached with Grant Teaff at Baylor and her uncle is Dennis Lindsey, former Baylor basketball player and current general manager for the Utah Jazz.
My Take: While it is still early in the season to make judgment of our current crop of players, the potential for Dry to come in and start dropping treys on opponents excites me. Every great team needs that outside threat to force the defense to defend the perimeter and I think that Dry could be that player, a la Mackenzie Robertson last year and Neimann back in 2005.
Szczepanski-Beavers (sah-PAN'-skee), a 6' 4" 4-star (ESPN) forward from Fort Worth, Texas who also attends IMG Academy. In her junior year she averaged 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. She is ranked 59th nationally and the 11th best forward according to Girls Basketball Report
Szczepanski-Beavers is a solid shot blocker that has the length and wing span to defend successfully across the court. She also is a solid rebounder. According to Mark Williams with Premier Basketball Media, "Her quickness makes up for her thin frame plus her jump shot allows her to step off the block." Her AAU coach compared her to Joakim Noah because of her ability run the floor offensively, her shot-blocking, and defensive rebounding. The best quote, however is that she "is aptly named because she [is] a beaver on defense."
My Take: While I haven't read anything explicitly stating that Szczepanski-Beavers came to Baylor because her teammate Dry did, I can't help but feel that played a factor. Regardless of the reason, I think its great when you're able to have teammates transition to the next level together. Hopefully that will provide that extra level of synergy when they are on the court together. Aside from her connection to Dry, I love that Szczepanski-Beavers is a beaver on defense. Coach Mulkey has always emphasized defense and I think Szczepanski-Beavers will be a great addition to that aspect of the game. In addition, working with our coaches should greatly improve her offense and having a 6' 4" forward that can sink it will be another great piece of the Baylor puzzle.
Kalani Brown is a 6' 5" 5-star (ESPN) post from Slidell, Louisiana. In her junior year she havereaged 21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 steals. She is the No. 11 overall player and the best post according to Girls Basketball Report. She held offers from Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Louisville, UConn, and UNC, to name a few. Brown is the daughter of former NBA player P.J. Brown and DeJuana Brown, both of whom played at Louisiana Tech. P.J. spent 15 years in the NBA as a 6-11 forward and won the 2008 championship with the Boston Celtics.
Brown has found success all her sports life. She won two championships at the junior high level. She has played for three consecutive state championships as a varsity starter, winning the last two. She was awarded District MVP, All-Metro Player of the Year, Sugar Bowl MVP, Class 4 Player of the Year and 2014 State Championship tournament MVP. She was also named Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and Louisiana Hall of Fame Athlete of the year.
To quote Coach Mulkey, "I'm looking forward to Kalani continuing the great post tradition we have at Baylor." Walter Villa wrote that "[i]n addition to her off-the-charts physical gifts, Brown also has the intangibles college coaches are always trying to draw to their programs: a desire to learn and a desire to help her teammates improve." Her Salmen coac Kevin Anderson noted that "[s]he is left-handed but she has worked hard on her right. She cleans the board, and when she blocks a shot, he taps it to a teammate or she controls it."
My Take: Darn. Another amazing post to add to the Baylor tradition of great post play. Kalani Brown looks like one of those players that can step onto the team and start making an immediate impact. Not only does she have the build of a great post player, she comes from a family of basketball players and, as the above quotes note, that seems to have strongly influenced her style, her ability, and her game IQ. I wouldn't say she's the next Brittney Griner, but I don't know that I want her to be. She's a player that will make a significant impact on the team but isn't dominating to the point where her teammates expect her to do all the work.
Beatrice Mompremier is a 6' 4" 5-star (ESPN) post player from Miami. As a junior, she led Miami High School to a 31-1 records and the 2014 Class 8A Championship, their first since 2005, while averaging 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. She is the No. 42 player and 5th best post according to Girls Basketball Report. In addition to her team's success, Mompremier received numerous personal accolades including: Florida Gatorade Player of the Year, USA Today Florida Player of the Year, Class 8A first-team all-state, South Florida Player of the Year and Dade County Player of the Year.
Some have compared Mompremier to Sylvia Fowles. Fellow teammate Amanda Mendoza commented, "If she works hard," Mendoza said, "Beatrice can be the best center in the country." Mompremier was a key part of her high school press and her length has resulted in numerous turnovers and easy buckets. One factor to her decision, according to her coach, was that she wanted to play on a team with a true center so that she could play power forward.
My Take: Dynamic Duo. Twin Towers, Terrifying Tandem. Use whatever moniker you want, the thought of Mompremier and Brown on the floor together makes me downright giddy. Mompremier in her own right would make a great post at Baylor, the fact she wants to play power forward with a true center makes this grab even more enticing. Having two excellent shooters, rebounders, and blockers sitting underneath waiting, nay daring, opponents to take an inside shot makes this an enticing grab. While it has been noted that she has a bit of a temper, I could see her channeling that anger into intensity like we saw in Abiola Wabara, so hopefully she can control and channel rather than being a detriment.
This class in-and-of itself would probably start as a group at a number of teams across the country, and yet we have them not because we are in desperate need of any of them but because we are seeing the rewards of consistent top performances by the team (Final Four, Elite Eight, National Championship, Sweet Sixteen, and Elite Eight for last 5 years), as well as some key recruiting coaching hires coming to fruition. I think that every one of these girls has the skills to earn a staring spot, but I think that I am most excited to see what we get out of the Brown. While Cave has stepped up and played great, I don't think we have a center that bring everything to the table that Brown does and I look for her to make an almost immediate impact on the team. If that is true, that also opens up some great center/power forward combinations that keeps our players well rested and can probably find a combination that matches any opponent we play.