What already looked like a very good 2018 recruiting class for the Kent State women’s basketball team has become an outstanding one.
In a Twitter post with a photo taken at the M.A.C. Center with KSU coaches, Hannah Young, a two-time Virginia all-state wing and last season’s player of the year in Virginia Class 3A, said she plans to join the Flashes. Young, who is 5-10, already has scored 1,443 points in her high school career. She could end with more than 2,000.
That’s more than Larissa Lurken, last year’s MAC leading scorer and MVP, scored in high school. It’s more than current players Jordan Korinek, Ali Poole, Megan Carter and Tyra James scored. And all of them were prolific scorers, especially their senior years.
If all goes as planned, Young will join four other freshmen on the Kent roster in fall 2018. The others include the top point guard in Massachusetts, a 6-2 forward from Strongsville ranked a three-star player by ESPN, a second-team all-Ohio guard from Cortland and a quick point guard from Solon.
Commitments become formal when players sign NCAA letters of intent in November. The overwhelming majority of players stick with their verbal commitments. Coaches can’t comment on a recruit until she signs the letter.
I’ve never seen a Kent State player with a high school record like Young’s. Last season she averaged 19.2 points and 7.9 rebounds a game in leading Brookville High School to the state semifinals. (They lost by two points.) She also led the team in blocks and steals. As a sophomore, she was a first-team all-state selection, averaging 18.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. Amy Sherry, who starred for KSU in the early 1990s, was on some high school all-American teams. Sherry scored a record 1,492 points at her high school. Young is 49 points away from that total – before her senior year.
Young made 43.4 percent of her three-point shots last season and 53 percent of her shots overall. Much of her recruiting was likely done by assistant coachty Fran Recchia, who played at Virginia Tech and was recruiting coordinator at Radford University in southern Virginia before she joined head coach Todd Starkey’s staff after he was hired in April 2016.
Young’s future teammates, who announced their commitments earlier, are:
ASIAH DINGLE, a 5-4 point guard who helped lead Archbishop Williams to the Massachusetts state championship last season. She was a second-team USA Today all-state selection and the only junior among the top five on the Boston Globe’s all-scholastic team. Last season she averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals per game.
LINDSEY THALL, a 6-2 post player from Strongsville High School. She was honorable mention all-Ohio last season and is listed as a three-star recruit by ESPN. Thall averaged 15 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game last season.
(Rating systems are so strange. Neither Young nor Dingle were ranked by ESPN, though both were all-state players. Thall, a three-star player, was all-state honorable mention.)
ANNIE PAVLANSKY, a 5-11 shooting guard from Lakeview High School in Cortland. Pavlansky averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds before an ankle injury ended her 2016-17 season after 15 games. Pavlansky was second-team all-state as a sophomore and special mention this season.
MARIAH “RI” MODKINS, a 5-1 point guard from Solon High School. She averaged 5.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals a game on a team that went 24-3 and included the state player of the year.
The recruiting class is the first that Starkey and his staff had a full year to work on. After Starkey was hired, he got three verbal commitments by September. A fourth player was added in the late signing period in April. All but the later signee earned regional honors in high school; none was more than honorable mention all-state.
The class of 2018 will move in after the graduation of current starting forward Korinek, a second-team all-conference player last season, starting point guard Naddiyah Cross, and reserve forward Zenobia Bess.
After five years near the bottom of the Mid-American Conference, the Flashes unexpectedly won the MAC East last season and went 19-13. They lost Lurken, starting forward McKenna Stephens and reserve forwards Chelsi Watson and Lacey Miller to graduation.
The team hasn’t announced its 2017-18 schedule but should within the next few weeks. Its opener likely will be in the second or third week of November.
Here’s a link to a postseason interview with Young in her hometown newspaper.
The first commit from the Class of 2019
Clare Kelly, a 5-9 guard from Olmstead Falls who was second-team all-state as a sophomore, tweeted Friday that she had verbally committed to Kent State.
Kelly averaged averaged 19 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals last season for Olmstead Falls, which had a 17-10 record and reached its regional semifinal.
She was an AAU teammate of Annie Pavlansky, the senior from Cortland who also has verbally committed to KSU.
Kelly is the first player I can remember to commit to KSU so early in her high school career. But recruiting has changed enormously, with some girls committing to a college as early as eighth grade. And Twitter has made such commitments much more public.
Starkey, who proved himself to be a very good game coach last year, is certainly proving himself just as much as a recruiter this summer.