The top-ranked player in the class renewed the case for her being No. 1 this summer. Breanna Stewart, the 6-foot-3 forward from North Syracuse, N.Y., continued showing that combining size and skill can be a scary thing. Nicknamed "6-10" by her USA Basketball U17 national team teammates for her ridiculous reach, she puts that wing span to use by blocking shots, finishing over strong defense and making tough catches in the lane.
After another summer of coast-to-coast and even transcontinental travel, ESPN HoopGurlz has expanded the prospect rankings for the class of 2012 to the Super 60. While Stewart provided stability at the top of the class, there were plenty of changes, beginning at the next slot.
Although she was left off the USA teams, including ones that won gold in the FIBA World and Americas Championships, Moriah Jefferson didn't see her prospect status decline. In fact the 5-6, hyper-quick point guard from Glenn Heights, Texas, hopped up to the No. 2 spot in the class after leading her DFW T-Jack Elite program to a fantastic summer.
Where Jefferson made her case for elite status in the States, Jewel Loyd, the 5-9 guard from Lincolnwood, Ill., used a break she got, being placed on the USA U17 team after an injury knocked out Alexyz Vaioletama, to prove she not only should have been on the team from the beginning but that she is a top 10 player in the class. Her monster showing in France led to her leaping up eight spots to No. 6 overall in the class.
Courtney Williams, a Texas A&M commi, is another elite player who made a jump. The 6-foot guard from Houston, Texas, used the month of July to show the growth in her game. She moved away from being a full time point guard and on the wing she showed the slashing ability, ballhandling, athleticism, and shooting tough to be considered top 10 in the class.
Point guards are in good supply in the Super 60 as eight lead guards in all made the cut. Jefferson is joined in the top 10 by Alexis Jones, a fellow Texan who won a FIBA Americas gold medal in June with the U18 national team.
While there are plenty of point guards in the Super 60, the true post players are a bit thin. Posts usually are slower to develop than their shorter perimeter counterparts, so the job for evaluators and recruiters is finding emerging prospects like Ally Beebe or Ariel Butts. It doesn't take much genius to see the emergence of Rachel Hollivay, the 6-4 post from Caledonia, Miss., who jumped up to No. 3 in the class by proving she could carry the team from the post.
Early on the 2012 class, led by the rare abilities of Stewart, Jefferson and Co., is poised to be a solid class nationally, giving colleges in all makes and models a chance to add considerable talent to their rosters.
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ESPN HoopGurlz Rankings Panel
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kara (Harrison) Howe founded and coached in the Utah Sky club program, which sent several players, including sister Michelle, a recent Stanford, graduate to Division I schools. She played college basketball at Utah Valley State, was an all-state performer at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, and coached high school in the Salt Lake area. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Kelvin Powell is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A former coach and club-program director, he operates Roundball Journal, a leading prep scouting service, and is a contributing editor at SLAM Magazine, as well as a member of the McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade National and State Player of the Year Selection Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.