Top rookies to watch

Updated: October 19, 2005, 7:49 AM ET
By Nancy Lieberman | Special to

They're not called the Super Six for nothing.

And though not all of Tennessee's rookies made our preseason all-freshmen teams, the Lady Vols led the way with three honorees. LSU, another SEC power, was the only other school with multiple selections, landing two rookies on our list.

A look at the top 10 freshmen to watch this season:

Alexis Hornbuckle, Tennessee, 5-11, G, Charleston, W.Va.
The Parade All-American averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five steals and four blocks last season in high school. No wonder Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt says Hornbuckle "can change the complexion of the game in a hurry." She's also extremely explosive in the open court and has a knack for finding a path to the basket.
Charde Houston, Connecticut, G/F, 6-1, San Diego
A scoring phenom, Houston once netted 71 points in a game, and also topped 50 points three times in her prep career. More impressive, however, were her 3,837 points, which eclipsed Cheryl Miller (3,446) to become the all-time leading scorer in California high school history. Houston averaged 34.6 points, 12.5 boards, 5.9 steals, 3.2 assists and 2.6 blocks her senior season.
Tasha Humphrey, Georgia, 6-3, F, Gainesville, Ga.
One of the most decorated prep players in Georgia history, Humphrey tallied 2,663 points and 1,228 rebounds in high school. Ranked at least sixth by every recruiting service -- and as the No. 1 overall prospect by the National Roundball Report -- Humphrey was the scoring leader at the 2003 USA Basketball Development Festival (16.6 ppg) and netted 26 points in the final. As a senior, she averaged 21.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
Erlana Larkins, North Carolina, 6-2, F, Riviera Beach, Fla.
The only player to twice earn Miss Florida honors in the award's 12-year history, Larkins ranked as high as the No. 4 overall prospect in the class of 2004. She averaged 22.3 points, 14.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists as a senior. Larkins also excelled with USA Basketball last spring, shooting 76 percent from the field and averaging 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds for the gold-medal winning Junior World Championship Qualifying team.
Candace Parker, Tennessee, 6-3, F, Naperville, Ill.
Parker already is doing things no one has seen before, such as becoming the only junior ever to win the Naismith prep player of the year honors and the first female to "beat the boys" (five male competitors, in fact) to win the Slam Dunk contest of the McDonald's High School All-America game. Pat Summitt calls Parker the "most versatile 6-3 (high schooler) I've seen," and says Parker can play all five positions. "She can elevate to the rim, create off the dribble, post up, knock down 3s and be an intimidator on defense," Summitt added.

Sylvia Fowles, LSU, 6-5, C, Miami
Though she didn't begin playing organized basketball until she was in the eighth grade, Fowles is a fast learner. She was a part of three prep state titles, and averaged 20.6 points and 11.6 rebounds her senior season. She's also touted as the first high school female to dunk in a game after throwing down a pair of two-handed jams in a regional playoff contest.
Crystal Langhorne, Maryland, 6-3, C/F, Willingboro, N.J.
Rated the country's top post for the class of 2005 (All-Star Girls Report), Langhorne tallied 2,776 points in high school. Coach Brenda Frese, however, expects the former AAU national tournament MVP ('03) to emerge as one of the top rebounders in the ACC. "She is relentless on the boards and her versatility in the post gives us a tremendous low-post scorer."
Erica White, LSU, 5-3, G, Jacksonville, Fla.
The last time LSU recruited a 5-3 guard, it worked out pretty well, and the Lady Tigers have every reason to have high expectations for White. She's effective at both ends of the court, dishing out 5.2 assist and averaging 24 points over her high school career, which included three consecutive state titles. But she averaged 6.0 steals, too.
Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, Tennessee, 5-9, G, Pomona, Calif.
Wiley-Gatewood, who Pat Summitt says is a true point guard who has a "tremendous feel for the game," averaged an amazing 10 assists last season. But she's also touted as a player who comes up big under pressure, knocking down big shots -- and averaging 25 points -- when needed. Wiley-Gatewood's line also included nine rebounds and five steals last season.
Candice Wiggins, Stanford, 5-11½, G, La Jolla, Calif.
Rated the No. 1 shooting guard -- and No. 7 overall player -- by All-Star Girls Report, Wiggins already has found success with USA Basketball. As captain of the USA junior national team, she scored 23 points in the gold-medal game as the United States captured the title at the FIBA America's Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament.

Nancy Lieberman, an ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer, is a regular contributor to's women's basketball coverage. Contact her at

Nancy Lieberman

Basketball analyst / Writer
Nancy Lieberman, one of the most recognized individuals in women's basketball, is a men's and women's basketball analyst for ESPN. She works on ESPN and ESPN2's coverage of men's and women's college basketball, plus the WNBA and writes for