Many people around the Iowa State women’s basketball program considered the 2014 recruiting class to be one the best of Bill Fennelly’s 20-year tenure at Iowa State. On Wednesday, the program may have officially signed its best.
Three players that signed to Iowa State to make up the 15th best recruiting class in the country according to Prospects Nation.
“I think recruiting is art, it’s science, it’s luck, you never know how kids are going to turn out,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “My staff did an amazing job. They worked really hard at it. It’s a really hard thing to do. But we got three people that I think have a chance to be really good players.”
The class is made up of two guards – TeeTee Starks and Bridget Carleton – along with one forward, Meredith Burkhall.
TeeTee Starks, a 5-11 guard from Brooklyn Park, Minn., is rated as the 39th best player in the class of 2015 according to Prospects Nation. Smith will come to Iowa State after playing for Hopkins High School, one of the best girls basketball programs in Minnesota.
According to Fennelly, Starks is player that can come in and play any position on the perimeter.
“Right now she could probably defend anyone that we play,” Fennelly said. “She’s a big, physical guard, which we needed, badly.”
Meredith Burkhall, a 6-3 forward from Urbandale, played her high school ball for Des Moines Roosevelt. Burkhall is rated as the 45th best player in the class of 2015 and the top player in the state of Iowa.
“We always want to try hard in our state, she’s the best player in our state,” Fennelly said. “Great upside, she can run, she can catch. I tease her that she reminds me of Tim Duncan, hopefully she turns out good, but she’s got that kind of game.”
The final member of the 2015 class is 6-1 guard Bridget Carleton from Chatham, Ontario, Canada. Carleton will be the first Cyclones women’s basketball player from Canada and was rated as the best player in the country by Crown Scout Recruiting Service.
Carleton has played internationally for the Canadian U16, U17 and U18 teams for the past several years.
“She’s a kid who has a dream to play on the Canadian national team someday,” Fennelly said. “Her versatility means a lot to what we do.”
While Fennelly is happy with the recruiting class and the future of Iowa State women’s basketball, signing day just brings a new chapter in the season.
“Today ends one phase of basketball,” Fennelly said. “Now we can move on to this year’s team. You get in this vicious cycle, I know how it is, every body loves to talk recruiting all the time, and well sooner or later you have to coach the ones you have. So now we can move on a little bit and worry about these guys a little more.”
Moody to start season opener
Senior guard Nikki Moody will start the season opener on Sunday against USC-Upstate according to Fennelly. Moody sat out both of Iowa State’s exhibition contests due to a suspension. Her replacement in the starting lineup, junior Kidd Blaskowsky, scored 17 points to lead the team against Winona State last Sunday.
“We need to go back to our normal rotation,” Fennelly said. “We’ll bring Kidd off the bench, we need some scoring off the bench, we need some enthusiasm off the bench. That could change as practice goes, but I think when you’re playing with a brand new five man, no matter who it is, the more stable you are at the other spots, that helps every one. So that’s what we are going to try to do and hopefully that calms every one down, especially as the season starts.”