VIDEO BLOG: When asked about recruiting during his introductory press conference, new Ole Miss women’s basketball coach Matt Insell said he wasn’t going to sign girls just to fill roster spots. He wanted to sign players that would impact the program.
Wednesday, Insell announced his initial signing class, which has a distinct international feel to it.
Below is Ole Miss’ release:
Ole Miss head women’s basketball coach Matt Insell has announced the signing of four student-athletes to his roster for the 2013-14 season.
Bretta Hart, ClaudiaOrtiz-Ledesma, Tianah Alvarado and Shequila Joseph will all join the Rebels for the upcoming season. Hart, Joseph and Ortiz-Ledesma all signed a National Letter of Intent while Alvarado signed an SEC and Financial Aid Agreement.
“The 2013 class is a great class for the Ole Miss Program,” Insell said. “We signed four very talented student-athletes that all bring unique gifts to our program on and off the court. We are beyond thrilled to have all four of them joining the Ole Miss family and are expecting great things from them over the next four years. I want to complement our staff on the hard work over the last four weeks to put this recruiting class together.”
Hart, a 6-2 forward from Bay St. Louis, Miss., attended Bay High School, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior for the Lady Tigers. Also as a senior, Hart led her high school team to a Class 4A state title with a 36-0 record and helped her team become the first team in South Mississippi to finish unbeaten in a season in 25 years. Hart scored 15 points in the Class 4A title game against Pontotoc. She was named to the 2012-13 Clarion-Ledger Girls Dandy Dozen basketball team.
As a junior, Hart played for Poplarville High School where she averaged 12.8 points, 10 rebounds and 6.7 blocks per game. She started for the Lady Hornets of Poplarville during the first three years of her high school career.
Hart picked Ole Miss over TCU.
“I was thrilled the day that Bretta called and made the decision to stay home and play her collegiate basketball at The State school of Mississippi, The University of Mississippi,” Insell said. “Her athleticism really excites me and I see her as a perfect fit into our up-tempo system. Bretta knows what winning is about as she showed this past high school season winning the Mississippi 4A state title leading her team to a 36-0 record.”
Ortiz-Ledesma, a 5-9 guard from Manati, Puerto Rico, attended San Jorge Academy. She averaged 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game during play in FIBA Europe competitions. Most recently, Ortiz-Ledesma averaged 8.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game for Puerto Rico in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in 2012.
“Claudia experiences internationally have prepared her to play at the highest level of college basketball,” Insell said. “Her ability to score from outside with deep range or off the dribble in traffic really excites me as a coach. I am thrilled that she decided to continue her basketball career at Ole Miss.”
Alvarado, a 6-0 guard/forward from St. Petersburg, Fla., was a four-year starter at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. As a senior, she averaged 19.5 points and 4.0 steals per game while leading her team to its third-consecutive Class 5A state semifinal appearance.
As a senior, she was named Pinellas County Player of the Year and averaged 22 points per game during her team’s run through the Class 5A playoffs. Alvarado scored 39 points in the Pinellas vs. Hillsborough senior All-Star game.
Alvarado original signed with Seton Hall.
“I’m very excited to have Tianah joining the Rebel Nation,” Insell said. “Tianah’s athleticism and ability to score the basketball with deep range will bring immediate help to our program. Tianah’s high school and club basketball career, playing at the highest level for all four years, has prepared her to be able to play immediately in the Southeastern Conference. She is a proven winner.”
Joseph is a 6-3 player from London, England and attended Barking Abbey School in the United Kingdom. During the 2012 U18 European Championship Division B, Joseph played in seven games and averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for England. She scored a tournament-best 23 points against Germany and added 22 versus Belarus. She was namedEurobasket.com All-European Championships U18 Division B 1st Team in 2012 and was named U16 English Player of the Year in 2010.
Joseph picked Ole Miss over NC State, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and South Carolina.
“I was ecstatic earlier this week when Shequila decided to be an Ole Miss Rebel,” Insell said. “Her size, athleticism and ability to score in a variety of ways makes a very difficult matchup for our opponents. Her experiences internationally playing against the best players in the world have prepared her to be an impact player in the Southeastern Conference.”
Below is a video of Ortiz-Ledesma:
(May 8, 2013)