Admit it. You don't turn on your computer every day and immediately head over to your women's basketball recruiting service of choice to track the comings and goings of every top 100 WBB recruit, do you?
No, women's basketball recruiting isn't quite the same frenzied spectacle of creepy stalking that is college football and men's basketball. But it's still important. It's not a coincidence that Cal made the Final Four just a few years after two different top 10 recruiting classes.
But the biggest of Cal women's basketball fans were getting a bit concerned as the off-season went by. Until very recently, Cal hadn't received a single new commitment since reaching the Final Four. UCLA seemed to be grabbing every major west coast recruit*. Why did it seem like such a great, young, exciting coaching staff had been unable to capitalize on an achievement that is one of the best recruiting tools a coach could have?
Well, the wait is over. On Thursday, five star guard Gabby Green out of St. Mary's in Berkeley committed to play for California. You can listen to her explain why she picked Cal in this video that I can't embed. She's a huge get that will keep Cal competitive with what is looking to be an increasingly top-heavy Pac-12. She joins guard Mikayla Cowling, her teammate at St. Mary's, in Cal's 2014 recruiting class, and that duo alone should be enough to put Cal in the top 25 and potentially into the top 5.
In case you weren't aware or had forgotten, Cowling committed to Cal a long time ago, back when she was an underclassman in high school and many recruiting sites hadn't even started scouting her. But Lindsay Gottlieb and staff did a great job getting in ahead of the game, because she has blossomed into a five star recruit as well. ESPN HoopGurlz ranks Cowling 11th in the country, and Green is just a step behind at 13th. FullCourt.com has Green all the way up at #8 and ProspectsNation.com puts her at #9. Basically, Cal will almost likely have the best shooting guard/wing recruiting class in the country in 2014.
Cal will be losing Gennifer Brandon, Afure Jemerigbe, Mikayla Lyles and potentially Avigiel Cohen (listed as a senior but I believe has two years of eligibility left) at the end of this season. I would assume that Coach G will be looking to bring in at least one more player in the 2014 class. Presumably that would be a post player to fill in the rotation behind Gennifer Brandon.
I don't have any particular insight into other targets the Bears might be pursuing. Lindsay Gottlieb was in Italy recently, so perhaps there are some international targets that might still be in the mix. ProspectsNation.com says that Cal will be going after Kristen Simon, probably the top ranked post prospect in California who has yet to commit. Regardless, the 2014 class is shaping up to be another tremendous success and should continue to cement Cal's reputation as a nationally relevant program.
What do Green and Cowling bring to Cal? If nothing else, they bring plenty of height to Cal's backcourt. Both are listed at 6'1'' and should have the size and versatility to play at either the 2 or the 3 in the backcourt. Some even think that Green has the ball handling skills to play point guard.
Additionally, there's the value of bringing in high school teammates who already know how to play with each other. Saying that they will immediately be able to replace the production of Afure Jemerigbe and Mikayla Lyles might be an unfair expectation for two freshmen, but they will give Coach Gottlieb plenty of options alongside other guards/wings that will get experience this year.
ESPN raves about Green's versatility, both in terms of her ability to play multiple positions and her well-rounded game that includes great defensive awareness. And because Green has multiple stints playing for Team USA, the scouts have had plenty of time to get a sense of what she brings to the court.
We'll have more info on both Green and Cowling (and any other recruits Cal picks up) after they finish up their prep careers. But that shouldn't stop you from getting excited now!
*UCLA currently has received commitments from five prospects in ESPN's 2014 top 40, including three in the top 10. Stanford, of course, has two commits in the top 30 and might grab a few more. The battle for Pac-12 supremacy between Stanford, Cal and UCLA over the next few years is going to be great theater, with lots of thrilling, high-level basketball. Bring it on!