Howard Announces 2009-10 Women's Basketball Recruiting Class
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Howard women's basketball team has announced the signings of eight recruits for the 2009-10 season. Cheyenne Curley-Payne (Chula Vista, Calif./Eastlake), Kara Smith (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), Cabria Johnson (Washington, D.C./Elizabeth Seton), Jerelle Gorham (Durham, N.C./Hillside), Tamoria Holmes (Durham, N.C./Hillside), Julee O'Neal (Durham, N.C./Hillside), Portia Deterville (Toronto, Canada/Weston) and Nicole Deterville (Toronto, Canada/Weston) form the talented class of freshmen that will join the Lady Bison on the hardwood.
Curley-Payne, a 5-5 point guard, led the nation with 328 steals as a junior at Eastlake High School, breaking the old mark set by WNBA standout Candice Wiggins. Curley-Payne totaled 1,065 career steals and set new state and local California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) marks during her storied high school career, making her the all-time national career steals leader.
The rising freshman was a 2009 McDonald's All-American candidate and garnered ESPN RISE West Region Player of the Week honors on January 14.
"We are really excited to bring Cheyenne into our program. She is a true point guard, and she is going to bring a great deal of creativity and ball-handling to our team," observed head coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "Cheyenne is extremely tough and is an excellent defender."
Smith, a 6-0 forward, averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds as a senior at Whitney M. Young High School in Chicago, Ill. The Dolphins posted a 31-2 record in 2008-09, finished No. 10 in the USA TODAY Super 25 poll to close out the season, and finished in second place in the state 4A championship game, falling to eventual national champion Bolingbrook.
Smith was named best team defender for two consecutive years and joins three teammates who have gone on to sign NLIs with NCAA Division I basketball programs.
"Kara is a great asset and will bring creativity and toughness to the floor for us," stated Geckeler.
The 5-11 Johnson starred at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Md. and has been rated a top-25 prospect in the Real Basketball Report (MD/DC/VA/WV Region). Johnson was a McDonald's All-American candidate before suffering a season-ending injury prior to the start of her final campaign. Seton finished an impressive 24-7 in 2008-09 and 14-4 in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) play. The Roadrunners advanced to the WCAC semifinals under head coach Jasmina Perazic.
"Cabria fits in with our system and I think she's going to have an opportunity here to really advance her game. I'm really looking forward to working with her," Geckeler said.
Gorham, Holmes and O'Neal each played for head coach Ovester Grays at Hillside High School in Durham, N.C. The trio helped their squad to a 4A state championship in 2008 and a sectional championship in 2009.
The 5-8 Gorham is a standout athlete on and off the court. She is ranked sixth in a class of 182 with a grade-point average of 4.4 and is versatile athlete, having lettered in basketball, track and volleyball. Gorham helped the Hornets to a 26-6 mark in 2009.
"Jerelle is a gifted athlete with an ability to score and create," Geckeler said. "She will have an immediate impact on our team."
Holmes, a 5-6 guard, was a 2009 McDonald's All-American nominee for the Hornets. She was invited to the Michael White Top Ten All American Camp in 2008 and received academic honors throughout her four years at Hillside.
"Tamoria is an extremely versatile basketball player who will be able to fill a number of roles on our team," said Geckeler.
O'Neal helped her squad to a perfect 12-0 home record in 2008-09. The Hornets finished 13-1 in league play and the 6-2 post was named to the 4A East Regional All-Tournament team for her efforts.
""Julee's versatility of being able to play inside and outside will contribute to our overall depth," Geckeler said. "She is a blue-collar worker at both ends of the court."
Twin towers Portia and Nicole
Deterville round out the recruiting class for HU. Portia, a 6-1
forward/center, had career averages of 18 points and 12 rebounds
per game at Weston Collegiate Institute and helped her squad to the
provincial championship semifinals in 2009.
"Portia will be a great asset to our team," said Geckeler. "I am super excited to have her. Most importantly she is consistent. Night in and night out you can count on the same numbers from her."
Nicole was co-captain in her final campaign at Weston and helped her team to the City of Toronto ‘Final 4' qualifier. The 6-1 forward/center was invited to the All-Canada Classic for her efforts. A talented athlete, Nicole was also a silver medalist in the track program at Weston.
"Nicole can play two positions. She is a tough kid, mentally and physically, and plays well fundamentally," Geckeler added.