Nov. 10, 2010
BERKELEY - Three highly touted high school seniors - wing Erika Johnson, forward Reshanda Gray and point guard Brittany Boyd - each signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday and will join the Golden Bears roster as freshman for the 2011-12, California women's basketball coach Joanne Boyle announced.
All three players are considered among the top 40 players in the country, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings. Their addition gives the Bears three consecutive recruiting classes rated among the best 15 nationally; the 2009 incoming group, which comprises Cal's sophomore class, was ranked No. 1 by the BlueStar Basketball Report, while the current freshman class was rated 12th according to HoopGurlz.
This Cal class is rated ninth best in the country by BlueStar, It was also tabbed No. 12 by HoopGurlz prior to Gray publicly announcing her decision Wednesday afternoon. With her included in the group, the ranking is expected to rise once the list is re-tabulated.
"I'm really excited about the class," Boyle said. "They are all different, do a lot for their high school teams and played on the national scene. They fill some holes that we were looking at and give us some players I think will play right away."
California's 2011-12 Recruiting Class Erika Johnson W 6-1 Seattle, Wash./Holy Names Academy Reshanda Gray F 6-3 Los Angeles, Calif./Washington Prep Brittany Boyd G 5-9 Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley HS
Johnson, ranked as the country's No. 21 recruit by HoopGurlz, is also considered the No. 3 wing in the class. She averaged just over 13 ppg last season when she guided her Holy Names Academy team to the Washington Class 3A title game. Holy Names fell to Cleveland High School, 47-44, despite 13 points and 12 rebounds from Johnson, the 2010 Metro League Player of the Year and a first-team all-state choice.
"For her high school team, Erika has played more inside, but she has the potential to play a big wing for us," Boyle said. "She's very athletic, versatile and a great defender. She is a slasher to the basket, plays with a lot of speed and likes to be in the transition game. She is going to bring a lot to the table for us."
Gray is rated one spot behind Johnson on the HoopGurlz national list at No. 22. The No. 8 forward in the country, Gray was chosen the Los Angeles City Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles City-Section Player of the Year by a coaches' panel and league MVP after leading Washington Prep to a 22-12 record and a Marine League championship. She contributed 19.3 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 2.3 spg and 1.0 rpg during her junior campaign.
This past spring, Gray earned a spot on the Under-18 U.S. National team and helped the squad to a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in June in Colorado Springs, Colo. She averaged 6.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor for Team USA.
"Reshanda is a physical presence," Boyle said. "She really fits our system well when it comes to talking about our post players. She's an tremendous rebounder and works incredibly hard. She's tough to defend because she's so physical and mobile. She's a tough match-up for people one-on-one and demands double-teams at times."
Boyd, the No. 8 point guard and No. 38 overall prospect by HoopGurlz, is a local product out of Berkeley HS. She averaged 17.8 ppg and 6.7 apg as a junior, leading the Yellowjackets to the North Coast Section title. In addition, Boyd also participated in tryouts for the USA U18 team this past June. She was named All-Metro by the San Francisco Chronicle and first-team All-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times.
"Brittany loves to push tempo and is an unbelievable passer," Boyle said. "She's kind of an old-school point guard who likes to get her teammates involved before she scores. She's also going to bring a lot of intensity on defense. She's a gym rat and just wants to get better and better."
Cal opens the 2010-11 season Friday night when the Golden Bears host Rutgers at 7 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. Cal will also face Saint Mary's this weekend, tipping off against the Gaels Sunday at 2 p.m. in Berkeley. The Bears finished 24-13 last year and captured the postseason National Women's Invitational Tournament.