Daugherty's new class attracts national props

JUNE DAUGHERTY

WHEN JUNE DAUGHERTY unveils her 2010 recruiting class this week with the start of college basketball's early signing period, she will have done something unprecedented for WSU's women's program: Put together a third consecutive recruiting class that will draw national attention. "With just the first two players in the class it could rank in the top 50 in the country," says analyst Chris Hansen.

Those "first two players in the class" are Sage Romberg and Hana Potter, each of whom is ranked among the best in the nation at their positions.

The "other" new Cougar is Brandi Thomas of Class 2A Elma High west of Olympia.

"I haven't seen Brandi play yet, so she's kind of a wild card in the class," says Hansen, who writes for ESPN's HoopGurlz.com. "I know Gonzaga really liked her and that she did well at the End of the Trail Tournament last summer in Portland. But we didn't see her and I don't think other recruiting services did either."

As such, his assessment that Daugherty has landed a potential top 50 class -- to go along with a top 20 class in 2008 and a top 40 group last year -- is based solely on Romberg and Potter.

Romberg is a 6-1 shooting guard/small forward from perennial prep powerhouse McKinleyville, Calif. Potter is a 6-2 forward from Edina, Minn. Both had numerous scholarship offers.

"Sage Romberg is one of the top 100 players in the country," Hansen said. "She has a solid build but she jumps with the top in the country. She's a 2 or a 3, but with her size she could also play the 4. She's could play three positions and pose mismatches."

Hansen estimates Romberg's vertical leaping ability at between 28 and 32 inches. Last season she averaged 19 points, 11.3 rebounds 4.3 assists, 3.6 blocks and 2.1 steals per game.

"She has a lot of tools, she can come in and play early" he adds. "She can score facing up, can jump over people, has excellent ball skills and very high basketball IQ. Plus her size, athleticism and balance give her the strength to take contact … Going into California and getting a player of this quality is what the Northwest schools need to do, and Pullman was exactly what she was looking for."

Potter, says Hansen, has an upside that could make her one of the steals of the year. ESPNu rates among the top 50 forwards in the nation.

"She's a late bloomer that a lot of schools may have overlooked," Hansen says. "She didn't really get onto the recruiting map until spring and then she had a solid summer. It was almost overnight that she came into her own. She got herself into great shape and really took off."

Hansen says Potter is athletic and mobile with good ball skills. "She can also hit the short corner jumper and will be able to post up smaller 4s in the Pac-10. She's a real 4 ... a very solid kid and definitely a fit with WSU's style."

As for Thomas, who hails from the same town that sent all-world punter Kyle Basler to WSU a few years back, Hansen dubs her the "mystery kid" because she plays in relative obscurity at a Class 2A school and wasn't making the rounds across the nation.

She's a multi-sport standout who helped lead Elma to a fourth place finish in the state tournament last season. She averaged 14.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game. Thomas play power forward and center for Elma but projects as a shooting guard or small forward in college. She's agile and has a deft shooting touch.

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