CHICAGO – DePaul women's basketball coach Doug Bruno announced today that Keisha Hampton, Danielle Havel, Deanna Ortiz and Courtney Webb have signed a National Letter of Intent to join the program next season. The recruiting class covers four different states as Bruno welcomes two guards and two forwards to Lincoln Park next fall.
"This year’s recruiting class represents a very quality group of young high school athletes,” said Bruno. “Danielle Havel, Keisha Hampton, Deanna Ortiz, and Courtney Webb are the kind of student-athletes and skilled basketball players that have helped our program earn our most recent Top 25 success. All four of these players will play on the perimeter while Keisha Hampton and Danielle Havel have the multi-position ability to play both inside and out. Courtney Webb and Deanna Ortiz can also play multiple guard positions."
"In addition all four athletes come from winning programs and great high school coaches that have had long standing traditions of success. While our local Chicagoland recruiting will always be our No. 1 priority, this recruiting class also represents a more national look as three of the four signees coming from outside the Chicagoland area."
Hampton, a 6-2 forward, has averaged a double-double in each of her last two prep seasons and picked up first team All-Public League honors at Philadelphia's Carver High School of Engineering and Science. She averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds as a junior following a sophomore campaign with 17 points and 17 boards per contest. Hampton is listed as the nation's second-best power forward and the 27th-best player overall by All-Star Girls Report and was selected to attend the prestigious Nike Skills Academy in 2007. Hampton was also rated at the 60th-best player overall and No. 13 among forwards by HoopGurlz.com.
"Keisha is an excellent athlete that can play both inside and out. Keisha fits the DePaul mold of also being able to score the ball and shoot the trey,” said Bruno. “Keisha Hampton was one of the longest and athletic small forwards that our staff observed during last summer's recruiting period. Playing for the New York Gauchos, Keisha's stock continued to rise the entire summer. By the end of the July recruiting period, Keisha was one of the best forwards in the country."
Havel, a 6-2 forward, has been a varsity starter since her freshman season at Carmel High School in suburban Indianapolis, Ind. She was named to the Indiana Juniors All-Star team after averaging 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals per game in 2006-07. She enters her senior season needing 131 rebounds to be Carmel’s all-time leader and 310 points for 1,000 in her career. She already holds the school career, season and game records for free throws and free throw attempts. The McDonald’s All-American nominee was named an honorable mention Sporting News All-American and has led the Greyhounds to three straight conference championships.
"Considered one of the top five seniors in the state of Indiana, Danielle brings that ‘winning intangible’ to DePaul,” said Bruno. “At 6-2, Danielle has the ability to play both on the perimeter and inside. Danielle is a great and long runner that can run all day and has an excellent knack of finishing at the hoop. Danielle also has that great toughness and court vision that has characterized DePaul's ability to defend and to share the ball, two traits that have been vital to our recent success."
Ortiz, 5-10 guard from Resurrection High School in Chicago, has been named one of the city’s top 50 players by both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Following her junior season she picked up first team All-State honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and was the Pioneer Press Player of the Year. The two-time GCAC All-Conference honoree was also a Street and Smith honorable mention All-American. Having already passed the 1,000-point plateau in her prep career, Oritz and Resurrection are currently ranked among the top teams in the state of Illinois.
"Deanna is an excellent three-point shooter and one of the premier three-point shooters in the country, said Bruno. “Deanna is much more than ‘just’ a three-point shooter. She is also an excellent passer that makes her teammates better and can play multiple perimeter positions. Attracting quality local talent has long been a DePaul staple and ingredient for success. Coming from Resurrection High School and the Illinois Hustle has Deanna prepared for college hoops."
Webb goes from the Eastside of Lake Michigan to the Westside as she finishes her high school career at Benton Harbor this season. The 5-8 guard is a two-time All-State honorable mention honoree and averaged 18.9 points and seven rebounds while leading the team in assists as a junior. The McDonald’s All-American nominee has already scored over 1,300 points in her high school career while also being named first team All-Big 16 as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
"Many Michigan observers believe Courtney is the best guard in Michigan this season,” said Bruno. “Not only is Courtney the best guard in Michigan, she is the best guard on arguably the best team in Michigan. Courtney is a strong, physical guard that has great quick's and can both shoot the ball from three and take the ball strong to the rack. Not playing summer club basketball kept Courtney under the national recruiting radar."
The four incoming players will also be joined by current transfer Rachel Pierson next season. Pierson is sitting out the 2007-08 campaign under NCAA transfer guidelines and will be eligible for play next year. The 6-3 center averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a redshirt freshman at Iowa State last season.
"Led by recruiting coordinator, Nicci Hays-Fort, together with fellow assistant coaches Candis Blankson and Bart Brooks, this year's recruiting class is the result of an entire team recruiting effort. All of these assistant coaches have done a great job at digging in, rolling up their sleeves and really responding to the competitiveness of recruiting in the BIG EAST,” said Bruno. “I believe that our efforts with this great recruiting class have laid the foundation for what will be a long run of great recruiting classes."
DePaul, ranked 18th in this week’s AP top 25 and 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, travels to Illinois State for a Sunday afternoon game against the Redbirds. Tipoff at Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., is set for 2 p.m. Live audio is available at www.depaulbluedemons.com with Dave Bernhard and the pregame show starting at 1:45 p.m.