SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first Sacramento State recruiting class for head coach Bunky Harkleroad is a large one, as seven student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the program for the coming season. The group includes two high school seniors and five junior college transfers who will fill a variety of needs for the team.
"This recruiting class adds not only depth but athleticism and experience," Harkleroad said. "Of the seven players coming in two of them will be here for four years, three of them for three years, and two of them for two years. We didn't have any sophomores last year so this was a way to balance it out and add more size and more quickness. It's just a good all-around class for us."
Coming straight from high school are a pair of guards in Justyce Dawson (Carson, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) and Taylor Brown (Chino, Calif./Chino HS). Dawson was the starting point guard on a team that was ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation last season, leading a talented group of Division-I caliber players. Brown averaged nearly 25 points and five assists per game to lead her team to three league championships.
From the junior college ranks comes a local product in Ericka Magana (Sacramento, Calif./Inderkum HS) who had a strong high school career and was an all-State third team selection last season at Sierra College in Rocklin. Gretchen Harrigan (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande HS) played one season at Santa Rosa JC, an opponent of Magana and Sierra College, and was named the MVP of the Big 8 Conference after leading all California junior colleges with 25.2 points per game with 8.3 rebounds per game.
A pair of junior college teammates join the program as well in forward Sydonia Daniels (Irvington, N.J./Arts HS) and guard Adella Randle-El (Racine, Wis./Case HS). The duo played together at State Fair CC in Sedalia, Mo. and led the team to a 21-9 record last season. Kyhonta Doughty (New Orleans, La./Warren Easton HS) comes to Sacramento State from three-time defending NJCCA champion Trinity Valley CC of Athens, Texas but played in just three games last season after helping the team win the national title in 2012-13.
With two true point guards, two combo guards, a versatile wing player, and two 6-1 post players, Harkleroad and his staff are excited for what the recruiting class can contribute alongside a strong group of returners.
"We have more depth now; at the end of the season last year we were down to nine players," Harkleroad said. "We know we will now have 14 bodies that can move. With this class we've gotten deeper, stronger, longer, more athletic, and more skilled."
Here are the seven signees:
High School Recruits
Taylor Brown - G - 5-7 - Chino, Calif. - Chino HS
Led team to three Mt. Baldy league championships...Averaged 24.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 assists per game as a senior... Was a three-time team and league MVP and first team All-Valley selection...Named All-CIF first team as a senior and second team as a freshman, sophomore, and junior.
Coach Harkleroad: "Taylor is a really active guard. She can play the one and two and she put up a lot of points. She's active and always moving and that's something we like in our guards. She was injured so she flew under the radar and we were lucky to steal her. She'll be a great perimeter player for us."
Justyce Dawson - PG - 5-4 - Carson, Calif. - Long Beach Poly HS
Named all-Moore League first team as a senior...For her high school career averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game...Averaged a career-best 2.5 assists per game and had 3.0 steals per game as a senior...In 2013 named to CIF Southern Section All-Area second team...Team was ranked as high as No. 1 in the 2013-14 Max Preps Xcellent 25 nationally and finished the season ranks No. 4
Coach Harkleroad: "Justyce comes from a great high school program at Long Beach Poly. She was the starting point guard for that team and has played in a strong program. Long Beach finished in the top-10 nationally and as the point guard she was a leader of that team, playing with other D-I players."
Junior College Transfers
Sydonia Daniels - F - 6-1 - Irvington, N.J. - State Fair CC (Sedalia, Mo.)
Played in 30 games in one season at State Fair CC...Averaged 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game...Shot 47.1% from the field and totaled 20 blocks...Scored in double figures in eight games, including a season-high 21 points, and had four double-digit rebound games, totaling two double-doubles.
Coach Harkleroad: "Sydonia will give us length in the post. She has a nice wingspan and she has a tremendous upside. She is capable of blocking shots and can run and will be able to help us as a true post threat."
Kyhonta Doughty - F - 6-1 - New Orleans, La. - Trinity Valley CC (Athens, Texas)
Played in just four games in 2013-14 due to injury...Played in 33 games in 2012-13 and helped the team to a 36-1 record and NJCCA championship...Averaged 3.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game...Scored in double figures twice and had a 14-rebound game.
Coach Harkleroad: "Like Sydonia, Kyhonta can run and block shots and give us a post presence. Kyhonta also has a little range on her jump shot so she'll be able to play in and out. She came from a great junior college program and actually sat out this year so she has three years left and will be a great pickup for us.
Gretchen Harrigan - F - 5-8 - Petaluma, Calif. - Santa Rosa JC/Casa Grande HS
Played one season for coach Lacey Campbell at Santa Rosa Junior College...Named Big 8 Conference MVP and was an all-California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) first team selection in 2013-14...Was the leading scorer in the CCCAA averaging 25.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game
Coach Harkleroad: "Gretchen led the JC's in California in scoring this year and she's one of our three year players. She is a really active player that has a knack for scoring the basketball, which will be a good fit in our system."
Ericka Magana - G - 5-7 - Sacramento, Calif.- Sierra College/Inderkum HS
Played two seasons at Sierra College in Rocklin...Named Big 8 Conference tournament MVP and was an all-state third team selection for 2013-14...Averaged 14.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game for 2013-14... Led team to a Big 8 Conference championship in 2012-13 and was named the defensive player of the year.
Coach Harkleroad: "Ericka is another point guard with a motor. She's a good local player and will have to contribute immediately. She has the same quickness that (senior point guard Fantasia Hilliard) has and they will battle in practice."
Adella Randle-El - G - 5-8 - Racine, Wis. - State Fair CC (Sedalia, Mo.)
Played two seasons at State Fair CC...Averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists with 72 steals in 2013-14...Scored in double figures in 16 games...Knocked down 27 three-pointers...Had more assists than turnovers...Averaged 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game in 31 games 2012-13.
Coach Harkleroad: "Adella played with Sydonia at State Fair and she will be able to play the 1 and 2. She and Taylor will fill those spots for us and Adella is also very active and can run and shoot and will be strong for us on both ends of the floor."