Cuevas commits to USC

dcloninger@thestate.comOctober 26, 2013 

Dawn Staley added another five-star recruit to her next class on Friday.

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

One domino is down.

South Carolina is hoping that three more will follow.

Five-star point guard Bianca Cuevas committed to Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks late Friday night, according to sources close to the program. The 5-foot-6 Cuevas, rated the No. 8 player at her position and the No. 44 overall prospect in the country, made Staley two for two in signing five-stars for the next class – Dreher High School’s Kaydra Duckett committed to USC in the spring.

Each of the two will sign a national letter-of-intent during the early signing period, which begins on Nov. 13. USC is hoping that those two will lead to three more prospects, all five-star players and all showing interest in the Gamecocks.

Providence Day (N.C.) School forward Jatarie White, the top-rated player at her position and the No. 7 prospect overall, will visit USC next weekend along with guard Shakayla Thomas (Sylacauga, Ala.), the third-rated player at her position and No. 12 player overall. White has already visited Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas and is at North Carolina this weekend. Thomas is choosing between USC, Florida State, Mississippi State and Alabama. Each player will also sign in November, according to their high-school coaches.

If the Gamecocks can get White and Thomas, it could lead to signing the highest-targeted recruit in the country. Columbia native A’ja Wilson, the No. 1 player in the country, is going to make her decision in the spring and perhaps four other five-stars at USC would make her want to be a fifth.

Wilson and White are currently visiting UNC.

Cuevas has been lighting up the New York leagues for years, starting with her AAU team at 11 years old. “She’s best at being a pure scorer,” said Ron Kelley, her coach. “Her biggest growth has been off the court. Her maturity level, the importance of her academic career, all the other stuff beside basketball, they go hand in hand and are also very important. She’s so put together right now, so ready for college basketball, it’s kind of scary, actually.”

Staley just finished four years with Ieasia Walker, another New York product who left USC as SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Cuevas can play either guard spot and could be another in Walker’s line.

“She’s a jet,” Kelley said. “She is a jet with the basketball in her hand.”

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