Kaydra Duckett was the first member of South Carolina’s second-ranked recruiting class to commit. She spent the rest of the time convincing the rest of the class to follow her lead.
“When I first committed, I sent the same message that Dawn (Staley) sent to me, which was, ‘If Kaydra comes here, she’ll be well taken care of in a family environment,’ ” Duckett said this week. “She really created a sense of family atmosphere, and I took that to the other girls.”
Duckett took an official visit to USC with Jatarie White, and while they were close friends, Duckett didn’t have an idea where White was leaning. Duckett stressed family and White chose USC shortly after the weekend. Duckett said she got to know Bianca Cuevas after she committed.
As for top national prospect A’ja Wilson, Duckett treated her differently. While the two have been pals for a while, Duckett didn’t try to force Wilson into choosing USC with a barrage of texts or calls. “We talked about everything other than recruiting,” Duckett said. “I wanted to make sure we stayed away from that. She had enough pressure on her. We mainly talked about girl stuff -- what color dress she had for prom or whatever.”
Duckett was at Heathwood Hall last week for Wilson’s announcement, and was very nervous. When Wilson picked USC, it was cathartic.
“I cried tears of joy,” Duckett said. “I missed playing with her this summer. Now we’ll be playing together for another four years. Now, let’s go for WNBA, maybe?”