November 13, 2020
Texas announces three 2021 top-25 recruits
The Longhorns first-year head coach is showing he has what it takes to build a new NCAA dynasty
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On Monday, new Texas head coach Vic Schaefer announced a trio of top-100 prospects from the class of 2021 — forward Aaliyah Moore (No. 6), guard Rori Harmon (No. 10), and guard Kyndall Hunter (No. 24). If those last two names look familiar, it’s because the pair plays together at Cypress Creek H.S. in Texas, and have formed one of the nation’s most formidable high school backcourts.
Never short on confidence, Schaefer beamed with the gumption of a champion when canvassing the class’s skillset. His staff’s recruiting prowess catapulted Texas to fourth on espnW HoopGurlz’s team rankings.
“It’s a great day for Texas women’s basketball, I’m so excited about our recruiting class and these three young ladies we’ve been able to add,” Schaefer said on Wednesday. “We really were able to address some needs that we absolutely had to have. At the same time, y’all, I can’t go into it but y’all hang in there because I don’t think we’re done.”
Acclimation might be a foreign concept for the new Longhorns recruits. Rostering just a single impact freshman is one of the most menacing competitive advantages in college basketball, and Schaefer’s convinced he landed three.
“They’re here to make an impact,” Schaefer said. “I will be very disappointed if all three of them aren’t impact players from day one here at Texas. They are here to compete and win championships.”
His backcourt of the future, Harmon and Hunter, has been on his mind for a long time coming. No stranger to Texas-style basketball, the duo is well-versed in constant press-defense and versatile offense. With three years of chemistry under their belts, don’t be surprised to see them share the court in Year 1 — Schaefer did everything short of confirming that fact to the press.
Harmon, in particular, was the crown jewel of the Longhorns’ class. The 5’6 guard scored over 2,000 points in high school — an impressive feat to most, but it isn’t what cemented her at the top of his target list. What caught his eye was her 500+ steals, 500+ assists, and 500+ rebounds.
“She is just my type of point guard,” Schaefer said. “She has the motor that will set the tone for our team on both ends of the floor. There have been some great point guards in the history of this university. Rori will have a chance to be one of the best ever.”
Schaefer said he’s also impressed with Moore’s energetic approach to the game, adding that she’ll be able to create tough matchups at the 3 and 4-spots with her multi-dimensional scoring ability. Quick to call Moore the “most versatile” player in this class, the coach praised her athleticism and physicality.
So what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. In her junior year, Moore was named Gatorade’s Oklahoma Girls Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 21.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game. For good measure, Blue Star Basketball has Moore as the third-ranked player in her class.
For as great as Moore and Harmon are, Hunter is the frontrunner for fan favorite due to her scrappy play and unlimited range. If, or more accurately when she catches fire, it’s a curtain-call for the opposition. She’s no spot-up soloist either, capable of taking players off-the-dribble if the offense necessitates it.
“She’s got some incredible range,” Schaefer said. “I’ve had some kids who can shoot it, she’s got big range, can score at all three levels, physical guard.”
No. 24 West Virginia was the only other Big 12 school ranked in the top 25 for 2021 recruits. The top-100 ‘21 prospects headed to Big 12 schools are as follows (rankings via espnW HoopGurlz):
No. 6 Aaliyah Moore – F – Texas
No. 10 Rori Harmon – G – Texas
No. 13 Maryam Dauda – C – Baylor
No. 24 Kyndall Hunter – G – Texas
No. 54 Jaelyn Glenn – G – Kansas State
No. 59 Emma Shumate – G – West Virginia
No. 66 Kelbie Washington – G – Oklahoma
No. 67 Chante Embry – F – Texas Tech
No. 72 Paige Bradley – G – TCU
No. 81 Messiah Hunter – G – West Virginia
No. 88 Macie James – G – Oklahoma State
Last season, Baylor was the top Big 12 recruiter at No. 9 nationally, with Iowa State coming in at No. 10 and Texas rounding out the conference No. 16. In hindsight, Celeste Taylor’s success as a freshman last season would bump the Longhorns up a notch.
Looking ahead to this season, Schaefer wasn’t too concerned that his team fell just outside the top-25 preseason polls.
“For us, and for me, it’s just motivation,” Schaefer said. “Top-25 is where I’ve lived, this is where [my teams] have lived for the past six years, and in the past four, it’s been in the top-10. You’re going to live in those neighborhoods, rent’s due every day. We have to go pay rent every day in practice. This is fuel for us.”