Notebook dump: ACC recruiting notes, WNBA cuts, links

North Carolina adds to its staff, N.C. State picks up a five-star recruit and a few former ACC players get left off WNBA rosters.

Welcome back to All in the Game, y’all.

To check out all of my women’s basketball coverage from 2019-20, click here.

Also, I’m writing a book!


Today, I just have a big ACC women’s basketball notebook, a round-up of WNBA cuts and some links. Later this week, I’ll be publishing an interview I did last week with one of the ACC’s rising stars on how she’s using her voice off the court and why we haven’t seen her best yet on the court. Also, she reveals her go-to Waffle House order. Look out for that.

Last week, I cooked up an ACC Transfer Tracker for this off-season, smothered, covered and capped.


Around the ACC

  • Adrian Walters has filled the vacancy on Courtney Banghart’s staff, joining the UNC Tar Heels as an assistant coach. Walters has more than 20 years of coaching experience in women’s and men’s college basketball and was most recently an assistant at Alabama. He replaces Tim Taylor, who left Chapel Hill to take the head coaching gig at Navy.

  • N.C. State picked up a 2021 commitment recently from Jessica Timmons, a five-star guard from Charlotte. The 5-foot-8 North Mecklenburg High School product is ranked as the 45th best prospect in her class by ESPN. She also had offers from Mississippi State, Pitt, Boston College, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

  • Syracuse added another recruit to its 2021 class, securing a commitment from Amani Bartlett, a 6-foot-3 forward from Houston, Texas who had previously committed to Tennessee. Bartlett also had offers from Houston, Florida State, LSU and Texas A&M. Syracuse has commitments from three other players ranked in the top 100 of ESPN’s 2021 rankings, including Latasha Lattimore, Shayeann Day-Wilson and Nyah Wilson.

  • The Orange also added a player to their 2020 class, signing 6-foot-4 Maud Huijbens, a prospect from the Netherlands. According to a Google-Translate version of this story, Huijbens said, “I could choose from Duke and Syracuse… When I came to Syracuse, it immediately felt very good and familiar. I already saw myself walking there.”

  • The Daily Tar Heel has some analysis here on how UNC can be better in Courtney Banghart’s second season on the job.

  • At Cardinal Authority, 2021 prospect Syndi Schetnan talks about how she’ll balance basketball and volleyball at Louisville: “When Louisville came into view, I was like 'Wow, these are two great programs with two great coaches and they are going to give me the chance to play both.' It was something I couldn't pass up."

  • Former UNC guard Shayla Bannett signed a contract with Swedish team Mark Basket Marbo. According to GoHeels.com, the 5-foot-9 Piedmont, South Carolina native plans to travel to Europe in September. Bennett led the ACC in assist-turnover ratio this past season with a +2.09 mark. She also average 5.2 assists per-game and shot 83.5 percent from free-throw line, both of which ranked in the top five of the ACC.

  • Taylor Koenen, another former UNC player, has also signed a contract to play overseas as she is set to join Switzerland-based BCF Elfic Fribourg Basket. According to GoHeels.com, Koenen will travel to Europe in September. Koenen started 106 of the 125 games she played in during her four years at UNC. This past season, the 6-foot-2 native of Savage, Minnesota was the team captain and led the team in scoring with 14.7 points per-game.

  • Duke picked up a 2021 commitment from Marisa Davis, a three-star 6-foot-1 wing from Surprise, Arizona. She also had offers from Notre Dame, Clemson, Washington State, Utah, UC Irvine, Boston University and Colorado State, and had visited Arizona and UCLA.

WNBA cuts

  • WNBA rosters had to be slimmed down to a max of 12 players last week, leaving some late draft picks and veterans on the outside looking in. Here’s how that shook out for ACC players:

  • Clemson’s Kobi Thornton won’t be playing for the Atlanta Dream this season. In a statement, the Dream said the 2020 third round pick "elected to forego the 2020 WNBA season" (along with Maite Cazorla and Mikayla Pivec). Dream head coach Nicki Collen said, “I look forward to Maite, Kobi, and Mikayla having a real opportunity to compete for a spot on the Dream in 2021."

  • Duke’s Haley Gorecki was waived by the Seattle Storm on Tuesday. Gorecki, a third round pick in the 2020 draft, was a finalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and averaged 18.5 points and 4.4 assists per-game as a senior for the Blue Devils.

  • Florida State’s Kiah Gillespie will not play for the Chicago Sky this season, according to her Instagram account. Gillespie’s decision allows the Sky to retain her rights for the 2021 season, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Gillespie could go overseas and play, if she chooses to do so.

  • Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier, a second round pick, was waived by the LA Sparks.

  • Former UNC guard Paris Kea was cut by the Indiana Fever. She played in 11 games last season as a rookie.

  • Former Duke forward Rebecca Greenwell was cut by the Washington Mystics. Knee surgeries have kept her on the shelf since she was drafted in 2018, but was looking forward to making her pro debut this season.

  • Duke’s Leaonna Odom, Virginia’s Jocelyn Willoughby and Louisville’s Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones each made the New York Liberty final roster. Adding in Louisville’s Asia Durr means that 41.6 percent of the Liberty’s 2020 roster is made up of ACC talent.

Some important tweets

Elsewhere in women’s basketball

  • In the past week or so, Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks have gotten commitments from three top 30 prospects in the 2021 class. They are Saniya Rivers of Wilmington, North Carolina; Bree Hall of Dayton, Ohio; and Sania Feagin of Ellenwood, Georgia. Rivers, a 6-foot guard, had offers from UConn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Maryland, Duke and N.C. State, among others. Hall, a 5-foot-11 guard, had offers from Kentucky, N.C. State, Ohio State, Texas, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Maryland, among others. Feagin, a 6-foot-3 forward, chose the Gamecocks over Georgia Tech, Georgia, Ole Miss, Louisville and Mississippi State.

  • At Floor Game, Ben Dull writes about what Stanford transfer DiJonai Carrington can bring to Baylor next season.

  • Florida A&M has a new head coach in Shalon Pillow. She comes to FAMU with 15 years of coaching experience, working as an assistant at USF, Hofstra, Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky. Pillow played for Pat Summitt at Tennessee from 1998 through 2002, appearing in a pair of Final Fours. (Also, it looks like FAMU is going to the SWAC, which would leave the MEAC with just nine full members — and just seven that play football – by 2021. Matt Brown breaks down what all that means here, at his Extra Points newsletter.)

  • Delaware State picked up another graduate transfer in DaiJe Harris, a guard from Cal State Bakersfield. The 5-foot-9 native of Compton, California. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds per-game in 44 career games there. Harris is the fourth transfer that will be eligible for the Hornets this coming season.

  • Danielle McTeer, a 2021 prospect from Hampton, Virginia, has decommitted from Brown. She made the VHSL All-State team this past season and averaged 19.3 points and 14.1 rebounds per-game while leading her team to a state title. Before committing to Brown, she also held an offer from Longwood.

  • Head over to FiveThirtyEight, where Neil Paine gives Cynthia Cooper-Dyke her due.

  • At Power Plays, Lindsay Gibbs talked to three black women — who are professional athletes — about this current moment. It’s all worth your time, but this stuck out from former Notre Dame player Brianna Turner: “I think if I was a recruit now I would definitely be looking at which coaches are speaking out, which coaches are being quiet, which coaches are just retweeting things from the school instead of making their own statements. I think it makes an even bigger statement when you use your own words.”

Also read

  • I still consider Salisbury, Maryland to be a home of mine, even though I haven’t lived there since 2017. In that community, Mayor Jake Day’s voice is an important one. But for the next year, the city will miss him as he goes on deployment for the National Guard. Rick Maese at the Washington Post has the story.

  • At the Athletic, Meg Linehan hosted a roundtable with USWNT players on racism in America.

  • Andruw Jones patrolling the outfield with grace and recklessness for the Atlanta Braves was one of the best things about baseball when I was growing up. This FiveThirtyEight piece on him is worth your time.

  • “His impact was measured less in points and rebounds than in bruises.” Here’s the Washington Post obit on Bullets’ great Wes Unseld.

Some stuff I did

  • I’ll be contributing to The Next, a women’s basketball newsroom from The IX that is led by the great Howard Megdal. Last week, I wrote about Niele Ivey filling out her coaching staff by hiring Coquese Washington, and reported on a transfer heading to Delaware State. Please subscribe.

  • Some pro sports are making plans to come back in the midst of the pandemic, but what about youth sports? For the Chatham News + Record, I took a look at how a North Carolina county is proceeding.

  • The coronavirus has reached the 2020 college football calendar. For the first time ever, the annual Navy vs. Notre Dame game will be played in Annapolis. More in my post for Against All Enemies.

  • I started a new job last week at WUNC as a digital producer. I contributed to this report here on the removal of a Confederate monument in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

  • I hopped on the Movies and Meal Podcast with my old friends from the Delmarva Daily Times — Ben Penserga, Keith Demko and Brad Wilkins — to talk about one of the best sports movies of all time, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Sometimes I sound like a dog with peanut butter on the roof of its mouth, but the four of us go together like cocaine and waffles. Shake and bake.

Stay safe. Y’all be good.

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“Comes a day you’re going to have to decide whether it’s about you or about the work.”


Mitchell Northam is an award-winning journalist based in North Carolina. He grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at WUNC, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, NCAA.com, the Delmarva Daily Times, Sports Illustrated, Pittsburgh Sports Now and elsewhere. He is a member of APSE, NWSLMA and USBWA. He’s on Twitter @primetimeMitch. More of his work can be found at MuckRack.