Super blue-chippers they may not be, but Bonnie Henrickson believes her three signees will be impact players next winter.
"I believe so," said Henrickson, now in her fourth season as Kansas University's women's basketball coach, adding that the three newcomers would ": fit in the pieces of the puzzle we're trying to complete."
Of the three, Aishah Sutherland, a 6-foot-2 forward from Perris, Calif., may be flying lowest under the radar because she avoided the summer-camp scene.
"She's probably the least known," Henrickson said, "but Aishah is very skilled, and she's very, very athletic. I don't know of anyone in our program with that skill and athleticism."
Sutherland opened Henrickson's eyes during a pick-up game not too long ago.
"When I was out there watching her she tried to dunk," the KU coach said,. "It went off the back of the rim, but that speaks to her athleticism."
Sutherland averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds a game as a junior at Perris High last season. She visited Oregon, then canceled all her other visits after attending Late Night on Oct. 12.
"She has a great high-post jumper, puts the ball on the floor and handles the ball really well for a big kid," Henrickson said.
When it comes to ball-handlers, however, Henrickson is counting on Angel Goodrich, a 5-3 point guard from Sequoyah High in Tahlequah, Okla., who fits the position prototype more than any player Henrickson has had at KU.
"Angel makes the game easy for everybody else," Henrickson said. "She's a capable scorer and a fantastic passer. She makes it simple."
Goodrich has led Sequoyah to three straight Oklahoma Class 3A state championships.
"She won the first one as a ninth-grader," Henrickson said. "We've been watching her and waiting for her autograph ever since. She can't get here fast enough for us."
Goodrich, a Native American who is a member of the Cherokee tribe, averaged 18.2 points, 7.5 assists and 6.9 steals and was named Oklahoma's Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior last season.
"I've been around basketball for about 30 years now," Sequoyah High coach Bill Nobles said, "and she's the most amazing guard I've ever seen."
The third signee is Ashley Harris, a 6-3 center from Antioch, Calif., who doesn't figure to be pushed around in the post. Henrickson says Harris has a Courtney Paris-type body, referring to the bulky Oklahoma University All-American.
"Ashley wears a size 16 woman's shoe, has big hands and a great touch," Henrickson said. "She passes the ball well like Courtney does, and she has a fadeaway jumper."
Ellis averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks a game as a junior last season at Deer Valley High in Antioch.
"She will bring some size, athleticism and skill to that position, which we need," said Henrickson, who has been searching for an inside presence since Crystal Kemp graduated two years ago.
Henrickson may not be finished with that search, either. She still has one scholarship available and, if it's awarded, it won't be to a guard.
"We're looking big," Henrickson said, "and it's possible we may have another (signee) in the spring."