When Adia Barnes took over the Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball program, she said she was willing to recruit anywhere.
She really meant it.
The Wildcats landed their third 2019 commitment Tuesday and it is yet another international prospect in the form of Australian point guard Tara Manumaleuga, who joins Latvian guard Mara Mote and Icelandic forward Birna Benonysdottir as future Wildcats.
Manumaleuga’s commitment was first reported by Keli Moore, and I can confirm it as well.
#CommitmentCentral - @ArizonaWBB has picked up a commitment from #IntELITE guard Tara Manumaleuga of Australia— Keil Moore (@KeilMoorePSB) September 18, 2018
Manu was on the U17 New Zealand national team pic.twitter.com/UuWS8EjJAM
While Manumaleuga is Australian, her father is from New Zealand (and also the cousin of former UA tight end Brandon Manumaleuna), so she plays for the New Zealand U17 national team. She is listed at 5’9” and averaged 12 points per game in the 2018 FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Here are her highlights from that event:
Of course, recruiting international players is always risky since they may ultimately decide to spurn college to go pro. The Wildcats were burned by that earlier this offseason when five-star forward Valeria Trucco decided to sign with Pallacanestro Torino, her hometown team.
Nonetheless, Barnes has done an impressive job stockpiling talent, both internationally and domestically, since taking over the program prior to the 2016-17 season.