NCAA coaches were allowed to start talking with Class of 2022 prospects this month. The Arizona staff wasted no time in making an impression on KK Bransford, the top guard in the class.
Bransford announced her top 12 on Instagram on Sept. 11. The Wildcats were one of only two teams out West to make the cut.
Observers have been raving about Bransford since she was playing on boys’ teams in middle school. She has lived up to the hype.
As a high school freshman at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati, she earned first team honors in Cincinnati’s Girls’ Greater Catholic League and honorable mention from the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.
The 5-foot-10 junior was the top-ranked guard and the ninth-ranked player overall in ESPN’s last rankings for the Class of 2022.
She led the GGCL in scoring both her freshman and sophomore seasons, going from 16.8 PPG in 2019 to 20.2 PPG last season. Both years she shot over 53 percent from the field, coming in second in the conference. Bransford has also been top five in assists and steals both years in high school.
In January, ESPN’s Dan Olson wrote, “Versatile, physical guard exploits mismatches, finishes plays through contact; displays soft touch in mid-range game; powers to the rim, scores in traffic and cashes in at the stripe; consistent mid-range production.”
The evaluators who compile ESPN’s rankings have changed since Olson wrote that, but their updated rankings have not yet been issued for the Class of 2022. Considering the programs that are pursuing her, it would be a surprise if Bransford had fallen much, though.
In addition to the Wildcats, she is looking at fellow Pac-12 member UCLA. The rest of her potential suitors are a who’s who of women’s basketball in the Midwest and East: Texas, Baylor, Michigan, Maryland, Tennessee, Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and, as always, Connecticut.
Bransford also has experience with Team USA. She helped the U16 team to a gold medal in the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship when the Americans took down Team Canada in the championship game.
Bransford appeared in all six games, averaging 5.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 14.3 minutes per contest. Her 14 assists and eight turnovers gave her 1.75 assists per turnover for the tournament.
Bransford’s highlights can be found on Hudl, and here’s a sample from YouTube: