Each year, it seems like there’s a new superlative for the recruiting class Adia Barnes woos. This may be the last year it happens. That’s not because anyone expects Barnes’ recruiting at Arizona to go south. It’s because there won’t be any higher achievement to attain.
Just weeks before the early signing period, Arizona women’s basketball is set to sign three top-20 players. That’s enough to get the nod from ESPN HoopGulrz for the highest-rated class in the country.
The early look at the top 5️⃣ recruiting classes:— Shane Laflin (@ShaneLaflin) October 11, 2022
✊ on the door@LSUwbkb @TerpsWBB @TexasWBB @RazorbackWBB @AlabamaWBB @CycloneWBB @UW_WBB @VaTechWbball @ESPN_WomenHoop ✖️ @PBRhoops pic.twitter.com/I7XWN4hkhm
Last season, Arizona signed a class that was ranked at No. 8. However, that ranking came before the class was complete. Paris Clark, who was ranked No. 21 in the nation, did not sign until April 2022. This year, late additions could only keep others from overtaking them.
The Wildcats’ class currently consists of No. 9 recruit Montaya Dew, No. 10 Breya Cunninghama, and No. 20 Jada Williams. Both Cunningham and Williams played for Team USA. Current Wildcat Kailyn Gilbert was also on that team, but an unfortunate bout with COVID-19 kept Gilbert from playing.
Arizona fans won’t have to wait to see all of them, either. On Sept. 30, Barnes said that there would be a mid-year addition or two.
“One of our players is gonna come in December,” Barnes said. “We’ll have one to two players come, so then that would bring us to 13 or 14 [on the 2022 roster].”
One of those players is Dew, but the other one is not publicly known as of now. Although she probably won’t play this season, it will allow Dew to get a headstart on her college development.
As is typical, Arizona is not the only Pac-12 school in next year’s top five. Perennial top recruiter Stanford comes in at No. 3. This season, the conference welcomed the No. 1 (UCLA), No. 2 (Oregon), No. 3 (Oregon State), No. 5 (Stanford), No. 8 (Arizona), and No. 14 (Washington) classes. The conference includes 11 of the 24 players from the 2022 McDonald’s All-American Game.
Players from the 2023 class can sign early between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16. Those who choose to wait will sign in April.