Women's Basketball Receives Three Signed National Letters of Intent
Nov. 11, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent - Klarissa Bell (East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing), Annalise Pickrel (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Catholic Central) and Madison Williams (Beverly Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) - for the 2010-11 season on Wednesday.
"We are very excited about the 2010 signing class and can't wait for them to compete in a Spartan uniform," said Merchant. "All three players are tremendous basketball talents and will make an immediate impact to our program. They have the work ethic, athleticism and character that will continue the great Spartan tradition."
Bell, a 5-11 guard from East Lansing High School, will make the short trip across town to Michigan State. She averaged 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds last season to earned first team Class A All-State honors by the Associated Press and Detroit News, and fourth team honors by the Detroit Free Press. Dan Olson from Collegiate Girls Basketball Report rates Bell as the 93rd-best player in the 2010 class and No. 16 at the small forward position. A two-time Lansing State Journal Dream Team selection and Capital Area all-conference choice, Bell has already topped 1,000 career points for head coach Rob Smith at ELHS. In addition, Bell also received Detroit News Class A First Team All-State honors as a sophomore. She plays AAU basketball for Michigan's Finest and coach Darren Neil. Bell has also lettered in soccer that last two seasons and won the East Lansing High School Distinguished Scholar Award. Bell is the daughter of Monty and Krista Myles, and Devlin and Shaneice Bell.
"Klarissa's open court transition game and quickness, fit into our system perfectly," said Merchant of Bell. "She uses her speed to attack defenses and create opportunities at the rim for herself and her teammates. She has great length at the guard position which will impact the defensive end immediately."
Pickrel, a 6-3 guard from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, was a first team all-state selection as a junior by multiple outlets, helping the Cougars to the Class B state championship game. She was a first team selection by the Associated Press, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, while also receiving Grand Rapids Press Dream Team honors last season. Pickrel averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks a game as a junior, captaining the GRCC squad, coached by Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate. Collegiate Girls Basketball Report has Pickrel ranked as the No. 154 recruit nationally and the 23rd shooting guard. She also has lettered in volleyball and track & field over the past couple seasons. Pickrel is the daughter of Maribeth Pickrel.
"Annalise's versatility will make her a tough matchup for our opponents," said Merchant of Pickrel. "At 6-3, she can play point guard through the 4-man position. She has 3-point range and can run the floor extremely well. We love her tireless work ethic and winning attitude."
Williams, a 6-7 center from Detroit Country Day, is a three-time all-state selection and has been ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 30 by Blue Star Basketball. Collegiate Girls Basketball Report also has her as the second-best center in the class and hoopgurlz.com has tabbed Williams in their national top-100 and rank her No. 13 among centers in the Class of 2010. Williams has led Detroit Country Day, coached by Frank Orlando, to back-to-back Class B state championships, including posting the first recorded triple-double in championship game history last season with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a finals record 11 blocks. As a junior, she averaged 9.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocks per game, earning Dream Team and First Team Class B All-State honors by both the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. Williams was also an Associated Press All-State selection last season and earned her third-straight all-metro and all-district honors. As a sophomore, Williams was a second team all-state choice by the Detroit News and third team by the Detroit Free Press, while as a freshman, she received fourth team all-state recognition. She also led her AAU team, the Michigan Monarchs, coached by Ray Booker, to five-straight state championships from 2001-05. Williams is the daughter of Kevin and Nanette Casida, and Kevin Williams.
"Madison's most obvious gift is her length and size at 6-7," said Merchant of Williams. "We believe that she will make a difference for us at both ends of the floor right away. She can face up and attack from the high post position and score with her back to the basket. Her shot blocking abilities will help make it difficult for teams to attack us in the paint."
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