USC Women's Basketball Inks Four For 2014
Nov. 14, 2013
USC women's basketball has hauled in a stellar class of talent to add to Troy in 2014. In her first season as head coach at USC, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke welcomes four newcomers to the Women of Troy next season, as she announces today the signings of national letters of intent by Chyanne Butler, McKenzie Calvert, Amy Okonkwo and Kristen Simon. All together, it's a freshman class that ranks No. 13 in the nation according to All Star Girls Report.
"As a staff, we are excited about the signing of these four young women and welcome them to the Trojan Family," Cooper-Dyke said. "They are all tremendous people who are great students as well as great competitors. They will represent our program and our university in a first-class manner."
Big credit goes to Cooper-Dyke and her supporting staff of associate head coach Brandy Manning and assistants Evan Unrau and Jualeah Woods in helping secure this fearsome foursome. The group is comprised of highly regarded players from Southern California and Texas, and is also a well-balanced core of guards and forwards.
Weighing in as a five-star recruit and the No. 16 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz 100 is Texas native McKenzie Calvert. A 5-9 guard, she hails from Byron P. Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas. In 2012, she participated in the U-17 U.S. National Team Trials after also being called into the U-16 team trials the previous year. Calvert also considered Baylor, Texas A&M, Duke and Texas Tech before making her decision to become a Trojan.
"McKenzie is a strong combo guard who plays with a high basketball IQ and great energy," Cooper-Dyke said of Calvert. "She is fun to watch in transition and has a natural ability to score the basketball. She is also an exceptional defender".
Tabbed at No. 47 in the nation is 6-1 forward Kristen Simon, coming from across town as a product of Windward School in Los Angeles. Also a five-star recruit, Simon will be a familiar face for at least one current Trojan, as she rejoins her high school and club teammate Courtney Jaco, who won a state championship alongside Simon in 2011 and is now a freshman this season with the Women of Troy. Simon also considered California, Louisville and Ohio State before deciding to come to USC.
"Kristen is the epitome of 'power basketball,'" Cooper-Dyke said of Simon. "She's an efficient scorer both on the block and facing the basket. She has the ability to finish through contact, rebound, and is capable of shooting from 15 feet. She will be an immediate presence in the post and for years to come."
Another California native added to the Trojan talent pool is Amy Okonkwo, a 6-2 forward ranked as the No. 92 prospect in the nation. The Rancho Cucamonga resident joins the Women of Troy from Etiwanda High School, where she was named the 2013 Inland Valley Player of the Year after averaging 16. points and 10 rebounds per game. Okonkwo also considered California, Oregon, San Diego State and Arizona before becoming a member of the Trojan Family.
"Amy is a versatile forward who has the ability to do an array of things on the court," Cooper-Dyke said of Okonkwo. "She's capable of shooting the three, scoring with her back to the basket, and is a proven rebounder. Her footwork at this stage of her game is excellent and will only improve as her game matures. Her versatility will allow us to display different looks on the offensive end."
One more Los Angeles-area product is staying close to home in 5-6 point guard Chyanne Butler, who ranks as the No. 24 point guard in this 2014 crew and hails from Junipero Serra High School. The Costa Mesa native averaged 20.5 points and 5.3 assists on her way into her senior season at Serra High. Butler also considered California, Washington and Arizona before deciding to sign with the Women of Troy.
"Chyanne was the first prospect to buy into our vision by being the first prospect to commit to our program in the 2014 class," Cooper-Dyke said of Butler. "Chyanne is a true floor leader who plays with toughness and has the ability to create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. She's extremely quick and plays the game with a confident demeanor. Because of her athleticism and passion, Chyanne has the potential of becoming one of the better on ball defenders in the Pac-12."
Butler, Calvert, Okonkwo and Simon combine with Alexis Lloyd -- a Virginia Tech transfer who joined the Trojans this year and will be eligible to compete next season with this freshman class -- as a highly anticipated group of newcomers for the Women of Troy. Together, they stand as the No. 13 class in the nation as they set up to kick off their USC playing careers in 2014.