SDSU Women's Basketball Signs Four To National Letters Of Intent
Nov. 14, 2007
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State women's basketball head coach Beth Burns announced the signing Wednesday of four prep standouts to National Letters of Intent. Candace Chambers (Seattle, Wash.), Gabrielle Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lindsay Leo (San Jose, Calif.) and Kalena Tutt (Long Beach, Calif.) will join the Aztecs in 2008.
"Jerica's (Williams, UCLA transfer, 5-8 shooting guard) addition to our team this summer added the great shooter/scorer that we wanted to put in this class," Burns said. "It allowed us to narrow our focus and lock in on front line players who would fit into our style of play. Our young, talented guards helped us to attract four skilled front line players, all of who will challenge to get on the floor early. All four are winners whose high school and club experience enabled them to compete at a very high level. Adding Candace, Gabby, Lindsay and Kalena to play alongside Paris (Johnson) and Allison (Duffy), just rookies themselves, is a really, really exciting thought!"
SDSU's fall recruiting class includes three California natives and one signee from the state of Washington. All four are at least 6-1, giving the Aztecs six players who are six-feet or taller in the freshman and sophomore classes alone in 2008-09.
Candace Chambers, a 6-1 forward, attends Seattle Prep in Seattle, Wash., where she helps lead the Panthers under head coach Michelle Hall. Prep placed fourth at the state tournament in 2007, a four spot improvement from its eighth-place performance in 2006.
"Candace is the big, strong wide body that we were really lacking," Burns said. "She has huge hands, a great feel for the game, and quick power when she catches the ball. She is a physical presence who loves to bang, yet has a face up touch that allows her to score from the perimeter as well. We are also pleased to be able to tap into a talented player from the Pacific Northwest."
An all-league honorable mention pick the last two years, Chambers averaged 12.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and posted an 84.6 free-throw percentage in four games at the state 3A tournament her sophomore campaign.
"Candace is a great post player," Hall said. "Offensively, she is as strong as they come and defensively, she can dominate the boards and block shots. She is a great student-athlete, whose best is yet to come both on the court and off the court. SDSU had made a great choice with Candace."
A three-star recruit by HoopGurlz.com and Scout.com, Chambers played this past summer for the Baden Elite Girls Basketball Program, earning a place on the all-tournament squad at the Mid-May Riverside Run. Chambers is hoping to pursue her degree at San Diego State in either anatomy or graphic design.
"I liked the team, because they made me feel comfortable right away," Chambers said. "I also like the weather in San Diego and the athletic facilities at SDSU. I hope to contribute right away and look forward to playing alongside Paris (Johnson)."
Gabrielle "Gabby" Clark is a three-year letterwinner in basketball at Narbonne High School under coach Victoria Sanders in Harbor City, Calif. The 6-1 Clark serves as one of the team's captains and was recently named MVP of the Los Angeles Watts Summer Games tournament, scoring 11 points in the win over Long Beach Poly.
"Gabby is a speed forward, who runs the floor, has great length, rebounds at both ends and can face up and shoot the three," Burns said. "I really liked her competitiveness on the court. She is a leader on every team she plays on. Gabby's club team (OGDL) has played the biggest and the best each and every summer; Gabby will take anybody on. Tough players help you win; we want tough players in Red and Black."
A first team all-city pick, she led Narbonne to a 26-3 campaign in 2006-07, and its third consecutive Marine League title. The Gauchos also won the city championships in each of Clark's first two seasons.
"I chose San Diego State, because of the coaching staff," Clark said. "The team also was great and I could tell on my visit that they had really good chemistry. They all made me feel welcome."
Clark also competed for her school's track and field team as a sophomore and plays basketball for the Olympia Girls Development League (OGDL) during the summer season.
"Gabby is dedicated to the game," said Narbonne head coach Victoria Sanders. "She has good footwork and plays well facing the basket or out on the perimeter. She is a very talented player, who works hard and has stepped up her leadership skills, especially with our younger players in the post."
Lindsay Leo was a starter for Archbishop Mitty a year ago, when the team earned a No. 21 national ranking and claimed the California Division II state title with an upset victory over No. 9 Brea-Olinda.
"Lindsay is a coach's player," Burns said. "She knows nothing but winning and plays in a system very similar to our own. She does all the little things to make a team better. Lindsay is very vocal on the court, really understands the game, has great length and plays really well in space. She is very skilled with her back to the basket and has a great upside. She will transition to power forward as an Aztec. She has a big, strong frame and I see similarities to (current Aztec) Allison Duffy with her toughness and competitiveness"
The 6-2 forward averaged nearly a double-double in 2006-07 for the Monarchs, who have won three straight CIF Central Coast Section titles and finished first in Northern California in 2005 and 2007.
"Lindsay is elated to officially be an Aztec," Archbishop Mitty head coach Sue Phillips said. "Lindsay is blessed to have the opportunity to play for a hall of fame coach in Beth Burns, and attend a university that supports its student-athletes to the nth degree. Lindsay's defensive presence and ability to attack the rim will serve as a tremendous asset to the SDSU women's basketball team. Lindsay has an exceptional work ethic and a quality of character that is second to none."
Leo, who is also a member of the school's track and field squad, is a two-time Western Catholic Athletic League second team selection and plays during the summer with the San Jose Cagers. She boasts a 3.8 grade-point average, is a member of the California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society and is interested in pursuing her degree in business or engineering at SDSU.
"SDSU for me was the whole package," Leo said. "The coaching staff is amazing, the team was great, the University offered a lot of different majors and I really liked the facilities in the athletic center."
Kalena Tutt is a four-year varsity starter for the Millikan High School Rams in Long Beach, Calif. The 6-2 center garnered first team all-league accolades each of the past two years, after earning a spot on the second team as a freshman.
"Kalena is going to be a great Aztec," Burns said. "Associate Head Coach (Heidi) VanDerveer likes to call her `PB' (Pro Body). She is a great, great athlete, tenacious rebounder and shot blocker, with the versatility to play different positions. Add her team-first personality and we think we've got a great one. She plays at a very high level at Millikan and gets better every time we see her. Kalena plays with energy - a trait that all winners have."
Millikan won the 2006-07 Moore League title and finished 21-9 overall, posting its third straight CIF appearance in Tutt's three campaigns.
"Kalena is a player with a ton of upside," Millikan head coach Lorene Morgan said. "She's got a lot of power, slashes to the basket well and can jump out of the gym. She has been one of our team's leading rebounders and every day she steps on the court, she's feeling like she will make a big impact."
This past summer, Tutt played for The Truth basketball team, where she was tabbed an all-tourney selection at the prestigious End of the Oregon Trail tournament in Oregon City, Ore.
"I picked SDSU, because the campus had a big university feel, but a small student to teacher ratio," Tutt said. "I also liked the coaches and I really felt a part of the team. Plus, it's close to home."
The four newcomers will be joined by sophomore guard Jerica Williams (San Diego, Calif./Mt. Miguel HS), who signed with SDSU this past summer after transferring from UCLA.
2007-08 Aztec Women's Basketball Fall Signees