Women's hoops gets fourth commitment
Just nine days before the early signing period begins, USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has secured his fourth oral commitment for 2009, as Tahira Johnson, a 6-foot-1 forward from Queens, N.Y., said Monday she'll play for the Bulls next season.
"The Big East is the best conference in college basketball, and I really like Coach Fernandez and the rest of his staff and what they're trying to build there," said Johnson, who chose the Bulls over George Washington, Illinois, Seton Hall and St. John's.
Johnson is the highest-rated member of USF's incoming class, ranking No. 79 nationally in the ESPN Hoopgurlz 100. With seniors Jessica Lawson and Brittany Denson gone after this season, the frontcourt is an important area for Fernandez's incoming class.
"I think it's a great get for South Florida. I know her family is ecstatic," said Bob Mackey, Johnson's coach at Christ the King High in the Middle Village area of Queens. "She can play the wing, she can play the four (power forward), so there's a lot of versatility there."
Johnson averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game last season, Mackey said. He estimates he has six of seven Division I players on his current roster -- it's the same powerhouse that sent Tina Charles and Loren Dixon to Connecticut, and Sky Lindsay to St. John's. Johnson said she has played AAU basketball against another USF commitment from the New York area, guard Tiffany Conner of Teaneck, N.J.
USF's first three commitments have been guards, in Conner, Kaneisha Saunders of Delray Beach and Sequoyah Griffin of Columbus, Ga. Commitments are non-binding, but the early signing period begins Nov. 12.