SDSU Women's Basketball Inks Four In Standout Recruiting Class
Nov. 8, 2006
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State women's basketball head coach Beth Burns announced the signing Wednesday of four highly-rated recruits - centers Paris Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) and Geneshia Dunbar (Dallas, Texas) and guards Coco Davis (Sacramento, Calif.) and Christen Myles (Chino, Calif.). Johnson, Dunbar and Davis will join the Aztecs in 2007, while Myles will be eligible to practice with the team beginning in the second semester of the 2006-07 academic year.
"We are really pleased and excited to announce this year's signing class," Burns said. "We set out in the recruiting process to address two key areas - our offensive production at every spot on the floor and our need to fill the center position. I feel that we've accomplished both of those objectives through a culmination of a lot of hard work by many people. Everyone in the San Diego State community has helped us put our best foot forward, which is why we were able to attract such quality student-athletes. My coaching staff and I have been on a mission to bring a championship caliber program to San Diego. The student-athletes we've brought in the past two seasons will help us to do just that; they are winners on and off the court."
SDSU's fall recruiting class includes three California natives and one signee from the state of Texas. Two of the four already have connections to the current team, as Johnson's sister, Desiree, is a senior center and Davis' sister, Quenese, is a freshman guard with the Aztecs.
One of the nation's top recruits, Paris Johnson is a senior at San Diego High School, where she played her first three seasons under coach Marlon Wells.
"Paris is someone who we feel is a statement recruit," Burns said. "She is an extremely humble person, and I don't think she is even aware of how her coming to San Diego State will influence other great players to do the same. Paris had her choices of schools anywhere in the country, because she is the kind of scholar and athlete who can help any team get to a national championship level. She believes that she can do that here. As we've told Paris from day one, it only matters that you're from San Diego when you're in San Diego. We know that her signing here is something that our SDSU alumni and the entire San Diego community can get excited about. We want our best athletes to stay home and wear a San Diego State uniform."
Johnson averaged 19.3 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game as a junior to lead the Cavers to the CIF Division I title. The 6-4 center was named the 2006 San Diego Section High School Player of the Year by the San Diego Union-Tribune and was a second team all-state pick by CalHiSports.com. She also was selected to the website's All Division I team and was named one of the state's top juniors.
"Paris is like a throwback center," Burns said. "She is extremely skilled with her back to the basket, has good low-block moves; commands double and triple teams in the paint. Coach (Marlon) Wells had done a great job of demanding the best from Paris. With that said, she is an WNBA-potential player, who can be just as good in the open court as she is on the block. With the addition of Geneshia, as well as the other forwards we already have in the program, we are also going to be able to play Paris to her strengths and take advantage of her versatility."
Johnson is listed as the No. 42 prospect in the country and the No. 15 ranked forward by HoopGurlz.com. She was voted the Eastern League Player of the Year last season and logged single-game highs of 47 points and 22 rebounds.
"I chose San Diego State, because it was in my hometown and the biggest thing to me is my family," Johnson said. "I know that coach Burns can bring out the best player in me as she has with my sister. Plus, I know that I will get a good education by coming to San Diego State."
As a freshman, Johnson was a starter on the San Diego team that finished as runner-up at the state tournament and won a CIF section title.
"Paris is a great person, who has come a long way since she was a freshman," Wells said. "She's by far one of the best post players in the county, if not the country. She's going to bring a lot to SDSU."
Geneshia Dunbar is a 6-3 center, who averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and 3.3 blocks a game as a junior at Hillcrest High School. She was named first team all-district and district defensive MVP in 2006, after garnering newcomer of the year honors as a sophomore, when she chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds an outing.
"Coach Jualeah Woods gets lots of credit here, because we really wanted to expand our recruiting to the state of Texas, and Y just about lived there this past summer, meeting coaches and establishing great contacts." Burns said. "Geneshia is big, strong, runs the floor, blocks shots and can play around the rim. A personal bonus for me is that Geneshia's high school coach is Deidra Rucker, who played for me on one of my best teams ever at San Diego State in 1996-97. This entire recruiting class is extra special, because we have such a deep family connection."
Rucker played at SDSU under Beth Burns in 1996-97, when the Aztecs won the Western Athletic Conference championship, advanced to the NCAA tournament and finished with a 23-7 overall record.
"I know that coach Burns will take care of (Geneshia) and coming from Dallas, San Diego will be a great environment for her to be in," Rucker said. "I told her to expect to work hard and that coach Burns gets the best out of you as a player and a person. The hard work will pay off in the end and you will be able to see the results."
Dunbar also competed for the Hillcrest track and field team in the high jump and played basketball during the summer with a club team in New York.
"I really liked it in San Diego and I can see where coach Burns has the program going," Dunbar said. "I really bonded with the team (on my official visit) and it was exciting to know that (coach Rucker) played for coach Burns."
A 5-9 point guard, Coco Davis played her first three prep seasons at Rio Americano High School, before transferring to Sacramento High School this year, under coach John Langston.
"Coco was the most productive guard that we saw (on the recruiting trail) all summer," Burns said. "We had a key list of five or six guards who we were really focused on, and no matter where I went, we thought Coco had the most talent and was the one who would elevate our program to the highest level.
"Coco's the kind of guard who makes everyone better. She's a fantastic passer and has that sixth sense that you just can't teach. For a team like ours, that's going to be extremely fast, she can make quick, split-second decisions. Quenese and Coco playing together is an exciting thought, because they are the kind of guards who will make great decisions, lead a team and win games."
Davis averaged 16.4 points and 4.5 assists as a junior, recording single-game highs of 38 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. She was a first team all-league selection and team co-MVP at Rio Americano along with her sister in 2005-06.
"(SDSU's) style of play really fits her game," Langston said. "She and Quenese play very well together and know each other better than any pair of sisters I know. They will be a hard pair to stop when they are both on the court at the same time."
Davis is a member of her school's honor roll and is interested in majoring in either psychology or political science at SDSU.
"In the end, I based my decision (to go to SDSU) on the coaches and how they were going to help me as a player and a person," Davis said. "I really respected (assistant) coach (Kate) Paye, because she knows what it takes to play at the next level in the WNBA. Part of (my decision) was also my sister, and with us both in the backcourt, I know this program will be headed in a good direction."
Christen Myles graduated from Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif., in 2006, and will join the current Aztec team this December at the end of the fall semester. Myles, who originally signed with Oregon State, will be able to compete at SDSU in December 2007 and will have 3.5 years of eligibility remaining.
"We loved Christen a year ago coming out of Bishop Amat and were one of her four original choices," Burns said. "When we got the release from Oregon State this summer to talk to her, we didn't think twice. We knew her and her family and knew what kind of player she would be. It was an easy decision for us. Since then, she's gotten bigger and stronger and has great physical skills, great length and can guard any spot on the floor. Christen is a fantastic defender, who can knock down an open shot and slash well to the basketball. We think she's a big time player and as we continue to build to a championship level, she will be a big part of what we want to do."
The 5-10 guard helped Bishop Amat, under head coach Richard Wiard, to a 70-1 record and two state Division III titles in her two seasons, including a perfect 35-0 mark as a junior.
"(Christen) is the best defender we've ever had (at Bishop Amat)," Wiard said. "She a very unselfish player and that's the type of players who you want to have on your team."
Myles averaged about seven points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists as a senior to earn second team all-CIF and all-league honors. She chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds a contest as a junior during the Lancers' undefeated campaign and is a past participant at the adidas top 100 invitational camp.
"Coach Burns is a great coach and she was real with me when we met and offered me a second opportunity (to come to SDSU)," Myles said. "It's going to be great to be close to home and have my family be able to come out and watch me play. I really felt in sync with the team and liked their style of play."
Myles was a member of the National Honor Society at Bishop Amat and began her high school career as a freshman at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, Calif.
The four newcomers are in addition to an already standout pair of players who will first wear an Aztec uniform next year. The quartet joins guard Jené Morris (San Francisco, Calif.) and center Allison Duffy (Lakeside, Calif.), who will both sit out the upcoming 2006-07 season.
"Collectively, this class is unique in that three of them, Jené, Allison and Christen, will be able to be in practice this season," Burns said. "The other three, Coco, Paris and Geneshia, will be here for summer school in July, which enables us to get a preview that you don't normally get with a recruiting class. I can comfortably say that this class may have as big an impact on our team and program as any class that I've ever had in all my years of coaching. They are all great scholars and great athletes, who want to win championships, which is why they came to SDSU. As we plan forward, we are right where we want to be going into year three."
2006-07 Aztec Women's Basketball Fall Signees