By Krista Pirtle
For defending national champion Baylor, the best way to continue its excellence after graduating 6-foot-8-inch phenom Brittney Griner is to recruit and sign the top-ranked high school players from Tennessee and Texas and the younger sister of a current starter.
Yesterday, the Lady Bears did just that.
Nina David, 6-foot-1-inch forward from Memphis, Tenn., is No. 1 in the state and No. 7 nationally at her position. Last season as a junior, she averaged 19.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.6 steals while leading her high school to the 3A state title.
“Nina is a lefty that can play a variety of positions,” Mulkey said. “She is tough-nosed, physical and athletic and will bring that grittiness to our program. Nina has a motor that will not quit and she doesn’t mind mixing it up. In addition, she is a strong student.”
Imani Wright, 5-foot-11-inch guard from Hooks, Texas is also the top-ranked player in her state and No. 7 at her position nationally.
Last season as a junior, Wright averaged 16.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. Wright is also a jumper and sprinter, winning five gold medals at the UIL state track meet during her time in high school.
“Imani is the epitome of a student-athlete, she is an unbelievable person and her work ethic and self-motivation will serve our program well, both on and off the court,” Mulkey said. “She is a young lady mature beyond her years. Athletically, Imani brings us size and the ability to score in a variety of ways. We also see her as being a good defender due to her leaping and sprinting ability.”
Breanna Hayden, 5-foot-10-inch guard from Dallas, is the younger sister of current starter, senior guard Kimetria Hayden.
As a junior, Hayden averaged 26.0 points and 9.0 rebounds a game.
She is ranked No. 13 at her position.
“BreBre is much like her sister in that she is a tenacious and fearless competitor,” Mulkey said. “She brings mental toughness and versatility to our program. Because of her high basketball IQ, she will be able to play multiple positions. The Hayden family has instilled hard work and toughness into their family and we will see those same attributes in BreBre.”
Rounding out the signees is Khadijiah Cave, 6-foot-4-inch post from Augusta, Georgia. She averaged 17.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 5.0 steals per game while shooting 56 percent from the floor. Cave is also a softball pitcher, 400 runner and a member of the cross-country team.
“Khadijiah is a long post player with athleticism and speed,” Mulkey said. “She will give us a presence that we will not have at that point. KK is hard working, has a strong work ethic and has a strong desire to reach her potential at the highest level.”