The Lady Bears basketball program signed three top recruits to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, head coach Kim Mulkey said.
The inking of the three five-star players gives the Lady Bears one of the nation’s best recruiting classes.
The signees are forward Lauren Cox and guards Natalie Chou and Calveion Landrum.
“We’ve won national championships here with players that didn’t come to us with a number in front of their name, and we’ve won them with players that were highly ranked,” Mulkey said.
Cox, a 6-foot-4 forward from Flower Mound is the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruit and chose Baylor over other top collegiate programs, such as Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
The new Baylor commit has won numerous awards, including All-USA Texas Player of the Year and All-State first team (2014, 2015).
In addition to her national accolades, Cox built a lengthy resume as a part of USA Basketball, going a perfect 19-0 and winning three gold medals.
Despite her impressive basketball skills, Mulkey said Cox’s personality and welcoming attitude is what seperates as an oustanding individual on and off the court.
“What’s most impressive about Lauren Cox is the type of person she is and the type of family she comes from,” Mulkey said. “Lauren is a very sharp, intelligent and versatile player, her basketball skills speak for themselves.”
Teaming up with Cox will be 6-foot-1 shooting guard Natalie Chou. The Plano West product is the nation’s No. 8-ranked senior according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
She led her team to a 30-5 record and the Texas 6A state regional championship last year. During her time at Plano West, the guard was selected as All-State first team (2014, 2015) and named the Texas District 6-6A Offensive Player of the Year in 2014.
Chou also competed internationally for USA Basketball in 2014 and 2015.
Most notably from her national team experience, Chou played with her future Lady Bears teammate Lauren Cox in the FIBA U17 World Championship, capturing the gold medal and an undefeated record.
”On the perimeter, Natalie can play all three positions,” Mulkey said. “If you need her to shoot it, she can shoot it. If you need her to handle it, she can handle it. And what’s also impressive is that every year I have watched her play, she has developed another part of her game.”
Joining Chou in the backcourt will be Calveion “Juicy” Landrum. The 5-foot-9 point guard from LaVega High School in Waco is the No. 40-ranked player in the nation by ESPN.
Landrum has led her team to the state championship game two straight seasons.
Landrum decided to choose Baylor over local programs such as Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The resolution for her to stay close to home says a lot about Baylor’s captivating aura, Mulkey said.
“When you can get local products to stay at home, it speaks volumes,” Mulkey said. “She comes from a very good high school basketball program, and I’m glad that her local fans will be able to get to see her play.
“After having watched her for many years, it will be exciting to finally see her don the Green and Gold.”
After finalizing their decisions, Mulkey said it is pleasing to see the recruits recognize Baylor as a national contender.
“It’s impressive of those three young ladies just to stay near home and recognize, ‘Why do you have to leave home when you have something good at your back door?’” Mulkey said.
At the end of the day, Mulkey said she understands it’s her duty to use the players’ talent to put the team in position to win.
“It brings great recognition when they are highly ranked, but it doesn’t win championships. The players win the championships,” Mulkey said.