With the amount of media that track and publicize every move in the world of recruiting, fewer and fewer prospects are slipping through the cracks.
It does happen, however, and South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley may have unearthed such a player in recent signee Tina Roy, who she has described as a “steal.”
The 5-foot-11 Kaplan (La.) standout doesn’t have a long-term AAU career, so she was something of an unknown quantity when she entered the recruiting cycle. But that doesn’t mean that she won’t be able to thrive in the SEC.
“I think she’s a sleeper,” said Kaplan principal Laura LeBeouf, who coached Roy throughout her adolescent years. “She really didn’t get into the national circuit until she went and played with a team out of Arkansas. She basically played locally.”
Against high school competition, she averaged 22.7 points, 18 rebounds and four steals as a junior last season, earning all-state honors and being named the best Class 3A player in the state. She scored 19 points and pulled down 16 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
LeBeouf described Roy as an offensive-minded player that finds ways to put the ball in the basket. Her success has helped Kaplan excel as a team.
“She’s always been in a winning program,” the principal said. “From the time she was a freshman, she stepped in over here. That team went to the quarterfinals. Everybody graduates and she’s by herself, but they still go to the playoffs. They’ve never lost over here. Knowing that South Carolina is in rebuilding [mode], she can bring that to the program and hopefully lead it to being very successful.”
It remains to be seen exactly how Roy fits in with the Gamecocks. She plays point guard for the Pirates – LeBeouf said she doesn’t fit the mold of a college ball handler – but she’ll likely move to shooting guard or small forward in Columbia.
Due to her size, Roy has played every position over the course of her high school career.
That has allowed her to get plenty of work as a ball handler and also as a back-to-the- basket post player. LeBeouf believes that would make her a versatile small forward in the mold of former LSU standout Seimone Augustus, the first overall selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft.
USC recruited Roy to play either shooting guard or small forward, Roy said.
“I feel like I’m a good player,” she said. “My strengths are on offense. I can shoot the ball well and get to the goal well. I need to work on defense, but I think that’s going to come. I think I can play [well] at South Carolina.”
Roy said she chose the Gamecocks because of the recruiting work of Staley and her fellow coaches. She said she received more interest from USC than any other school.
“I know it’s always been a dream of hers to be at an SEC school,” LeBeouf said. “I think what really attracted her to South Carolina was the coaches and their leadership. She’s very family-oriented, so going to South Carolina was hard on her part. She must think very highly of them to make that decision to be away from home.”