Mitchell Inks First Fall Signing Class As Head Coach
Forward-Heavy Class Includes Two Texas Natives, One Out-of-State Player
DENTON - North Texas head women's basketball coach Jalie Mitchell signed three players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, making up the first group of fall signees in the Mitchell era.
Each of the additions - Madison Townley of Duncanville, Hannah Hopkins from Atascocita High and Missouri native Jada Poland - have the ability to play at both ends of the floor, but it's the drive and defensive intensity of each player that most excites North Texas's head coach. Mitchell believes all three could make an immediate impact on the Mean Green roster.
"I'm ready for what this class collectively brings and I think our fans will be excited about them," Mitchell said. "As a group they have a great work ethic, a winning mentality and a defensive mindset. They bring a lot to our team when it comes to the type of culture we're trying to build."
Madison Townley - 6'0; Forward; Duncanville HS; Duncanville, Texas
Having lost a combined seven games in her three-year varsity career at Duncanville High, Madison Townley is the type of winner Mitchell was looking to add to the North Texas roster.
Townley has twice been to the state championship in her time with the Pantherettes and is coming off a junior campaign in which she was a first-team all-district 8-6A pick and the area's second-highest rebounder at 9.6 boards per game.
Townley's presence on the court regularly allows her to play inside and outside. She flourishes in the transition game with her vision, passing ability and strong finish around the rim. Mitchell believes that the six-footer will do the little things to make North Texas a better team.
"When I got this job, she was the first person I called just because I've seen her develop in my time recruiting Duncanville High School," Mitchell said. "Madison is a whatever-it-takes kind of kid. She sacrifices and gives her all, which is exactly the type of dedication we are looking for. She has a very high motor and plays both ends of the floor every single possession."
Jada Poland - 5'11; Forward; Fort Zumwalt HS; O'Fallon, Missouri
What Poland lacks in height is quickly redeemed by her athleticism, exceptional vertical jump and astute timing. In fact, it's Poland's versatility and athletic prowess that allow the three-year varsity letter winner to make an impact on the floor.
A regular player for the varsity squad at Fort Zumwalt High in O'Fallon, Missouri, Poland averaged nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds a game last season, and she scored her 1,000th career point as a junior. She was a first-team all-district and first-team all-conference pick last season.
Specifically, Mitchell believes that Poland's speed, explosiveness in an up-tempo system and her ability to fill the lane on the fast break will play a major role for the team as it aims to implement a faster-paced style of play in seasons to come.
"Jada has a real presence and knowledge of the game," Mitchell added. "She is a lockdown defender who can guard multiple positions on the floor. Her motor, energy and competitiveness stood out to me this summer. She knows what she's doing and will give us a lot of efficiency on the court."
Hannah Hopkins - 6'3; Forward; Atascocita HS; Humble, Texas
Playing for the Houston-area Atascocita Eagles, Hopkins offers a mix of agility and length, and she will bring an immediate shot blocking presence and a world of potential to the Mean Green lineup at the four spot.
The 6-foot, 3-inch post missed some playing time with an injury over her three years with the Eagles, but that didn't stop her from picking up first-team all-district honors and being named newcomer of the year for district 13-5A during her sophomore season.
Mitchell is confident that Hopkins will fit right in to the developing culture of the program. She actually decided to sign with the Mean Green after witnessing the energy and intensity of a North Texas practice.
"Hannah is a very smart and skilled player," Mitchell said. "She takes pride in her effort and desires to be great. Anytime a player fights back from injury, you know there has to be some heart there. It's evident in her and her fight will give us a strong presence around the rim that we will need after Acheil Tac graduates."