DENTON, Texas (11/13/08) North Texas women’s basketball head coach Shanice Stephens has inked four players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period today. The four players will make up the first recruiting class for Coach Stephens and join transfers Brittney Hudson and Niqky Hughes to sign with the Mean Green.
The four players represent not only some of the best talent from across the state of Texas but also the region. Stephens added two guards in Raquel Cuffie and Lakevia "KeKe" Taylor and two forwards in Jasmine Godbolt and Brittany Thompson.
"We are very excited about the elite class that we have signed. I feel like this class will be the foundation to the program as we continue to grow and get to our ultimate goal of winning the Sun Belt Conference, getting to the NCAA Tournament and becoming a nationally prominent team," said Coach Stephens. "I feel like the addition of these girls to our program will not only add to the talent level but also to the character as all four of these girls are what we are looking for to represent the University of North Texas on and off the floor".
Godbolt, one of the top players in the DFW metroplex, was a key player in the run of Naaman Forest High School to the state tournament last season.
Thompson, the other forward, put up some of the best numbers in the state last season as she averaged 26 points a game and had a state leading 22 rebounds a contest.
Cuffie is one of the premier guards in the North Carolina region and played for perennial powerhouse Oak Hill her sophomore season, helping lead them to a national title.
Taylor is one of the best rising point guards in Texas, averaging over six assists per contest as a junior and earning All-Region honors.
Raquel Cuffie, 5-10, Guard (Winston Salem Prep, N.C.)
Cuffie averaged 12.5 points a game last season and was a National All-Tournament team selection at the NACA Championship at the Patterson school. Her sophomore season Cuffie played for Oak Hill Academy and was a member of the team that won the national title. Cuffie was also selected to the all-tournament team that season. She has been named the defensive MVP every year since the 7th grade.
"The Raq" as she is known as, is a consummate "gym rat". She loves playing the game and will bring a different dynamic to the team. She can score at will and is a strong and versatile guard. Her intensity will help the up tempo style of play that we pride ourselves on. She has great basketball IQ and brings a court savvy that we need" Stephens said.
Jasmine Godbolt, 6-0, Forward (Naaman Forest High School)
Godbolt was named the District 10-5A MVP last season after averaging 10.9 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. She was named to the TABC Region II team last season. Godbolt was part of a team that won 30 games and advanced to the State Tournament. She led District 10-5A in rebounding last season. "I think she is the most dominating inside player that I’ve have ever coached", said Naaman Forest head coach Derik Smith. "She is one of those physical players and athletes that once she gets going she is difficult to stop".
"Jasmine is a six-foot phenomenal athlete. She has one of the best verticals I have ever seen in my coaching career. She plays with the heart and tenacity of a fierce competitor. She exemplifies the vision I have for this team: Love the game and let it show. She brings winning experience from her high school, Garland Naaman Forest, and from her club team, DFW Elite" Stephens said.
Lakevia "KeKe" Taylor, 5-5, Guard (Hempstead High School)
Taylor was named to the Class 2A All-State team last season after averaging 17 points and six assists per game. She was named to the TABC Region IV team as a junior. Taylor’s was 28th in the state of Texas in assists per game last season regardless of classification.
"KeKe" is a dynamic, contemporary point guard who can do it all. She can score, pass and defend. She is simply fun to watch as she truly displays her love for the game. She is a natural born leader, who brings the best out of her teammates. North Texas fans will love what she brings to the court" Stephens said.
Brittany Thompson 6-4, Post (Texas Christian Academy)
Thompson was a selected to the 2008 Super Centex First-Team last season after averaging 26 points and 22 rebounds a game. Her 26 points a game last season was the 8th best in the state of Texas in all classifications. Thompson’s 22 rebounds a game led the state of Texas last season regardless of classification. To go along with her point and rebounding total she averaged just over 9 blocks a game. She was a Class 3A TAPPS First-Team All-State her junior season. In 2007, Thompson was an Honorable Mention to the Super Centex region as a sophomore. She was a Class 3A TAPPS First-Team All-State her junior season.
"This 6’4 upcoming star will be a big presence in the paint and she runs the floor well in transition. Defensively, she changes a lot of shots and rebounds the ball well. Brittany will be a huge factor her freshman year. She has the potential to be one of the best post players that North Texas has ever seen" Stephens said.