Head Coach Brian Neal and his staff have signed a highly ranked recruiting class.
Nov. 13, 2013
CINCINNATI - Xavier University head women’s basketball coach Brian Neal has announced the signings of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Jada Byrd (Lithonia Ga./Redan HS), Imani Partlow (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods HS), Marquia Turner (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover HS) and Kindell Fincher (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury HS) will join the Musketeer program for the 2014-15 academic year.
Blue Star Basketball ranks the Blue and White’s recruiting class No. 38 in the country and third in the BIG EAST, while Dan Olson of the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ranks the class second in the BIG EAST.
“Today is truly a great day for the future of Xavier basketball,” said Neal. “With the addition of these four talented players from the class of 2014, we are adding an extremely well-rounded group of young women who will represent our program and University well. This class provides us both athleticism and versatile offensive weapons. Each of these four players are 1,000-point scorers from successful, high school programs. We are thrilled to welcome Jada, Imani, Marquia and Kindell to the Xavier family.”
Byrd, a 5-10 guard, is rated as a 4-Star player by Prospects Nation and played her AAU ball for the Atlanta Celtics. Named to the 4A All-Region Team as a junior, Byrd averaged 13.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.3 assists en route to picking up numerous accolades including, MVP of the Chuck Miller Classic, All-Tournament Team at the Hoopfest Basketball Classic and Team Best All-Around Player (as voted by players and coaches). Byrd has 919 points and nearly 600 rebounds heading into her senior year.
“Jada is a big, athletic guard who can get to the basket at will,” stated Neal. “I remember watching Jada for the first time at an AAU event in Louisville. She stuck out because of her ability to score, but her floor vision and passing skills allow her to make her teammates better. She’s also tough enough to rebound the ball from the perimeter.”
Ranked 162nd and 155th overall by All-Star Girls Report and The Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, respectively, Partlow played AAU for Cincinnati’s Finest. The 6-1 forward averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds last season as a junior.
“Imani is a dominant, powerful post player who is in our backyard,” Neal said. “She is a true post player who loves contact, has great hands and rebounds very emphatically. What I love about Imani the most is that the bigger the challenge, the better she plays. She rises to meet those challenges and does not back down from anyone.”
Turner, rated as a 4-Star player by Prospects Nation, currently plays at Hoover High School after transferring from Canton McKinley. Ranked as the 71st best player in the country by Blue Star Report, the 5-7 point guard averaged 18 points, 4.8 boards, 3.5 steals and 2.2 assists last season. A 2012-13 All-Ohio selection and the 2012-2013 Federal League leading scorer at Canton McKinley, Turner set the Canton McKinley three-point record for single game (7) and single season (52) and currently has 1,007 career points.
“Marquia is a fundamental, athletic point guard who is extremely well-rounded,” said Neal. “She is a major threat from the three-point line and can score in a variety of ways. However, I love that Marquia is a natural leader and her passion for the game is contagious.”
Fincher, a 5-11 guard, is ranked 151st in the country by Blue Star Report and played her AAU ball for the Cincinnati Angels. She averaged 18.5 points, on 47 percent shooting from the field, and nearly 11 rebounds per game last year as the Lady Cav’s won their second straight Class 1A Indiana State Championship (2012, 2013). A 2013 Journal-Gazette All-Northeast Indiana first team honoree that was selected to play in the Indiana vs. Kentucky Junior All-Star Game, Fincher owns the Indiana state finals record for most rebounds with 19.
“Of all the players in the class of 2014, Kindell is one of the most dynamic scorers we saw all summer,” Neal stated. “She simply has a knack for putting the ball in the basket. While she is known as a slasher, Kindell has worked extremely hard to improve her three-point shooting, allowing her to be an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor.”
The Musketeers (0-1), who will battle the Michigan Wolverines (1-1) tonight (7 p.m.) at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., return home to Cintas Center to host Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov.17) and Longwood (Nov. 20).
QUOTES ON THE CLASS
“Jada is one of the most hard-working and gifted student-athletes I have ever taught or coached. Her best basketball is ahead of her and I know she will thrive in the Big East at Xavier University.”
Jerry Jackson (Head Coach, Redan High School)
“Over the past 14 years, I have coached Jada Byrd in basketball and enjoyed watching her develop into a very talented student-athlete. Jada’s family and friends are very pleased with her commitment to Xavier University, and feel the academic institution and the women’s basketball program will be instrumental in her maturation into an educated and productive US citizen.”
Daphne Pierce-Smith (Atlanta Lady Celtics Head Coach, AAU)
“Kindell is a dynamic player the Xavier fans will love to come out to see! She is unique in the fact that she has the ability to score around the basket, mid-range, as well as be a 3-pt threat. More importantly, I'm looking forward to seeing Kindell play a major role in the Xavier community.”
Chris Arington (Cincinnati Angels Head Coach, AAU)
“She is an outstanding person and outstanding player – one of the best with which I’ve been associated. Kindell is a fantastic teammate and has had great performances at state level including the junior all-star game. She will be a great addition to the Xavier basketball program.”
Wayne Kreiger (Canterbury School Head Coach, High School)
“I knew from the first day Marquia Turner walked in the gym she was special. She possesses great leadership skills and is always the hardest worker in the gym. I know that she will have a huge career at Xavier and can’t wait to watch her excel. Marquia is and always will be the face of our Lady’s 1st program.”
Ourtney Bryant (Lady’s 1st Academy Head Coach, AAU)
“Marquia is both a great kid and basketball player. I believe she has a bright future at Xavier University and that her work ethic and attitude will add to the team both on and off the court.”
Abbey Allerding (Hoover Head Coach, High School)
“Imani is one of the hardest working kids I have coached in my 15 years of being involved in AAU. She can be an absolute dominant player when she puts her mind to it. She is very unselfish, sometimes to a fault. Even more impressive than her basketball ability is her character. She is a great person and she will be a great asset to the University. Xavier is getting a very good basketball player but an even better person. From the moment she came on campus at Xavier, it had a great family feel. She knew immediately that Xavier was the place for her.”
Steve Sanders (Cincinnati’s Finest Head Coach, AAU)
"Imani is one of the best players to ever come out of Winton Woods High School. She has a great love of the game and works extremely hard to improve every day. She has the ability to take over any game from a scoring, rebounding and defensive standpoint."
Calvin Johnson (Winton Woods Head Coach, High School)