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Thread: Breaking News - Lady Zags get first 2021 Verbal Commit

  1. #1
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    Default Breaking News - Lady Zags get first 2021 Verbal Commit

    Straight from our Lady Zag insider, the Lady Zags got their first 2021 verbal commit while the team was in Las Vegas.

    The commit is:

    Esther Little
    6'1" guard/foward
    England

    According to the insider, it may be a while before it is officially recognized as the NCAA has put a ban on recruiting for the near term, but I was assured that the commit is valid. Esther has been out much of this year with an injury, but in one of her first games back, she won player of the week. She has recently re-classified from 2020 to 2021 so she is more mature and ready to make the jump to the States.

    Esther Little 2018/2019 Season Averages:
    - 19.8 Points per Game
    - 12.7 Rebounds per Game
    - 5.7 Assists per Game
    - 1.3 Blocks per Game

    Most rebounds at a single U18W European Championship since Div A/B introduced in 2005:

    Esther Little - 97 (12.1rpg)
    Temi ###BENLE - 96 (12.0)
    Chloe GAYNOR - 89 (11.7)
    Verity PEETS - 83 (10.4)
    Erin McGARRACHAN - 79 (11.3)#BritishBasketball

    I see a young woman who is really pretty well developed, and has lots of international experience playing for the U-16 and U-18 National teams. She looks to be able to use either hand, finishes through contact, dribbles well and can outsprint even the smaller guards, keeps her head up for the quick pass, fights for position on the boards and plays defense without fouling. Looks like CLF has found another good one.

    If you want to check out Esther, check out these links:

    Link to Esther Little 2018/2019 season highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf2wFEo5M4w

    Link to Interview with Esther with lots of highlight links embedded: https://women.hoopsfix.com/2020/esth...uture-ipswich/

    Link to Esther Little's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/estherrose2001?lang=en

    Link to "Nino Severino: The inspirational story of basketball phenomenon Esther Little" with highlights: https://www.eadt.co.uk/sport/nino-se...tory-1-5642650

    A link to some addition Esther Little Highlights: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...C&&FORM=VDRVRV

    Link to Ipswich vs Reading u18 Cup Final - March 15, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJah...ature=youtu.be

    Finally some good news for the lady zags,

    ZagDad
    Last edited by ZagDad84; 03-17-2020 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Finally some good news.... Thanks ZD...

    Go Las Zagas!!!
    "Learn from the past, Plan for the future, Live in the Now!"

  3. #3
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    From Press Release from Ipswich Basketball Academy (IBA) based at Copleston High School & Sixth Form, one of the leading academies as part of the England Development Programme (EDP):

    Esther Little Verbally Commits to Gonzaga University

    Ipswich and Great Britain forward Esther Little has verbally committed to Gonzaga University. The class of 2021 athletic wing has been heavily recruited by a number of high performing D1 School’s and has chosen Gonzaga after a long recruitment process, having received multiple offers from big name D1 programmes.

    Gonzaga, who are currently 13th in the NCAA Division One rankings, were once again the West Coast Conference (WCC) Champions in the 2019/2020 season, finishing with a 28-3 record, and are expected to continue to be a powerhouse programme in the WCC in the coming seasons. This means Little is likely to have the opportunity to play a part in the NCAA tournament, as part of a top programme, as she continues to add to her impressive resume.

    The 6’2 forward has well over fifty junior international caps to her name, and has set records on the international stage for rebounds both in a single tournament (u18 Women in 2019) and total rebounds by a GB junior women’s international. Her club career includes multiple trips to final fours and junior national titles as well as establishing herself as a major contributor at senior women’s level, at the age of just sixteen, helping Ipswich to a historic treble in 2018 as a starter on the team that completed an undefeated 23-0 season.

    Esther is currently in year two, of a three-year programme at Ipswich Basketball Academy (IBA) based at Copleston High School & Sixth Form, one of the leading academies as part of the England Development Programme (EDP). During her time with the academy so far, she has led the team to the WEABL Semi-Final in 2018/2019 (losing to eventual champions Charnwood College), with the team going one better in 2019/2020 reaching the final against City of London Academy (which has been postponed, and is expected to be played later in the academic year). In February Esther captained Ipswich to National Cup success, in a 60-57 victory over Reading Rockets.

    In 2018/2019 the Ipswich youngster was named as WEABL South Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and was named to the WEABL All First Team, after leading the conference in scoring (19.8) rebounding (12.7) and assists (5.7). Her 19/20 season started on the sidelines, with a fractured foot keeping her out of action until the new year. On her return Little has again put up eye-popping numbers of 15.5 points per game, 19.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Although she did not complete enough games to qualify for the WEABL end of season awards, it is clear that she Ipswich star would have been a frontrunner for league MVP.

    The 18-year-old had this to say about her commitment to Gonzaga: “I’m so excited to finally announce my commitment to the University of Gonzaga and become part of the Zags family. I was fortunate enough to receive a number of offers from several Division One schools, but from the start, Gonzaga were top of my list, and after visiting last September, I absolutely fell in love with everything about the programme. The facilities are amazing, but every College has amazing facilities. It was their culture, their staff and the sense of family that made them stand out for me – coming from Ipswich, we have those same values, so to be honest, from the moment I visited, it was going to take something incredible to sway me”.

    Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane said “The recruitment process has been a really fascinating for Esther. I’ve been fortunate enough to go through the process with a number of our players, male and female, but Esther’s recruitment has been on another level – we have had communication literally every day for well over a year, from nearly a hundred different schools of varying levels, so narrowing it down and getting it to a manageable number for Esther to build a relationship with has been exciting, overwhelming and an amazing experience, both for Esther, her father Matt and myself as her coach. As always, she has conducted herself in an incredibly professional manor, dealing with the attention, pressure and stress of making such a big decision with her usual class”. Drane added “Esther will be in amazing hands with Coach Lisa Fortier and her amazing staff at Gonzaga, who have been an absolute privilege to get to know during this process”.

    Esther added “I can’t wait to get started at Gonzaga, working with such an amazing group of players and staff, led by Coach Fortier – who I had an instant connection with. But I also want to enjoy my final season with Ipswich one more season’s playing with the girls I have grown up with. Especially with the way it looks like this season in going to end, I want us to go out the right way, and leave our mark. I can’t really put into words what Ipswich means to me. The club represents way more than just basketball to me and my family. Gonzaga has that same people first, family culture and I can’t wait to start this next chapter”. Esther saved her biggest thank you for her father “I must also give a special mention to my Dad, who has been so supportive through this process. He’s an absolute rock for me, as well as my brother and sister. This wouldn’t be possible without him”.

    Esther will play her final season with Ipswich in 2020/21, the programme that she has been so immersed in since she started playing the sport at just eleven. Especially given the uncertainty around the end of the 19/20 season, the young star will be looking to finish this chapter of her playing career with a bang, before she heads to play at one of the best and most respected university programmes in the NCAA.

    A personal message from Esther:
    It’s been one heck of a journey. None of this would have been possible without my family, my teammates or my coaches who have been by my side through not just the recruitment process but my whole journey. From the first day I picked up a basketball to the day my dream came true, committing to play the game I love at the next level in America at Gonzaga. The belief and confidence they have given me is something which will never be overlooked. The guidance, not just through basketball but everyday life will never be forgotten.

    The biggest thank you goes out to my Dad, my absolute rock and my number one fan. You’ve sacrificed more than I can put into words which has allowed me to do what I love every day. You’ve stuck by me in the toughest times and always managed to get me through absolutely anything.

    To my little brother Isaac & my big sister Bethany. You have travelled the country, the world to support me, to watch me represent multiple teams and have inspired me every day to work harder to be the best version of me I could be and for being my best friends all day every day.

    To Nick, there aren’t enough words to show how grateful I am for all your support throughout my career. Nothing will be able to make up for the endless hours you’ve put into me as a player but more importantly a person. I never realized how much one person could truly change my life until you took me under your wing when I was going through the most difficult time in my life. You have provided me a family that has given me more than I could’ve ever dreamed of.

    And finally, I need to say a special thank you to Hazz, my mentor. I am blessed to have you by my side every day, teaching me, supporting me and hyping me up through every little thing. You’ve truly become family, and I am beyond appreciative of every lesson you have taught me and for your continued guidance.

    Ipswich basketball, from the bottom of my heart I just want to thank every person who has been with me along the way, you’ve taught me how to smile, cry, fight and love. But most importantly you’ve taught me how to live a life I love. I have been through so much adversity but none of that can overpower the memories I have made here in Ipswich with my teammates, coaches and fans here in Ipswich.
    It’s been an unbelievable ride with you all, but we are far from done yet. With the season ending this way just gives us more grit and determination for what we can achieve in my final year. The best thing to come out of my time here is not the basketball, it’s not the awards, it’s the people and the memories… these will stick with me for a lifetime.
    Article Link with some pictures of Esther and her family at Gonzaga Here:https://www.ipswichbasketball.co.uk/...aga-university

    See Gonzaga Wbb twitter for a re-tweet of Esther's announcements along with some pictures of her visit to Gonzaga: https://twitter.com/ZagWBB

    ZagDad

  4. #4
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    Great news! Welcome Esther!

  5. #5

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    Wow! I'm not usually impressed by highlight clips, but this young lady looks good. Runs very well, lefty but can go either hand around the rim. Works hard on defense and rebounds. Great court vision, throws some amazing passes. She values the family feel of GU, especially since she lost her mother not long ago. I'm trying to think who she compares to, maybe Elle T or Jill B but better ball handling and passing at this age. She is similar the St Mary's guard from Australia, Sam Simons. Tall but able to handle the ball well.
    Thanks for sharing ZD! Looking forward to watching Esther play in the Kennel!!

  6. #6
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    What about the #95 on ESPN top 100 (2020) McKayla Williams.... 6' 1" WING, supposedly is a Verbal commit to GU? From Windward HS, CALIF.
    Maybe I missed this on another thread????

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kemo 1966 View Post
    What about the #95 on ESPN top 100 (2020) McKayla Williams.... 6' 1" WING, supposedly is a Verbal commit to GU? From Windward HS, CALIF.
    Maybe I missed this on another thread????
    I think she would be signed at this point, not a verbal. This thread is first commit for the following class, '21.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kemo 1966 View Post
    What about the #95 on ESPN top 100 (2020) McKayla Williams.... 6' 1" WING, supposedly is a Verbal commit to GU? From Windward HS, CALIF.
    Maybe I missed this on another thread????
    Better than a Verbal, Kemo. She signed an NLOI back on November 13. Here's the link to the gozags.com atrticle, along with the articles for Lily Scanlon and Yvonne Ejim.

    https://gozags.com/news/2019/11/13/w...-williams.aspx

    https://gozags.com/news/2019/11/13/w...of-intent.aspx

    https://gozags.com/news/2019/11/13/w...of-intent.aspx

    Spokesman review article.
    https://www.spokesman.com/stories/20...iams-lily-sca/

    Related topic: I'll be updating the Roster in the Sticky at the top of this Forum titled, "Looking at this Year's Roster", soon to include Esther Little for the 2021-2022 season. It already includes Yvonne Ejim, Makayla Williams, and Lily Scanlon for next year's team, all three with NLOI's. You can view it at any time to see the latest forecast for future rosters. Its been around now for several years and has over 51,000 views to date.

    .

  9. #9
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    Esther's local paper has run a nice article on our newest recruit: https://www.buryfreepress.co.uk/spor...tball-9104340/
    It's a nice read.
    SLOZag
    "Kids come here to better their own lives, not ours. If you take a player’s failures as a personal affront…. check yourself." - Chick-Stratino'sUrDaddy

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