Nov. 15, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Riding the momentum from the school’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, the Florida State women’s basketball team has put together the best recruiting class in school history. Seminole head coach Sue Semrau announced on Thursday (November 16) the addition of four players for the 2008-09 campaign.
The signing class has been rated the eighth-best in the country by Hoopgurlz.com. Florida State is just one of seven school in the country to sign a pair of top-35 players.
The quartet that comprises this highly-regarded classes are all nationally recognized players. As versatile a player as you’ll find in Florida, 6-foot-1 forward Kayli Keough (Land O’Lakes, Fla.) is a two-sport standout. Five-foot-nine guard Alexa Deluzio (Windemere, Fla.) was one of the most highly sought-after players in the state. At the wing is 6-foot-1 Chasity Clayton (Alexandria, Va.), which Hoopgurlz lists as the No. 32 prospect in the land. Center Cierra Bravard (Sandusky, Ohio), a 6-foot-4 center, is rated as the number seven player in the country by Hoopgurlz.com.
“This is an excited day for Florida State women’s basketball,” Semrau said. “This class is an exceptional mix of talent. Each player has great strengths which compliment our basketball team on and off the court. Our staff, and Angie Johnson in particular, raised the bar Florida State recruiting classes to come.”
Perhaps the most versatile player in the class is Keough, who can play any number of positions on the floor. A two-year Honorable Mention All-America selection by Street & Smith, last year she collected her first 5A All-State honors from the FSA. As a junior she averaged 21.0 ppg., 8.8 rpg., 5.3 asp., 5.1 steals per game and 3.3 blocks per game. Keough has shown great leadership abilities for Laurie Pacholke’s Land O’Lakes High School team as a three-year team captain.
Keough has been a standout for Pacholke’s Tampa Extreme AAU team, leading the squad to the US Junior National tournament. In 2005, she was named tournament MVP after leading her squad to the 2005 Florida USSSA State title. That same season she was chosen for the Extreme Hoops Classic All-Tournament team. A two-year all-area selection and three-time All-Suncoast Conference selection, she was rated as one of the top players in the state of Florida. Keough also excels on the volleyball court where she was a 2007 Honorable Mention All-State selection.
“Kayli, to our advantage, fell under the radar,” Semrau noted. “We love her ability to slash, rebound and shoot the basketball. She is the consummate team player with unlimited athletic potential.”
Keeping the best players in the state is always a priority for the Seminoles and they’ve done that with the two in-state players. Over the last three years, DeLuzio has been one of the most decorated players in Florida. A two-time AAU All-American (2005-06), she earned Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-America accolades the last two years. DeLuzio is no stranger to winning championships as her Orlando Comets, coached by Jack Givens, won the 2006 AAU 16U National Championship and her First Academy prep team is the two-time defending FHSAA 2A champions for former head coach Steve Murray..
As a junior she averaged 17.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 3.0 assists per game on her way to her second Class 2A All-State selection from the Florida Sportswriters Association. As a sophomore she was named 2A Player of the Year while earning the first of two FHSAA All-Tournament Team honors. Last season she was chosen for the Final Four All-Tournament team. DeLuzio has earned a trio of All-Central Florida First Team awards to go along with two regional selections and a trio of all-county awards.
“Alexa has been a player I’ve dreamed of at Florida State since she was in middle school,” Semrau admitted. “She is a pure shooter with a tremendous will and skill set. She is very familiar with championship basketball.”
Clayton along with Bravard gives Florida State one of the best tandems of any signing class in the country. She was a three-year Honorable Mention All-American by Street and Smith. A VISGBA Division I All-State selection in 2006, she also earned adidas Top Ten Camp Underclass All-Star accolades that year. A four-star recruit, Hoopgurlz has her listed as the eighth-best player at her position.
Last season Clayton averaged 14.1 ppg. and 10.0 rpg game to earn Honorable Mention Virginia Prep Groups AAA as well as All-Metro Honorable Mention honors. The last two seasons her Edison High School team, under the direction of Dianne Lewis, has been the Class AAA runner-up at the state tournament. Clayton also plays for James Nichols’ Team Unique AUU squad.
“Chasity has unlimited potential as a wing player,” Semrau added. “She is one of the most versatile guards we’ve had enter our program as a freshman. Her love for the game and Florida State is contagious.”
A 2007 Street & Smith Sporting News Honorable Mention All-American last year, Bravard was selected as the 2007 Ohio Division II Player of the Year at Perkins High School for head coach Ray Neil. Named First-Team All-State and Sandusky Bay Conference Player of the Year, Bravard averaged 22.3 points per game, 9.0 rebounds per game and 3.5 blocks per game.
Listed as the second-best center prospect by Hoopgurlz, the five-star recruit was a finalist for Miss Ohio Basketball as a junior. The lone unanimous selection for the All-Sandusky Bay Conference – for either the girls’ or boys’ team – she also earned all-district honors. Bravard plays on the SMAC-Showtime AAU team for Andre Gault.
“Cierra is possibly the most skilled and determined post player I’ve seen coming out of high school,” Semrau said. “She has great size, strength and even better mind for the game.”
This is the second year in a row Florida State has signed a pair of Top 75 players. This season’s freshman class includes forward Antionette Howard – the No. 41 player in the country – and 52nd ranked guard Courtney Ward.
Florida State is back on the road for its next two games as it travels to the DePaul Invitational. FSU takes on No. 25 DePaul Friday at 8 p.m. (EST). The game can be heard live on 1270 AM and at www.semioles.com.