Illinois Announces 2013 Signing Class
Nov. 14, 2012
Champaign, Ill. - Illinois head coach Matt Bollant has announced the signing of 5-10 small forward Leah Bolton (Chicago, Ill./Marist H.S.), 5-9 point guard Kennedy Cattenhead (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook H.S.) , 5-8 point guard/shooting guard Taylor Gleason (Grand Blanc, Mich./Goodrich H.S.), 6-3 power forward Jacqui Grant (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South H.S.), 6-2 power forward Sarah Livingston (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.), and 5-10 guard/forward Mikaala Shackleford (Plymouth, Minn./Hopkins H.S.).
The class is ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 25th nationally by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and fourth in the Big Ten and 32nd nationally by Blue Star. According to CGBR, the Illini rank behind only Penn State (6), Northwestern (21) and Purdue (24) among Big Ten teams. In Blue Star, only Penn State (7), Northwestern (22) and Indiana (28) are in front of Illinois.
"We're really pleased with this class," Bollant said. "We have a diverse group with kids that can do different things. What he have in all of them is high character and high integrity and kids that are going to come here and get better. We wanted to recruit the state and feel we have four of the top six or seven kids in Illinois. I want to thank my staff. We got in here in late March and early April and by August had six verbals already. Obviously we have players that jumped on board before they saw us on the court. That's really neat about this group."
"Since coming to campus, coach Bollant has surrounded himself with quality and character, first with his staff and now with his first recruiting class" said Chris Mennig, national evaluator for Blue Star."They have put together the foundation for the future of his program - he has a group of unselfish players that have the length and perimeter skills to help him implement his offensive/defensive system."
Leah Bolton, 5-10, Forward, Chicago, Ill. (Marist H.S.)
"Leah is a great athlete that has some toughness to her," Bollant said. "She's aggressive and strong and will play the 3 or the 4 for us."
Kennedy Cattenhead, 5-9, Point Guard, Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook H.S.)
"Kennedy Cattenhead is just a physical athlete," Bollant said. "You look at her ability to move, her aggressiveness and her beautiful left-hand stroke, I think her best basketball is definitely ahead of her. We're really fortunate that Kennedy is coming. She'll fit right in with how we want to play."
Taylor Gleason, 5-8, Guard, Grand Blanc, Mich. (Goodrich H.S.)
"Taylor is a point guard that plays really fast and unselfish," Bollant said. "She's a kid that's really motivated and will come here, I believe, and excel."
Jacqui Grant, 6-3, Forward, Park Ridge, Ill. (Maine South H.S.)
"Jacqui Grant is a really skilled 3-4 player," Bollant said. "She can shoot the ball, is a really good passer, extremely long and unselfish. When Jacqui realizes how good she can be, she's going to take off. She has all the tools to be a special player here at Illinois."
Sarah Livingston, 6-2 Forward, Morton, Ill. (Morton H.S.)
"Sarah is a long kid that can play the 5 for us," Bollant said. "She can play with her back to the basket and also come out and shoot it. She has a great upside. I'm really impressed with who she is, as I am with the whole group."
Mikaala Shackleford, 5-10, Guard/Forward, Plymouth, Minn. (Hopkins H.S.)
"Mikaala is just a tough kid," Bollant said. "Her high school coach, Brian Cosgriff, has produced a number of Division I players, and he said this is one of the toughest kids and hardest workers he has ever coached. Those are the kind of players we're looking for."
"Mikaala is a tireless worker, athletic and has an extremely high basketball IQ," Cosgriff said. "She will make a fine addition to the Illinois basketball family."