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Merchant discusses recruiting class

Class of 2010 includes 3 Michigan players

November 11, 2009

MSU women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant inked three recruits Wednesday on National Signing Day, led by Detroit Country Day center Madison Williams, the No. 100 player in the country as rated by

“We’re really excited,” Merchant said Wednesday night. “They bring a lot of work ethic and talent, certainly. They have high character and they’re high quality kids that really want to be a Spartan and fit the mold of what we’re trying to build.”

Merchant also received National Letters of Intent from East Lansing High School guard Klarissa Bell and Grand Rapids Catholic Central guard Annalise Pickrel.

Williams, at 6-foot-7, almost certainly will be counted on to help replace the length inside that will be lost when senior center Allyssa DeHaan graduates. As a junior, Williams averaged nine points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks per game and recorded the first triple-double in state championship history with 11 points, 11 rebound and 11 blocks as Country Day won its second straight state title.

“There’s going to be some growth needed in terms of Madison coming in and playing high-level basketball, but the length is there, her athleticism is there,” Merchant said.

Bell averaged 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds and earned first-team Class A All-State honors as a junior for East Lansing and helps continue the pipeline of local players from Kristin Haynie to Lindsay Bowen to Lauren Aitch to suit up for the Spartans.

“Klarissa gives us a lot of added depth in that transition spot, going up and down and different things,” Merchant said.

But it is Pickrel, a 6-foot-3 guard, that Merchant tabbed as the most versatile.

“She gives you a lot of depth,” Merchant said. “She can play point guard if she had to. She’s a point guard through a four-man.”

Ranked No. 154 nationally by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, Pickrel averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks per game as a junior and was a first-team all-state pick.

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