Jackets Add Four To Nationally Ranked Recruiting Class
The Yellow Jackets added four incoming student-athletes to its top-15 recruiting class
May 1, 2014
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech women's basketball head coach MaChelle Joseph announced on Thursday that De'Ashia Jones, Antonia Peresson, Danica Piper and Simina Avram have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Yellow Jackets beginning in the 2014-15 season.
The four newcomers will join Erin Garner, Zaire O'Neil and Imani Tilford, who all signed NLI's in November, as incoming freshmen in 2014. The seven-member incoming class is ranked as the #20 overall recruiting class by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and #5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Gardner, O'Neil and Tilford previously made up Prospect Nation's 11th-rated class. The trio gave Georgia Tech a top-20 recruiting class for the fourth straight year. Blue Star Basketball tabbed the Jackets' 2014 recruiting class at No. 30 in the country while the All Star Girls Report ranks it at No. 18.
"Georgia Tech made a late surge in the national recruiting rankings," Dan Olsen of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report said. "Previously ranked #32 nationally, the Yellow Jackets moved to #20. Georgia Tech really emphasized front court depth and size in the class, signing four front court prospects. However, Tech also added 3 other backcourt prospects that balanced the class."
De'Ashia Jones is a 6'0" forward who hails from Newark, N.J. Jones played with incoming Yellow Jacket Zaire O'Neil for Malcolm Shabazz High school in Newark, N.J. Prospects Nation tabbed Jones as the #21 forward recruit in the nation and #76 recruit overall. ESPN Hoopgurlz ranks Jones as the #21 forward in the class of 2014. Shabazz was ranked as the #1 girls basketball team in New Jersey in the Star-Ledger Top 20 for the 2013-14 season and the #4 girls basketball team in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.
"De'Ashia knows how to win," head coach MaChelle Joseph said. "She has won three state championships and two Tournament of Champions titles. She has the ability to stretch the defense with her 3-point range. Her size and strength allow her to use her body to create scoring opportunities. I look forward to the impact she will have on our program over her four years at Georgia Tech."
During her senior year, Jones averaged 11.4 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. She also averaged 1.8 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game. Jones was named to the second team All-Tri-State this season. Over her high school career, Jones averaged 9.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. During 127 career games, Jones scored 1,212 points and grabbed 736 career rebounds.
"When Georgia Tech was able to secure a verbal commitment from 6-foot forward De'Ashia Jones of Newark, N.J., they nabbed one of only two remaining top 100 class of 2014 prospects," Keil Moore of ProspectsNation said. "Jones is a forward who should be able to make an impact during her time at Georgia Tech. She is a big body who can score it on the blocks or step out and make shots from the perimeter."
As a senior, Jones helped Shabazz win its second consecutive NJSIAA/ShopRite Tournament of Champions title by recording a double-double. Jones scored 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds against Manasquan, aiding Shabazz in winning the top basketball title in New Jersey. Jones had eight double-doubles this season and scored in double-figures in 19 out of 34 games. During the NJSIAA Tournament, Jones averaged 14.5 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.
"One of the more impressive things about Jones is that she is a proven winner," Moore said. "As a high school teammate of another 2014 Georgia Tech signee, Zaire O'Neil, Jones and O'Neil were able to win multiple state championships including the New Jersey Tournament of Champions on back-to-back years. Jones is a very good signee for the Yellow Jackets."
Guard Antonia Peresson comes to the Flats from Pordenone, Italy, near Venice. Peresson checks in as the #15 point guard in the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and the #81 overall recruit. During the 2013 U18 European Championship, Peresson averaged 7.4 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game for Italy. She also averaged 1.3 steals per game and shot 37.5 percent from the field. Against Spain, Peresson scored a tournament-high 12 points.
"Antonia is considered one of the top point guard prospects in Europe," Joseph said. "I am very excited to bring in a player with her international experience. Antonia has played for a World Championship in 2012 and in the European Championship in 2013. She is a tremendous play maker with a 3-point shooter's range. I look forward to the depth she will give us at the point position."
"I have had the opportunity to watch Antonia Peresson compete at the FIBA level, the highest non-collegiate level of amateur basketball, for the last two summers," Moore said. "Peresson is a gamer who will be able to play both the point guard and shooting guard positions for the Yellow Jackets. She is competitive and should really help stretch the floor for the Jackets during her time in Atlanta as she is a high percentage perimeter shooter."
She was also a member of Team Italy during the FIBA U17 World Championship in 2012. She averaged 6.2 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game during the championships. During the championships, Peresson competed against current Georgia Tech freshman Kaela Davis and the USA Team. Against Canada in the championships, Peresson scored 18 points, including two 3-pointers, while recording three rebounds. Against Mail, she scored 12 points, had seven assists and three rebounds.
"Peresson is a smooth playmaker, a combo-guard with range and has court savvy and flair," Olsen said. "She is a distributor in the open court while manufacturing in midrange game."
Danica Piper, a native of Kikinda, Serbia, was a member of U18 Serbian National Team that took third place in the 2013 European Championship and won a bronze medal. Piper was selected to play in the 2014 All World Game in Irvine, California on April 19. The All World Game took the place of the WBCA High School All American game this year and took place at Concordia University. Piper was one of 24 participants in the inaugural game and is ranked as the #61 small forward recruit by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
In both 2010 and 2011 she was a member of the U16 Serbian National Team. During the 2013 U18 European Championship, Piper averaged 3.5 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game. She played an average of 19 minutes.
"Piper is a prospect who has competed at the highest levels of the game as her Serbian national team earned a bronze medal last year in the U18 European Championships," Moore said. "She is a forward with good size and as she gets comfortable using her tools and learning how to play in Georgia Tech's system she should prove to be an excellent piece for Coach Jo and her staff. Piper knows the game and will be able add depth to both the frontcourt and the backcourt spots at Georgia Tech as she has that kind of versatility to her game"
Piper played for club Vojvodina for four seasons from 2010-2014. During the 2013-14 season, Piper averaged 6.7 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game and 1.0 assist per game while shooting 78 percent from the field. During the 2012-13 season, club Vojvodina finished in the top eight teams in the U18 national championships.
"Piper is long and agile on the perimeter with range beyond the arc complemented by midrange game creativity," Olsen said.
Simina Avram is a 6' 3" native of Brasov, Romania. Avram has played for CSS Brasovia and Olimpia SCU Brasov. Avram took second place in the national championship while a part of the Brasov U23 team. She was also on Romania's junior National Team.
"Simina gives us added size and depth in the post," Joseph said. "She has range to 15 feet. Her international experience will make her transition to ACC basketball more impactful."
During the 2013-14 season on team Olimpia SCU Brasov, the center saw action in 27 games. She averaged 2.4 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game this past season. Avram averaged 12.7 minutes per game.
"Avram is another true center in the 2014 class that provides size, bulk and physicality in the post," Olsen said. "She is a rebounder and defender thus far with growth potential offensively."
During the 2013 U20 European Championship, Avram averaged 4.2 points per game while grabbing an average of 2.8 rebounds per game. Against Israel, Avram shot 55 perfect from the field, scoring 10 points. She grabbed a tournament-high six rebounds against Bulgaria.
"Simina is a great find," Prince said. "She is a player that has size and skill. Often times players lack one or the other, but Simina comes through on both areas. There is a lot to say about her soft touch around the basketball. She has a solid arsenal with her back to the basket, as well as facing up."
Jones, Peresson, Piper and Avram join O'Neil, Garner, and Tilford as the incoming freshmen class for the Yellow Jackets' 2014-15 season. O'Neil is ranked as the #12 recruit in ELITE Prospect's top 100 players for the class of 2014 and the #5 forward in the country. She was tabbed as the 10th best forward in the nation by ESPN Hoopgurlz and has been ranked as the 39th overall recruit. The 6'1" forward earned five-stars and a scout's grade of 97 from the web site as well. She also checks in at #49 by the Blue Star Basketball Report. O'Neil and Jones paired up to win three state championships and two Tournament of Champions Title for the nationally ranked Shabazz High School. Shabazz is ranked #4 in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.
Garner is ranked at number 68 in ELITE Prospect's top 100 players for the class of 2014 and the 10th best forward in the recruiting class. She is listed as the #127 recruit by the Blue Star Basketball Report and the #149 recruit by the ASGR. She was earned three-stars and a scout's grade of 90 by ESPN Hoopgurlz. The 6' 4" forward played a critical part in Trenton Catholic's run to the Non-Public B championship during the 2012-13 season.
Tilford is ranked at number 67 in ELITE Prospect's top 100 players for the class of 2014 and 17th at the point position by Prospects Nation. She is ranked as the 24th highest point guard recruit in the class of 2014 by ESPN Hoopgurlz, also earning a scouts grade of 90 and three stars. Tilford won two national tournaments this past summer with her AAU team, the New Jersey Sparks - Atlanta SummerJam and the Adidas Nationals. For more information on O'Neil, Garner and Tilford, click