Current Rainbow Wahine help shape the future
An injury has kept Dalayna Sampton off the court to start the Rainbow Wahine basketball season. But UH coach Laura Beeman credited the sophomore forward with an assist while discussing the program’s latest recruiting class.
The Wahine announced on Saturday the signing of six incoming freshmen for the 2016-17 season, three from Australia and three from the west coast, and Beeman praised the current players for their role in the process, adding that Sampton was “the person who has been most involved in the visits.”
“Dalayna has been instrumental in our recruitment,” Beeman said. “She just does a fantastic job representing our program, representing the academic side of the University of Hawaii as well as the community side.”
The Wahine signed forward Amy Atwell (6-foot) and guards Courtney Middap (5-10) and Brittany Wunhym (5-6) out of Australia, center Taylor Donohue (6-3) from Santa Margarita Catholic High School in California, guard Julissa Tago (5-9) from South Medford High in Oregon and forward Makenna Woodfolk (6-2) from Todd Beamer High in Washington.
Woodfolk attends the same high school that produced current UH sophomore forward Megan Huff and Beeman said the connection aided in adding Woodfolk, who averaged 9.9 points and 10 rebounds last season.
Beeman said she relies on the feedback of the current players after they interact with the recruits during their campus visits in deciding on scholarship offers.
“This team understands family and understands what it takes to play for the University of Hawaii and live in the state of Hawaii, so they’re very picky about who they recruit but they do a fantastic job in the recruitment process,” Beeman said.
“This is not my team, this is their team and they’re the ones that get it done on the floor. I help orchestrate some things as well as the staff members, but this is their team and this is their game. When we do recruiting it’s 90 percent what these young ladies feel and think and know and come back to report to me about before we make a decision.”
According to the UH release, Atwell averaged 15.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in the Under 18 State Championships in Australia. Middap was the Tasmanian Female Basketball Player of the Year in 2013 and Wunhym was the Victorian Defensive Player of the Year last year.
“That’s something we’re going to need and some of the leadership she’s going to bring,” Beeman said of Wunhym, a point guard. “We’re going to lose a little bit on the defensive end and we have to try to replace that.”
Beeman said the height and versatility of Atwell, Tago and Woodfolk “will give us the ability to rebound and run, post up smaller guards again, hit the three. all those different things.”
Beeman said Donohue is a “true back to the basket post player,” and will give the Wahine depth in the post.
UH will lose seniors Destiny King, Ashleigh Karaitiana, Connie Morris, Kalei Adolpho and Marissa Wimbley after this season and Beeman said the incoming freshmen will complement the returning group and is looking for immediate contributions from the newcomers.
Beeman said she developed connections in Australia while at USC and will look to expand the program’s recruiting reach.
“Going over to Australia and New Zealand is someplace we’ve got to continue to get deeper roots,” Beeman said. “They like to come to Hawaii, it’s close, they have a tremendous basketball work ethic, so it’s definitely a region we’ll continue to explore.
“As time grows we may even get into Europe a little bit. A lot of European kids want to come over to Hawaii, they like the international feel and it’s just a matter of getting our budget to allow us to get over there. It’s a lot of travel, it’s expensive, but if we can find some really good players that represent the university well, it’s money well spent.”
Wahine basketball signees
Amy Atwell F 6-0 South Perth, Australia
Taylor Donohue C 6-3 Trabuco Canyon, Calif., (Santa Margarita Catholic High School)
Courtney Middap G 5-10 Wynyard, Tasmania, Australia
Julissa Tago G 5-9 South Medford, Ore. (South Medford High)
Makenna Woodfolk F 6-2 Tacoma, Wash. (Todd Beamer High)
Brittany Wunhym PG 5-6 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Why no local recruits? The top 3 girls out of the state of
Hawaii are going away to play in Pac-12. Did Beeman try
and recruit some of these girls? You cannot tell me some of
the top local girls cannot play at Hawaii.
Need to trust coach Beemans judgement on recruits. The local girls probably wanted to go away. Hard to turn down a Pac 12 opportunity with 1st class facilities.
Beeman offered all three of the Molina sisters out of Konawaena and the oldest picked Washington State. The other two still in school and i’m hoping UH can at least land one of them. 2 is right hard to turn down a Pac 12 school.
Molina was offered when she was a freshman.
Molina sisters were offered scholarships in their freshman year but many of our local girls rather go and play on the mainland and I can’t blame them as they want to experience new cultures and see different venues etc..Mauian5 comments are so provincial and lacking in perspective that he/she makes generalizations that makes no sense at all. If you think its easy to recruit, you try it instead of making critical comments that have no meaning at all. Nothing more and nothing less.
Coach Laura Beeman does a great job in recruiting and coaching. We are so fortunate to have her.
I have in past been concerned about Beeman’s ability to recruit, but I’m fairly happy with the 2016 incoming class. I can’t help but wonder whether their HS coach is doing the Molinas a service or disservice…only time will tell.
Future of wahine basketball has never been brighter. This program can become one of best in the country.
Thank you Dalayna!