By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls covered all the bases with their 2013 signing class when head coach Jose Fernandez added Jayla King, Tamara Taylor, Trimaine McCullough and Paige Cashin.
"I think we're excited with this recruiting class and excited about the four young ladies we're bringing into this program," Fernandez said.
Experts are also excited about the talent the Bulls brought in. Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ranks USF's class No. 33 in the country and the fourth-best group in the Big East, while Blue Star Report ranked the Bulls with the 28th-best class.
The post is an area the Bulls having been looking to address and they filled the void in a big way by adding Cashin, a 6-foot-4 center from Newark, Ohio. HoopGurlz rated Cashin as one of the top 150 recruits in the nation and listed her in the top 20 at her position after she averaged more than 10 points and eight rebounds during the 2011-12 season.
"I like her versatility in the post," Fernandez said. "This is a young lady who will play the 4 and 5 for us, and she's going to be able to shoot it. I like her length and athleticism."
Fernandez found a lot of versatility in McCullough, a 5-foot-8 guard, who was rated as a top-100 recruit by All-Star Girls Report, HoopGurlz, Blue Star Report and Jump-Off Plus. The Edgewater High School star out of Orlando runs the floor well, excels at 3-pointers and made a name for herself with her passing skills.
"She's going to give us versatility at both the point guard and shooting guard spots," Fernandez said. "She can handle, create off the bounce and shoot the three. She's someone we've been looking at for a while."
Taylor is another recruit that has been on USF's radar for years. The 5-foot-10 shooting guard is in her final season at Gulf Coast State College and has been ranked as the 17th-best JUCO prospect in the nation by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. She originally signed with USF out of Boca Ciega in 2010 and helped her team win a Class 5A title.
"I'd be surprised if she doesn't earn state player of the year at the junior college level. She can hurt you in so many different ways," Fernandez said.
King, a 6 foot wing player, will provide USF with another threat from long range and could be a key player on defense. King also has been a star on the volleyball court at Pine Forest High School on top of being a four-year starter on the basketball court. Florida Insider Report rated King as one of the best recruits from the south and she committed to USF in August.
"This is a young lady who can play with her back to the basket, can play facing the basket and can play a variety of positions," Fernandez said. "She knows how to shoot the three, she can create off the bounce and I like the physique she brings to the team."
Fernandez's recruits have him excited about USF's future and he's happy each standout remained committed to the Bulls.
"All four of these young ladies will represent the program well, not only on the basketball floor but off it as well. I'm excited to welcome them to the Bulls' family," he said.