COLUMBIA — Dawn Staley always uses a particular vernacular when announcing a recruit. She tweets that a birdie has flown into the nest.
Over the past two weeks, she’s tweeted about four different birdies, but because she can’t publicly discuss a recruit until they sign a letter-of-intent, she couldn’t say their names. The players themselves have to do that.
The first has. Aubryanna “Bree” Hall, a 5-11 guard from Dayton, Ohio, rated the No. 26 prospect in the country, announced she was coming to USC on Monday.
Hall recently cut her final schools to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio State, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Texas and the Gamecocks. From the same hometown as rising USC sophomore guard Zia Cooke and having gotten a first-hand look at USC when the Gamecocks played at Dayton in November, Hall fills the first of what stands to be six open scholarships for the next class.
Staley has never been one to use all of her 15 scholarships, preferring to keep the roster at 11 or 12. The Gamecocks only have one senior on the 2020-21 roster at present, guard LeLe Grissett, so building for the future is a must.
Hall’s unveiling is the first addition to what’s expected to be another monstrous recruiting class. She was one of 11 uncommitted players among the top 26 in the class.
The Gamecocks are involved with six of the remaining 10, including No. 1 overall recruit Azzi Fudd.
Hall’s ESPNW evaluation credits her mid-range jumper and her versatility. The Gamecocks moved the 6-2 Grissett to guard this year and started three guards around center Aliyah Boston and power forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, so Hall could easily fit into USC’s rotation.
With three returning starters, including Boston, the unanimous National Freshman of the Year, the Gamecocks are expected to start the next season ranked No. 1. USC has held the top spot since Jan. 13.