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December 11, 2012

Wolff and staff traveling far and wide to bring in top-notch recruits

By: Marc Mullen

With his second recruiting class, Virginia Tech women’s basketball coach Dennis Wolff and his staff pulled in a pair who continued his trend of travelling anywhere to bring in the best student-athletes to the school.

Signing letters-of-intent during the early signing period in November were Oakland, Calif., native Breanna Brown, a 6-foot-3 forward/center, and Samantha Hill, a 5-10 guard from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All-Star Girls Report ranked this recruiting class as the 45th-best nationally, which follows up on Wolff’s No. 35 class from a year ago.

“We’re thrilled to be able to announce the signing of Breanna Brown and Samantha Hill,” Wolff said. “Both girls are very good students and ACC-caliber players. The signing of both Breanna and Sami will add two good players to our roster as we continue to improve our team.”

Brown comes to Blacksburg out of Bishop O’Dowd High School and is one of four players from the school to sign Division I scholarships on signing day, as the others chose Duke, Cal and San Diego State. ESPN’s HoopGurlz rated her a three-star recruit and the 27th forward prospect in the country.

“Bree is an athletic post player in a mold very similar to Taijah Campbell, our current freshman,” Wolff said. “She is very athletic and very aggressive, and a young lady who is very committed to improving as a player.”

She was offered by almost every Pac-12 school, with the exception of Cal and Stanford, and also had offers from Louisville, San Diego State, Georgia Tech and Virginia. She received interest from Mississippi State, Auburn and Cal.

Last year, she helped the Dragons to a 30-3 overall mark, 16-0 in league play, and led the school to its first Division III California State Basketball Championship, as she had 10 points and nine rebounds in the victory. The team finished ranked seventh nationally and third in California and enter the 2012-13 season as the No. 1 ranked high school team nationally in the preseason rankings.

“Brown can be a force on the glass and at the block defensively when she is assertive,” basketball analyst Chris Roemer wrote about her. “She is best on the offensive end at grabbing the offensive rebound and going back up for the score or taking advantage of those scoring opportunities that allow her to go right at the basket without using the dribble.”

Hill was a four-year starter for Eastern Commerce High School and is currently attending Blair Academy, a prep school in New Jersey. She was entertaining many offers from Ivy League schools, given the fact she was a four-time Honor Roll student and Athlete of the Year with the Lady Saints.

“Sami was a teammate of Taijah’s on the Canadian under-18 national team,” Wolff said. “She’s a combo guard, who’s a tremendous athlete and improving basketball player.”

In her time at Eastern Commerce, she helped the team win OFSAA gold in 4A basketball once and led the team to two other 4A berths. She also competed in the 2012 All Canada Classic basketball showcase and was a member of the U18 national basketball team that qualified for the 2013 U19 World Championships in Lithuania.

Also in 2012, she was a nominee for the Ms. Basketball Ontario, ironically along with Campbell. Neither won the honor, but each finished with a second-team All-Canadian selection.

“One of the things that I’ve said to many people is that she’s just scratching the surface right now,” Jason Sealy, a former coach of Hill’s, told CROWN Girls Basketball on the day of her signing. “She’s discovering her incredible athleticism and now starting to connect it with her basketball skills.

“As far as that pertains to the next level, I think the sky’s the limit. I think people are really just starting to see how great an athlete and how great a competitor and great of a young woman she is, and at the next level is where she wants to take it.”

Last year, Wolff had three scholarships at his disposal heading into the spring signing period and he used all three, including one on Campbell. This year, he still has two at his disposal and will focus on the guard position.