WHITAKER SIGNS FIRST CLASS
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech women's basketball announced the signing of three new Lady Raiders on Thursday for its 2014 class.
Ionna McKenzie (Gotha, Fla.), Dayo Olabode (Arlington, Texas) and Courtney Vaccher (Yorba Linda, Calif.) all signed National Letters of Intent with Texas Tech on Wednesday - the first day of the NCAA early signing period.
This is the first full class signed by Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker and her staff since arriving in Lubbock in May.
"I am very excited about this class and the caliber of ladies we have coming here next year," Whitaker said. "All three of them exemplify the things we look for in a student-athlete - attitude, athleticism and academics. They will make Texas Tech and Lady Raider Nation very proud."
Height is a commonality amongst the three signees. All three players measure 6-foot-2, have the tools to play a variety of positions and come from successful programs.
McKenzie can speak to playing at a high level of competition when it comes to the state of Florida and on the national scale. She's been a cornerstone to Dr. Phillips High School's three consecutive state championships and two National High School Invitational national championships in 2011 and 2013. Her athleticism she displays comes at no surprise considering her pedigree. Her father, Rich, was a PARADE All-American linebacker and played all four years at Penn State before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1993.
"Ionna is a tremendous athlete," Whitaker said. "She plays three sports (basketball, volleyball, track) and is exceptional at all three. It's thrilling as a coach to sign a player of her caliber from a highly successful and quality program like Dr. Phillips. She will make an instant impact at the forward position."
Olabode comes from one of the top 5A programs in the Lone Star State at Mansfield Timberview. She is ranked as the No. 45 overall player out of the state of Texas for 2014 and the No. 11 forward by Joey Simmons Premier Scouting Report.
"Dayo is skilled, athletic and versatile," Whitaker said. "She can play at the three or the four and she will be good at either position. She has a ton of potential and will translate well to the college game."
Vaccher is the second California native to sign with the Lady Raiders in the last two years, joining San Francisco native Ivonne CookTaylor. She also has a former Division I football player in the family line. Her father, Lino, played three years at Oregon (1983-85). Vaccher's 6-2 size combined with her versatility make her a solid addition to the post.
"Courtney has size, mobility and a great basketball IQ," Whitaker said. "She comes from a great club team playing against some of the best competition and will bring that level of intensity to our group each day."