A veteran, experienced roster has the Colorado women’s basketball program excited about what it can accomplish this season.
The foursome that head coach JR Payne signed on Wednesday has her excited for the future of the program, too.
On the first day of the early signing period, CU signed four players to letters of intent: Ally Fitzgerald, a 6-foot-3 post from Marquette (Mo.) High School; Lizzie Holder, a 6-2 wing from Stillwater (Minn.) High School; Brianna McLeod, a 6-3 post from Kings Christian in Brampton, Ontario; and Jada Wynn, a 6-0 wing from Troy (Calif.) High School.
“All four of our signees come to CU from winning cultures and will be tremendous contributors to our program and our Boulder community,” Payne said. “They are highly intelligent, highly motivated and will be a class that Buff fans will love for many years to come.”
With the Buffs losing Mya Hollingshed and Peanut Tuitele to graduation after this season, Payne and her staff emphasized the post, and they are particularly excited about McLeod, who called the staff on Monday night to commit.
McLeod is averaging 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds at Kings Christian and the Buffs believe she can make an impact right away.
“She can run, she’s big, she’s strong, she’s physical,” Payne said. “She can jump, she can defend. She’s very skilled inside, can feel the defense and combo moves.”
The Buffs like the long-term potential of Fitzgerald, as well. She is a multi-sport athlete who averaged 9.4 points and 9.4 rebounds last season.
“Tons of upside,” Payne said. “She plays really, really hard. I believe very strongly in our player development that’s in place here and know that with her work ethic and desire to be really good she’s gonna develop into a really good player.”
Holder averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds last season and has been first-team all-conference in basketball and tennis.
“She shoots the lights out and loves to defend,” Payne said. “The first time I talked to her I said, ‘What do you love most about basketball?’ Without hesitation, she said, ‘Defense. I love playing defense. I love guarding the best player. I love pressing.’ You can see in the way that she plays. She has an incredible motor, she can run forever. She’s kind of nasty on the floor, very gritty and just awesome. Really, really tough.”
Wynn is the daughter of former Washington head coach Jody Wynn. She played three years at King’s High School in Seattle but transferred to Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., this year. She has averaged 16.0 points in her career and led King’s in offensive rebounds and assists.
“Jada is probably one of the most versatile players we’ve signed, in that she can truly play one through four,” Payne said. “She has an incredible basketball IQ. Part of that is she was raised in a basketball family but she loves basketball – like, lives it, breathes it, loves it – and that translates into someone who really wants to be great. Her passion for the game and just her overall IQ will make her very ready for college basketball.”