CHICAGO — Texas reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA women’s tournament before running into the Connecticut juggernaut, but with a strong recruiting class, the Longhorns could get there again or beyond.
Texas’ recruiting class is ranked No. 3 by ESPNw HoopGurlz but only has three players. One of those players, though, is McDonald’s All American Joyner Holmes from Cedar Hill, Texas, the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2016.
Standing at 6-foot-3, she will give the Longhorns a versatile and explosive forward. She showed that versatility and explosiveness at Wednesday’s McDonald’s All American Game, finishing with 10 points, including the East’s first six points, while showing a nice mid-range game.
While one of the nation’s best recruits could go anywhere, Holmes stuck to her home state because of the relationships she built during the recruiting process.
“Toward the end of my eighth grade year and since then, we’ve just had a great relationship,” she said. “The players that are already there, and the ones that are coming in, we’ve had a great relationship, as well.”
And Holmes, who was a member of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Team, isn’t headed to Austin by herself. Holmes’ best friend, Jada Underwood from Horn (Mesquite) will play small forward for the Longhorns. Holmes’ McDonald’s All American teammate Alecia Sutton (Parkway, St. Louis), ranked as the No. 6 player overall, is also heading to Austin.
“It was a great fit, and a great feeling every time I walked on campus. There’s nothing I would hold back from them,” Holmes said.
Holmes is named after Olympic legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and like the heptathlete, Holmes is a multisport athlete. She will compete in the long jump and triple jump at Texas. She took the year off of track this spring because of her basketball obligations, but will be able to work her schedule around basketball and her studies at Texas,
“I have to make sure I prioritize, and get my homework done first, and then I can focus on basketball, and then other sports,” she said.
Holmes said she doesn’t think much about what her name means, except for one thing.
“It’s a lot to live up to,” she said. “She had a legacy, and I want to leave a legacy as well.”