Cynthia Cooper landed her first top 25 recruit Thursday when No. 21 McKenzie Calvert verbally committed to the University of Southern California. Calvert had originally committed to Baylor as an eighth grader, but decommitted from the Bears in June to explore other options.
"I'm really excited to go to USC," the 5-9 shooting guard for Byron M. Steele High School in Texas told Full Court. "I've always lived in Texas and this is an opportunity for me to go somewhere I've never lived."
Calvert, who last month participated in the Full Court Fresh 50 Invitational National Game, chose the Trojans over Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Calvert will be a big piece in the rebuilding effort led by Cooper, who played college ball for the Women of Troy and is now in her first season as the team's head coach. The highly decorated coach, who won an Olympic gold medal, four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets, and two NCAA national championships with USC, was a major factor in Calvert's decision to head west.
"I couldn't turn down the opportunity to learn from someone of her caliber," said Calvert about the allure of Cooper. "She knows so much about the WNBA and the Olympics and what it takes to play at that level, I didn't want to pass on that experience."
The possibility of helping USC return to national prominence played into Calvert's decision. "I want be a part of the rebuilding process and set my own legacy," said Calvert.
Academics were also a major factor for Calvert, who has been named an Academic All-District student since she was a freshman. USC has the top-five pharmacy program in the country, which is Calvert's planned major.
Calvert will be joined by 2014 recruits Amy Okonkwo, a 6-2 center from Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Chyanne Butler, a 5-6 point guard who played for St. Bernard in Playa Del Rey, Calif., last season.
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