Nov. 14, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University women's basketball head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay announced the signing class for the 2014-15 academic year which includes Rolanda Hayes of Rockledge, Fla., Danneal Ford of Miami, Fla., Lauren Williams of Roosevelt, N.Y., Sasha Cedeno of Spring, Texas, and Malia Kency of Grovetown, Ga. The Owls' have the No. 2 recruiting class in Conference USA, per Dan Olson's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
Hayes, a 5-7 combo guard from Viera High School, is ranked as the 188th best player in the nation and the 40th best at her position. In her junior season, she averaged 17.9 points and led her team to the playoffs where they fell in overtime to the eventual state champions. Hayes lit up the scoreboards with 29 points in each of her final two games last year for head coach Jamie Risberg.
"There are a few words that come to mind when I think of Rolanda Hayes: competitor, driven, winner," Lewis-Jay said. "She is the kind of player you need and want to build a championship program. She is very skilled on the offensive end of the floor. She will be able to play numerous positions for us and defensively she thrives in a pressure system. Ro is one of the best guards in the state of Florida and we are beyond thrilled she has chosen to stay "home" to continue her basketball career."
Ford, a 5-8 guard from Norland High School, enters her senior season with more than 600 career points and nearly 250 assists. During her tenure at Norland, the Vikings have a combined record of 83-16. Norland made it to the State Championship game in her sophomore season.
"If you look at the success of Miami Norland High School over the course of Danneal Ford's career you can't help but get excited that she is bringing that winning mentality to our program," Lewis-Jay said. "She is a consistent contributor who, like Rolanda, will be able to play multiple positions on the court for us. Danneal comes from a coaching family and has a great understanding of the game."
Williams, of St. John the Baptist High School, is a 5-7 guard who is ranked as the 292nd best player in the country and 62nd best in her position. Her ESPN Scouts Grade of 90 and position rank of 18 are the highest among the FAU signees. A defensive specialist, Williams plays under head coach Ted Oberg.
"Lauren Williams may be the most complete player in this class," Lewis-Jay said. "She has the ability to get to the basket and is a confident shooter who has a great knowledge of the game. With all that being said, Lauren Williams is the best defender I have seen in a long time. She loves the challenge and embraces that ability to shut someone down. I could not be more excited to coach Lauren and believe she will be a great addition for us on both sides of the ball."
Cedeno is the tallest of the FAU signees, a 6-2 forward from Klein Oak High School. In her junior campaign, she averaged 17.9 points per contest, shot 40% from 3-point range, and led the district in blocks. She was named first-team all-district each of the last two seasons and has more than 60 career blocks. The Texas native has more than 400 career points and 200 career rebounds for the Panthers.
"Sasha Cedeno has the potential to be one of the best players to come through our program," Lewis-Jay said. "Standing at 6-2, she can play both on the perimeter and in the paint. Sasha has that instinct for the game that you just can't teach. She can shoot the three, break you down with the dribble, and she is a great passer. Sasha's drive, work ethic and love for the game will make her a special player for us. We expect big things from Sasha."
Kency, a 5-5 guard from Briarwood Academy, has a 3.6 GPA and will look to enroll in computer engineering at FAU. Last season, she averaged 21.6 points, seven assists, and 4.8 steals per game, upping those numbers from her 15.3 points and 5.3 assists as a sophomore at Grovetown High School. In her first year at Briarwood, she helped lead the Lady Bucs to a 23-4 record en route to making the second round of the state playoffs.
"Malia Kency is a scorer, plain and simple," Lewis-Jay said. "She can put the ball in the basket. I have been impressed with Malia's game since the first time I saw her play. A scorer with an ability to deliver the basketball will be invaluable to us. She is a multi-sport athlete, who I believe will be a fan favorite. With speed and quickness, combined with a knowledge for the game, I expect big things to happen when Malia has the ball in her hands.
"Our staff and our players have worked extremely hard to bring a class of this caliber to Florida Atlantic," Lewis-Jay added. "This is an amazing group of people we have joining our family. I look forward to working with this group of players over the course of their careers and expect big things from this class. The future is bright for the Owls."