Head women's basketball coach Elaine Elliott has announced the signing of four student-athletes to national letters-of-intent.
Nov. 15, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - University of Utah women's basketball head coach Elaine Elliott has announced the signing of four student-athletes to national letters-of-intent this afternoon. Joining the Utes for the 2008-09 season will be Janita Badon (Portland, Ore./Jefferson HS), Mandy Munns (Brigham City, Utah/Box Elder HS), Iwalani Rodrigues (Ewa Beach, Hawaii/Kalani HS) and Hannah Stephens (San Mateo, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS).
"We are very pleased with the beginning of our 2008 class," said Eliott. "We have addressed the need to add size and strength to our post position, get talent and depth at the point, and to upgrade our overall athleticism. These four signed athletes fit that bill and we have two remaining scholarships to complete our class in the spring."
Below is a look at each signee:
First team all-state and conference MVP in 2006-07 ... all-conference in 2005-06 ... plays on AAU teams PEBO-SO and Jefferson Demos.... played with current Ute Josi McDermott was on a travel team coached by Utah assistant Anthony Levrets ... daughter of Anne Badon.
Elliott on Badon: "Janita is a very athletic point guard who can run the offense, has great passing skills, and will defend the ball with tenacity."
High School Coach Michael Bontemps on Badon:"The thing that separates good players from great players is their level of commitment and competitive attitude. Great competitors will work harder to never let someone beat them. Janita Badon is a great athlete because she refuses to lose. She is a coaches dream. Coach Elliott is going to love her.
Ranks as one of the top prospects in Utah according to Intermountain Hoops Scouting ... Salt Lake Tribune first team all-state and Deseret Morning News second team all-state ... first team Region 5 player ... named all-area by the Standard Examiner ... named BEHS Offensive Player of the Year ... team's top rebounder the last three years ... named team captain for 2008 ... physical player who can shoot with both hands ... can also step out and shoot from the floor ... HS coach is Krisine Harding, AAU coach is Dave Hammer ... also a standout volleyball player ... daughter of Shanne and Royce Munns.
Elliott on Munns: "Mandy is a big, strong player who is targeted to be a great post in our program."
Mandy Munns on Utah: ""Playing basketball at the University of Utah has always been my dream. From my first time on campus at intensity camp as a freshman, it just felt right. The coaching staff is demanding yet positive, I love their intensity, and the players are incredible. DREAMS DO COME TRUE, and I am honored to be a UTE!!"
High School Coach Kristine Harding on Munns: "I want to be one of the first to congratulate Mandy Munns on her opportunity to play basketball at the University of Utah. Mandy, has always been a team leader on and off the court. She demands excellence and strives for it every day! Mandy, has always been a player who has wanted more. Monday through Saturday, she is playing ball, improving her skills every chance she can.
"Mandy is going to be a great addition to the Ute basketball team. She will naturally fall into the Utes style of play. Once again I want to congratulate Mandy. It has been my privilege to coach her."
AAU Coach Dave Hammer on Munns: "Mandy has been in our program for three years and has shown tremendous improvement every year. Mandy is a very hard-working, talented athlete, whose best basketball is still ahead of her. We are excited to have her join Halie and Deanne, playing for a great coach who will only make her better."
Attended Roosevelt High School before transferring to Kalani High School this year ... also member of team Kalakaua ... ranked No. 3 in the state of Hawaii ... named Roosevelt HS MVP in 2006, 2007 ... played on the Mayor Mufi Hanneman's All-Star "Team Aloha" that were the Nike Storm Tournament champions ... earned Oceanic Time Warner Cable Athlete of the Week and was twice the OIA semifinals Oceanic Time Warner Cable Athlete of the Game (2006, 2007) ... helped Roosevelt win back-to-back Division I State titles (2006-07) ... Utah teammate Hennasea Tokumura played on Kalakaua, as well as former Ute Tiana Fuertes ... Kalakaua was founded by Coach Agena and currently touches the lives of approximately 500 students on a weekly basis ... Kalakaua is a nonprofit organization committed to the education of Hawaii's youth ... father and step-mother are Darin and Gina Bailey, mother and step-father are Andrea and Gerald Walker.
Elliott on Rodrigues: "Iwalani is a pure shooter who possesses exceptional athleticism, and she runs and defends well."
Rodrigues on Utah: "I always wanted to experience the Mainland, to live somewhere different and meet different people. I visited Utah (in early October) and it was way different from home. I really liked it."
Kalakaua founder Coach Agena on Rodrigues: "Iwa will bring to the Utah program a player who can do everything because one-dimensional, she is not!
"She is so very athletic, runs the floor well, can defend the ball with her long arms and has unbelievable quickness. For a two guard, she is extremely intuitive and can get many rebounds. She can also shoot the jumper, catch and shoot, or take it off the dribble. When it's crunch time, Iwa is the player you will want to go to: taking the last shot or creating off the dribble.
"She'll surprise and amaze you with her great attitude and hard work, she's very coachable, indeed!"
AAU coach Mike Taylor on Rodrigues: "Iwa is a tremendous athlete who is relentless on both ends of the court. Her ability to handle the ball with both hands equally well, shoot both the mid range and 3-point shot with consistency and using her length and quick hands on the defensive end, makes her a multi-talented player. She is going to continue to grow as a student-athlete because of Utah's caring and knowledgeable coaching staff and high academic standards.
Ranked No. 42 nationally by FullCourtScout.com ... also ranks No. 34 in the state of California by Rivals.com and No. 14 in Northern California by NoCalPreps.com ... two-time all-state honoree ... twice named all-league and All-CCS ... named to the CaHiSports all-freshman and all-sophomore teams ... led team to the CIF D2 State title in 2006 and to the Nor Cal finals in 2005 ... also plays for AAU San Jose Cagers ... high school and AAU coach is Sue Phillips ... also a standout water polo athlete and swimmer ... daughter of Richard and Eva Stephens.
Elliott on Stephens: "Hannah will give us flexibility with her ability to play both guard positions."
Stephens on Utah: "I'm very excited about the opportunity to continue my education and basketball career at the University of Utah. I feel that Utah offers the best mix of academics and athletics, and I knew from the moment that I stepped on campus that this was the school for me.
"Coach Elliot, her staff and the team are great people and I'm really looking forward to joining the players next year."
AAU and HS Coach Sue Phillips on Stephens: "Hannah is a gifted athlete with an extraordinary competitive spirit. Hannah is blessed to have the opportunity to play at the University of Utah under the tutelage of their excellent coaching staff. Hannah's ability to play both the point and off guard positions will serve to the versatility of the Utes. Hannah's ball handling and shooting abilities make her an offensive catalyst; and Hannah's defensive capabilities are exceptional. I am confident that Hannah will be an asset to their women's basketball program. Hannah will be an excellent fit for Coach Elliott and her staff."