CHAPEL HILL --- The University of North Carolina women's basketball program signed four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, head coach Sylvia Hatchell announced Wednesday.
The four members of the class of 2017 are Diamond DeShields of Norcross, Ga., Allisha Gray of Sandersville, Ga., Stephanie Mavunga of Indianapolis, Ind., and Jessica Washington of Tulsa, Okla. All four future Tar Heels are ranked in the top 14 of the class by the All Star Girls Report and in the top 23 by ESPN HoopGurlz. DeShields leads the way with a No. 2 ranking from the ASGR, followed by Mavunga (No. 4), Gray (No. 7) and Washington (No. 14).
"This is an exciting day for our program," Hatchell said. "The addition of these four young ladies to our current roster immediately makes us a contender for national championships for years to come. They are outstanding athletes who fit our style of play, but more importantly they are all great students who will be great ambassadors for our University."
DeShields, who attends Norcross High School, is a 6-2 wing. The 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia, DeShields was the ESPN Rise National Freshman of the Year in 2010 and led Norcross to back-to-back 5A state championships in 2010 and 2011.
"Diamond is arguably the best player in the country for her class," Hatchell said. "She is a complete player who can take over a game from the guard position."
DeShields is a preseason USA Today All-USA selection entering her senior season after earning second-team All-USA honors as a junior. In addition to her stellar performances at the prep level, DeShields has also had a decorated international career. The MVP of the 2012 U17 World Championships after leading the United States to a gold medal, she also won gold in the U18 World 3-on-3 Championships in September. DeShields is the daughter of Delino and Tisha DeShields. Her father is a former 13-year veteran in Major League Baseball while her mother was an All-America performer in track and field at Tennessee.
Gray, who attends Washington County High School, is a 6-0 guard. The No. 7 player in the class according to ESPN, she was the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia as well as a three-time 3A state player of the year.
"Allisha is a pure scorer," Hatchell said. "She plays on both ends of the floor and can stretch a defense with her shooting ability."
Gray has led Washington County to a three-year record of 88-4 that includes a perfect 32-0 record and 3A state championship in 2010-11. As a junior, she averaged 32.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game en route to a state runner-up finish. Gray also has USA Basketball experience as a member of the U18 National Team as well as the 3-on-3 National Team. Gray is the daughter of Annie and Dr. Allen Gray.
Mavunga, who attends Brownsburg High School, is a 6-4 power forward. The No. 4 player in the class according to the All Star Girls Report, Mavunga was the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana in 2012.
"Stephanie is a post player who can bang with the best of them," Hatchell said. "She has a strong post body and can make a tremendous impact around the basket."
A two-time Indiana Basketball Coaches Association All-State selection, Mavunga holds school records for single-game, single-season and career blocked shots and averaged 21.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game as a junior. She also won gold with the United States U16 National Team at the U16 FIBA Americas Tournament in 2011. Mavunga is the daughter of Phillip and Jean Mavunga.
Washington, who attends Jenks High School, is a 5-8 point guard. The No. 14 player in the class according to ESPN, Washington was the 2012 Tulsa World All-Met Player of the Year.
"Jessica is a student of the game who has a fantastic basketball IQ," Hatchell said. "She's a great passer and ball-handler who can also hurt a defense with her ability to score."
Yet another future Tar Heel with international experience, Washington won gold with the United States U17 National Team at the 2012 U17 World Championships. She averaged 18.4 points per game as a junior and has scored more than 1,000 career points. Washington is the daughter of Travis and Kelly Washington.
This class is already receiving national attention and has been rated the No. 1 class in the country by the All Star Girls Report.