A year after reeling in the nation’s No. 17 recruiting class eight months on the job at LSU, second-year coach Kim Mulkey showed what she could do with a full season under her belt.
Mulkey, whose team opened the 2022-23 season Monday with a 125-50 victory, announced a four-member signing class Wednesday that was rated No. 1 by ESPN, a star-studded group that included the nation’s top-rated player in Mikaylah Williams of Bossier City.
Williams is joined by three other players ranked in the top 60 according to several different recruiting services.
LSU landed teammates from The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee in 6-5 center Aalyah Del Rosario (No. 4) and point guard Angelica Velez (No. 21). The Tigers also signed 6-1 wing player Janae Kent (No. 58) of Oak Forest, Illinois.
The 6-foot Williams of Parkway High School, a five-star player where she averaged 22.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals, is regarded as the top player in the Class of 2023 by Prospects Nation, Jr. All-Star National and ASGR Basketball. She’s won a pair of gold medals while representing the United States, including this summer at the FIBA U17 World Cup. She was also selected MVP during Team USA’s gold medal performance during FIBA’s 3-on-3 U18 World Cup in 2021.
“Mikaylah is an incredibly special student-athlete,” Mulkey said. “Being from North Louisiana, Mikaylah chose to stay home and compete for championships as a Tiger. Her immense talent, combined with her unmatched work ethic sets her apart – making her the top player in the country. LSU fans you are in for a treat.”
Mulkey signed her first true center at LSU in Del Rosario, a five-star prospect, who considered the nation’s top player.
“Aalyah brings a dominant inside presence to our front court,” Mulkey said. “She has closely followed post players that I have coached in the past and has the capability to be the next great post player at LSU. I can’t wait to get Aalyah to Baton Rouge and get to work.”
Del Rosario averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds during her junior season at The Webb School. She also dished out four assists and was a finalist for the 2022 TSSAA Division II-A Miss Basketball Award.
The combination of Del Rosario and Velez helped The Webb School to the Tennessee Division II-A state title in the 2021-22 season.
Velez is a four-star prospect that averaged 13 points last season.
“Angelica is a true point guard who brings a competitive edge to Baton Rouge,” Mulkey said. “As a former point guard, I appreciate her ability to make her teammates look great. Her on-court leadership is phenomenal and will be sure to have a huge impact on our team for years to come.”
Kent, a four-star prospect, is the product of a basketball background with both of her parents having played in college. She was the South Suburban Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-State selection at Oak Forest High, where she’s already scored more than 1,000 career points. She averaged 25 points and nine rebounds last season.
“Janae brings much needed size to our perimeter,” Mulkey said. “Her versatility is a huge part of her game. From scoring to rebounding, she can affect the game in a variety of ways with her length. She is going to come to Baton Rouge ready to get to work and we are excited to see what she accomplishes at LSU.”