Heater makes it official, signs with Cal

Brenna Heater, Ashland's 6-foot-3 senior post, made her intentions official on Wednesday, signing a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of California, Berkeley.

Heater, who verbally committed to Cal last March, is generally considered a top 50 prospect by most recruiting services and will join six others in one of the nation's top-ranked 2009-10 recruiting classes.

"It's just an honor to be recognized," Heater said. "The scholarship itself showed how much they are relying on me. It's a huge honor. I couldn't be happier."

Heater is an inside force with perimeter range and nearly averaged a double-double in her junior season with the Grizzlies at 16 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Despite an ankle injury, she averaged 24.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in three games during Ashland's sixth-place finish at the state tournament last season.

"She's the tallest and most dominant, in terms of in the paint, that we have coming in," fourth-year Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "She has incredible spirit in terms of wanting to get better and contribute.

"You don't find a lot of kids who are her size and mobile. She wants to score, has a nice soft touch and can drive. There's a lot to work with."

Heater likely will not play in her senior season at Ashland after undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery in early October to correct an injury that's lingered since her sophomore season.

She hopes to make a return late in the season, perhaps in time for the playoffs.

"It was really hard at first to cope with," Heater said of missing her final season. "But I've gotten over it by now. We are talking about my future. It's either playing this year or being out my first year in college."

Heater is confident the surgery will have no side effects.

"I usually get in shape pretty easily," she said. "I will be OK. I'm going to be (at Cal) the whole summer, and I have a goal to get better, and I'm just trying to work harder to do that. I've never been more motivated and eager to get back on the court."

Heater will be one of four incoming freshmen next season vying for considerable playing time.

Cal loses three senior post players after this season, including All-Pac-10 performers Devanei Hampton, Cal's first three-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection, and Ashley Walker.

"There's an unbelievable opportunity for all our post players coming in," Boyle said. "The biggest thing is what they do between now and when they get here, and how much they improve.

"We are really looking forward to getting her (Heater) down here and getting her healthy."

Heater is the only player in the class from outside California and will be the second Oregonian on the roster, joining Lauren Greif, a junior guard from Portland's Lincoln High School.

Heater's recruiting class includes 6-1 forward DeNesha Stallworth, the highest ranked player in the bunch, 6-3 forward Gennifer Brandon, 5-11 guard Tierra Rogers, 5-7 point guard Eliza Pierre, 5-9 combo guard Layshia Clarendon and 6-3 forward Talia Caldwell.

The class is ranked No. 1 by Blue Star Basketball Report, No. 2 by All-Star Girls Report and No. 3 by ESPN HoopGurlz. Each recruit is ranked in the top 50 by at least one scouting service.

"We are extremely excited about this class," Boyle said. "They bring a ton of individual talent and athleticism as well as a great basketball IQ."

The Bears broke the school's single-season wins record last season with a 27-7 overall mark and a 15-3 record in the Pac-10 Conference. Cal, after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, enters the year ranked ninth in both major polls.

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