Cal Women's Basketball: Bears Sign Nation's Sixth-Ranked Recruiting Class
New Cal coach Charmin Smith is off to an outstanding start in recruiting, and on Wednesday, the Bears announced the signing of four players that make up a class that is ranked as the sixth-best in the country by ESPNW Hoopgurlz.
Only Oregon, UConn, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Stanford have classes that rank higher.
Here is Cal's entire release on the signings:
Head coach Charmin Smith and the Cal women’s basketball team are excited to officially announce their highly-touted recruiting class for the 2020-21 season, as the Golden Bears signed four players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
The class, ranked sixth in the nation by espnW Hoopgurlz rankings, features three five-star recruits in Dalayah Daniels (Seattle, Wash./Garfield High School), Michelle Onyiah (Eastvale, Calif./Eleanor Roosevelt), and Fatou Samb (Houston, Texas/Westside High School), along with international guard Ornela Muca (Athens, Greece), a member of the Under- 18 Albanian Women’s National Team.
“Our 2020 class is comprised of student athletes who are truly gifted as basketball players and who understand the value of a Cal degree,” Smith said. “Dalayah, Fatou, Michelle, and Ornela embody the type of people we want in our Cal basketball family. They are willing to commit to this program and we are lucky to have them.”
The second-highest rated forward and the 14-ranked prospect overall in the 2020 class, Daniels looks to bring elite athleticism and a dynamic skill-set to Berkeley.
“[Dalayah’s] versatility sets her apart from most of the class and I truly believe she is just scratching the surface when it comes to her potential,” said Smith. “She’s a high-motor, athletic forward, who can make you pay from the perimeter or in the paint. She’s going to be well-prepared to come in and compete in this challenging Pac-12 conference.”
A 6’3” forward, Daniels is entering her senior year at Garfield High School, where she is the two-time reigning Metro League MVP and led the Bulldogs to the Metro League Championship in 2019. As a junior, Daniels averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, and four assists per game on the way to capturing all-state honors. Daniels plays her club ball for Tree of Hope (EYBL) under coach Maruice Hines, and has competed at Nike Nationals.
A California native and standout at Eleanor High School in Eastvale, Onyiah will also add explosivity to the Bears’ front court.
“Michelle’s athleticism is unmatched,” Smith said. “She has a knack for rebounding and a strong presence defensively. She runs the floor effortlessly! Her love for her teammates is obvious and she is a phenomenal fit for our strong team culture.”
An elite rebounder, Onyiah averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds per game last season for Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Onyiah plays her club ball for Cal Sparks gold (EYBL) under coach Elbert Kinnebrew and boasts one of the top rebounding averages in EYBL. Also a standout in track and field, Onyiah competed at the CIF Championships in the triple, long, and high jump.
Rounding out Cal’s trio of five-star recruits is Samb, who will give the Bears another key presence in the post.
“Fatou is the first player to come to us from state of Texas straight out of high school,” said Smith. “She’s a skilled low-block player with size and mobility. She will work to fill the spot left vacant with the graduation of [Chen Yue] and [CJ West] this spring.”
Another Top-100 prospect, Samb is the No. 6 post prospect in the Class of 2020, according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz. Samb is a two-time Defensive Player of District 6A for Westside High School in Houston, also earning First-Team All-District honors each of the last two seasons. A 6’4” forward/center, Samb averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game last season while helping lead her team to the regional finals. Samb played her club ball for Cy-Fair Premier National under coach Chris Johnson and also earned a spot at the USA Basketball 16u Team Trials Camp.
A combo guard with the ability to both create and score, Muca brings international flair to the Bears backcourt.
“Ornela is an explosive guard with deep range,” Smith said. “She is a slasher who can find her way to the paint and make plays. Her international experience gives her a craftiness that will make her hard to guard.”
Though currently residing and competing in Athens, Greece, Muca has Albanian citizenship and represented her country at the FIBA Under-18 Women’s European Championships in 2019. Muca has helped lead her Greek club, Panathinaikos, to a first place finish in the Under-18 Regional Championship of Athens (ESKA) and a second-place result in the U18 Championship of Greece. An all-star selection as well at the American Community School of Athens, Muca has also competed in track and field, and is a standout in the classroom and a member of the National Honor Society.
The 2019-20 Golden Bears will be back in action this Sunday, hosting UC Riverside at 5 p.m. PT at Haas Pavilion. Sunday’s game marks the home opener from the Bears, who return to Berkeley after a narrow 72-61 loss on the road at No. 5 UConn the last time out.
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
High School: Garfield High School
Club Team: Tree of Hope EYBL
High School/Club Ball: Ranked No. 14 overall by ESPN’s HoopGurlz and the No. 2 post in the Class of 2020…Two-time Metro League MVP… Two-time All-State selection…Led Garfield to a Metro League Championship in 2019…Averaged 21 points per game, 14 rebounds per game, 4 assists per game, 4 blocks per game as a junior
Personal: Daughter of Deborah Nagle and Dale Daniels…Father, Dale, played basketball at Central Washington.. Chose Cal because of the education, people, and family atmosphere… Hopes to study business
What they’re saying:
“Athletic interior prospect with quickness in the paint; baseline attacker finishes plays in the lane over defenders; mobile in up-tempo game; a skilled front court performer in the class of 2020.” - Dan Olson, ESPNW Hoopgurlz
Hometown: Athens, Greece
High School: American Community School of Athens
Club Team: Panathinaikos
International: Member of the Under-18 Albanian National Team.. Competed at the FIBA Under-18 Women’s European Championships in 2019
High School/Club Ball: Plays club ball for Greek side Panathinaikos under coach Eleni Kapogianni… Helped Panathinaikos to a first-place finish in the Under-18 Regional Championship of Athens (ESKA) and a second-place result in the U18 Championship of Greece… All-star selection as well at the American Community School of Athens… Also competed in track and field
Personal: Daughter of Valentina and Pellumb Muca….Enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading… Interested in studying molecular and cell biology… Chose Cal for the outstanding academics, excellent basketball program, united community, and welcoming spirt on campus
Hometown: Eastvale, Calif.
High School: Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Club Team: Cal Sparks Gold
High School/Club Ball: Ranked No. 34 overall by ESPN’s HoopGurlz and the No. 9 overall post in the Class of 2020… Averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds per game last season for Eleanor Roosevelt High School… Plays her club ball for Cal Sparks gold (EYBL) under coach Elbert Kinnebrew… Top rebounding averages in EYB in summer 20219… Also a standout in track and field, competing at the CIF Championships in the triple, long, and high jump
Personal: Daughter of Tina and Levi Onyiah…Sister, Onyeka, attended Cal and graduated in 2014…Chose cal for the academics, team, and family aspect of the school… Also enjoys mountain biking, building go-kart, and designing things on CAD and Fusion…Competed in track and field in high school as well
What they’re saying:
“Athletic interior prospect with a high ceiling; quick in the paint, aggressive on the glass brings emerging offensive arsenal to the paint; superb in transition game; defends in the block; a potential power-5 star.” - Dan Olson, ESPNW Hoopgurlz
Hometown: Houston, Texas
High School: Westside High School
Club Team: Cy-Fair Premier National
High School/Club Ball: Ranked No. 53 overall by ESPN’s HoopGurlz and the No. 6 overall post in the Class of 2020… Two-time Defensive Player of District 6A for Westside High School in Houston…Two-time First-Team All-District selection…. Averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game last season to lead Westside High School to the regional finals… played her club ball for Cy-Fair Premier National under coach Chris Johnson… Earned a spot at the USA Basketball 16U Team Trials Camp.
Personal: Daughter of Mariama and Alassane Samb… Also enjoys reading and watching movies… Intends to major in business.. Chose Cal for the education opportunity, diversity of campus, connection with team, and the opportunity to compete in the Pac-12
What they’re saying:
“Skilled low-post prospect with efficient interior game; post up game yields results; defends in the paint, rebounds and initiates the fast break; mobile in transition game; emerges and elite front court prospect in the class of 2020.” - Dan Olson, ESPNW Hoopgurlz