(Kansas City, Mo.) -- Head Coach Marsha Frese and the Kansas City women's basketball team added three future 'Roos to the mix during the early signing period with the addition of 5-7 point guard Calli White, 6-0 forward Taylor Strickland and 6-1 forward Grace Mitchell. The trio will represent the first signing class under Frese.
"I cannot express how excited we are as a staff to not only get our first recruiting class under our belts, but also for the level of quality of student-athletes we were able to sign in a short amount of time," Frese said. "It's a testament to the hard work of our staff this past July, especially lead recruiter Meredith Doyle, and to our current players who really took ownership and pride in the process."
Ranked as the 13th best prospect in the state of Arkansas, Calli White joins the 'Roos out of Southside High School where she led the Rebels to the quarterfinals of the Arkansas 7A State Tournament in both her junior and senior seasons. During her three seasons at Southside, the 5-7 White has helped the Rebs to a 62-24 record, while being honored as an all-district, all-conference, all-tournament and all-state selection. Calli is now the fourth person in her family to play collegiate basketball, joining her mom Sherry and brother Chase, who each played at Arkansas Tech, and her dad Gary, who played at UAFS.
"Calli is definitely an old school point guard," Frese said. "Not only does she have deep range, but at times I thought she had eyes on the back of her head this summer with some of the passes she threw. Growing up under the direction of her mom and high school coach, Sherry White, Calli knows all about expectations and what it takes to be successful. She has a coach's mentality on the floor and is the ultimate teammate."
Grace Mitchell joins the Kangaroos out of Plano Senior High School where she has been named all-tournament twice and all-district once, while being honored as her team's MVP last season. During her three seasons as a Wildcat, Mitchell has seen her averages rise in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks each year, after the 6-0 forward finished with averages of 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks per contest last season. Like White, Mitchell comes from a basketball family, as her sister Tiffany played at Texas A&M - Commerce and her brother Austin is currently a freshman on the North Texas men's basketball team.
"Grace Mitchell has the size, skill and athleticism to really mix things up in the Summit League," Frese said. "Not only is she a tremendous athlete but she has the length and speed to defend on the perimeter. Offensively, she is extremely comfortable with the running style we are building towards and her versatility brings a unique skill set to our current roster. Coming from Plano Senior High School outside Dallas she is conditioned for success and is comfortable with expectations that come from playing for such a high profile high school program."
Taylor Strickland comes to Kansas City from Springdale, Ark., as a top-300 player in the nation and an AAU teammate of fellow signee Calli White on Team Arkansas. Last season, Strickland set a new school record for points in a season with 524, after scoring 484 as a sophomore, and now holds Mountaineer career records in points, scoring average, rebounds, free throws made, free throws attempted and free throw percentage. Heading into her senior season, the 6-1 forward has led her team to the semifinals and quarterfinals of the Arkansas 7A State Tournament, while being named all-conference, all-district all-tournament team and all-state during her three seasons at Rogers.
"Taylor got our staff excited this summer because as a high school senior she already possesses many of skills that are on display in current UMKC senior Kim Nezianya," Frese said. "She is physical, has good range and is comfortable scoring off the dribble. Taylor's best basketball is still well ahead of her as she is just starting to truly realize everything she can do with her skill set. Like Nezianya, Taylor is also extremely outgoing and definitely brings her sense of humor with her to Kansas City."
Calli White - Guard - Signed on 11/14 at 11:54 a.m. - 5-7 * Fort Smith, Ark. * Southside High School
- Honored as an all-district, all-conference, all-tournament and all-state selection during her three seasons.
- Led team to a 62-24 record and two appearances in the quarterfinals of the Arkansas 7A State Tournament.
- Mom Sherry and brother Chase played basketball at Arkansas Tech and her dad Gary played at UAFS.
- AAU teammate of Taylor Strickland on Team Arkansas.
Grace Mitchell - Forward - Signed on 11/14 at 9:39 a.m. - 6-1 * Plano, Texas * Plano Senior High School
- Named all-tournament twice and all-district once, while being honored as her team's MVP last season.
- Averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks per contest as a junior.
- Brother Austin is a freshman on the North Texas men's basketball team and sister Tiffany played for Texas A&M - Commerce.
Taylor Strickland - Forward - Signed on 11/14 at 7:30 a.m. - 6-0 * Springdale, Ark. * Rogers High School
- Led her team to the semifinals and quarterfinals of the Arkansas 7A State Tournament.
- Set a new school record for points in a season with 524, after scoring 484 as a sophomore, and now holds Mountaineer career records in points, scoring average, rebounds, free throws made, free throws attempted and free throw percentage.
- Named all-conference, all-district all-tournament team and all-state in her three seasons.
- AAU teammate of Calli White on Team Arkansas.
The current edition of the Blue & Gold will continue their opening home slate when they welcome in cross state rival Saint Louis in to the Swinney Recreation Center on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest.