LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech women’s basketball announced the signing of three new Lady Raiders on Thursday for its 2014 class.
Ionna McKenzie (Gotha, Fla.), Dayo Olabode (Arlington, Texas) and Courtney Vaccher (Yorba Linda, Calif.) all signed National Letters of Intent with Texas Tech on Wednesday – the first day of the NCAA early signing period.
This is the first full class signed by Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker and her staff since arriving in Lubbock in May.
“I am very excited about this class and the caliber of ladies we have coming here next year,” Whitaker said. “All three of them exemplify the things we look for in a student-athlete – attitude, athleticism and academics. They will make Texas Tech and Lady Raider Nation very proud.”
Height is a commonality amongst the three signees. All three players measure 6-foot-2, have the tools to play a variety of positions and come from successful programs.
McKenzie can speak to playing at a high level of competition when it comes to the state of Florida and on the national scale. She’s been a cornerstone to Dr. Phillips High School’s three consecutive state championships and two National High School Invitational national championships in 2011 and 2013. Her athleticism she displays comes at no surprise considering her pedigree. Her father, Rich, was a PARADE All-American linebacker and played all four years at Penn State before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1993.
“Ionna is a tremendous athlete,” Whitaker said. “She plays three sports (basketball, volleyball, track) and is exceptional at all three. It’s thrilling as a coach to sign a player of her caliber from a highly successful and quality program like Dr. Phillips. She will make an instant impact at the forward position.”
Olabode comes from one of the top 5A programs in the Lone Star State at Mansfield Timberview. She is ranked as the No. 45 overall player out of the state of Texas for 2014 and the No. 11 forward by Joey Simmons Premier Scouting Report.
“Dayo is skilled, athletic and versatile,” Whitaker said. “She can play at the three or the four and she will be good at either position. She has a ton of potential and will translate well to the college game.”
Vaccher is the second California native to sign with the Lady Raiders in the last two years, joining San Francisco native Ivonne CookTaylor. She also has a former Division I football player in the family line. Her father, Lino, played three years at Oregon (1983-85). Vaccher’s 6-2 size combined with her versatility make her a solid addition to the post.
“Courtney has size, mobility and a great basketball IQ,” Whitaker said. “She comes from a great club team playing against some of the best competition and will bring that level of intensity to our group each day.”
IONNA MCKENZIE – 6-2 – C – DR. PHILLIPS HIGH SCHOOL – GOTHA, FLA.
Ranked No. 21 player out of Florida by Florida Prospects ... Left-handed, low post inside player with pro frame ... Displays soft touch in the block ... Great shot-blocking presence with powerful body ... mobile in transition with mechanical effort ... Lettered in three sports in high school: basketball, volleyball, track and field ... MaxPreps ranked high school No. 22 in the country in 2013 and No. 1 in Florida ... 3-time defending state champions and two-time National High School Champions ... Father, Rich, played football at Penn State and in NFL for Cleveland Browns ...Interested in studying communications/broadcasting or law.
DAYO OLABODE – 6-2 – W – MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW HIGH SCHOOL – ARLINGTON, TEXAS
Ranked No. 45 overall in Texas and No. 11 at forward position by Joey Simmon's Premier Scouting Report ... "Long, athletic inside player with developing interior game ... Active on glass ... Mobile in uptempo ... tremendous upside." - Dan Olson, Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ... AAU Team: Ichiban Genesis ... 2011-12: Played all 31 games and averaged 6.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg ... Recruited by Texas, Arizona, Alabama and SMU ... Interested in studying animal science as pre-veterinarian plan.
COURTNEY VACCHER 6-2 – P – YORBA LINDA HIGH SCHOOL – YORBA LINDA, CALIF.
Strong, physical post player with good mobility and soft hands. Comfortable around the lane or away from the basket. Good size combined with versatility ... AAU Team: West Coast Premier (2011-13)... 2012-13: All-League First Team ... OC Varsity Junior of the Year ... All-CIF Second Team ... 2011-12: Yorba Linda HS Team Captain ... All-League First Team ... FCA Scholar Athlete ... 2010-11: Varsity Team ... All-League First Team ... League MVP ... ALL-CIF ... Interested in studying biology and medicine.