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Monday Mailbag: Softball, Women’s Basketball and Hockey recruiting

Overflow from last week with a recruiting emphasis

Syndication: Arizona Republic Alex Gould / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the heavy volume of questions from which to choose in last week’s mailbag, House of Sparky decided to use this week’s edition to answer all the recruiting-based questions from the inbox.

Natasha Adair came into the program with pretty much nothing/not much to work with. What does the first real recruiting class look like going into next year? ArizonaSon

Johnson: As of right now, things are looking pretty slim in the high school recruiting landscape. The Sun Devils have just one player committed in the 2023 recruiting class, Marina Radocaj, a guard from British Columbia, Canada. Radocaj has played in several international tournaments in the Canadian youth national system, and before her commitment last October, took visits to Gonzaga and Boston College.

So that part of things has to pick up if Adair wants to turn this program around. The caveat in here, of course, is the transfer portal. It’s been a disappointing first season to say the least, but how much worse off would this team be without the play of Tyi Skinner? She has been a revelation for the Sun Devils after transferring in from Delaware, averaging nearly 19 points per game and shooting the only decent percentage from 3-point distance (35%) on the team.

Right now, the Sun Devils are struggling on the court, and with Arizona having secured four of the top 100 prospects in the HoopGurlz Top 100, the gap in talents is continuing to grow. We’ll keep our eyes on the portal to see what inroads Adair makes in the portal this offseason.

Megan Bartlett came into the program, and like usual with a new coach a bunch of players left. What does her recruiting look like? - ArizonaSon

Redfern: Bartlett announced her 2024 class* in December that consists of a right-handed pitcher, an infielder and an outfielder:

Meika Lauppe is a right-hander from Pleasant Grove, California, who threw seven no-hitters and three perfect-games in her junior season on a 20-1 record at East Nicolaus High School. Two years ago, she posted a 0.56 ERA as a sophomore. Lauppe plays club ball at All-American Sports Academy.

She was a Trisha Ford-recruit, but she held her commitment through the transition. Bartlett is showing success in retaining these recruits. Kylee Magee, an Extra Innings Softball First-Team All-American, was one of the jewels of Ford’s 2023-class, and Bartlett was able to retain her. Magee is the younger-sister of former ASU football player Brandon Magee and former Sun Devil baseball player Cam Magee.

Libby Walsh can play shortstop, second base and third base, but her versatility, while impressive, takes a back seat to the grit and determination that define her character. As a sophomore in high school, Walsh tore her ACL and meniscus while sliding into a base. After her reconstructive surgery, she faced more complications and had to have multiple clean-up operations.

During her recovery, she committed to UMass, citing her familiarity with the coaching staff. After she healed, she knew she wanted to go to a Power-Five school. Soon after, she had an offer from ASU.

Jada Lewis of Chino, California is a ball-hawking center-fielder known for her speed and slapping ability. She fits the mold of above-average athleticism that Bartlett is seeking in recruits, and she used to be a gymnast.

*Bartlett alluded to a potential fourth signing to her 2024 class in her media availability on Monday. We will monitor the situation for updates.

The ASU hockey team has really stumbled the last few weeks. Injuries aside, we just aren’t playing very well. Coach Powers talks about “bad puck luck,” but that only goes so far. You create your own “luck.“ With the new arena, the Sun Devils should be able to really recruit this year. Please update us on how hockey recruiting is going when you can. - DevilDon

Redfern: I agree with you on that the hockey team’s woes go deeper than “bad puck luck.” ASU is simply not generating enough opportunities in the offensive zone. Powers has also cited his players missing some open players while on the power-play. Overall, they are just not in sync. Given how well they do on the penalty-kill and in overtime, my theory is that they have spacing issues on offense. Everything is just too congested with 10 skaters on the ice.

On the recruiting side of things, Powers has 13 verbal commits for 2023, and one pledge for 2024. He continues to leverage the Chicago Steel of the USHL, who have produced Sun Devils by the likes of Johnny Walker, Josh Doan, Robert Mastrosimone and more.

Powers has had success in the recruiting game. His issues reveal themselves in the form of translating that talent onto the ice at the NCAA-level.


Players who signed to ASU Football’s 2023 recruiting class last week

Players who had previously signed their letters of intent can be found here.

  • Kyson Brown - Running Back - Lancaster, Texas

Brown, a three-star running back per 247Sports, was the first Sun Devil-commit with former interim head coach Shaun Aguano at the helm. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound tailback also had offers from Bowling Green, Georgetown, Alabama A&M and Grambling State.

  • Jaden Rashada - Quarterback - Pittsburg, California

Rashada is the biggest signing-to-date under head coach Kenny Dillingham.

  • Sean Na’a - Guard - Bellflower, California

Na’a is a MaxPreps Second-Team All-American from high school powerhouse St. John Bosco. The three-star guard will likely be a developmental project for offensive line coach Saga Tuitele.

  • K’Vion Thunderbird - EDGE - Chicago, Illinois

With perhaps the most fitting name to ever play organized sports in Arizona, Thunderbird is the fourth edge-player in the 2024-class to commit to ASU. The three-star Chicago-native completed six tackles-for-loss and forced two fumbles in his senior year of high school.