Sometimes the biggest strides on the recruiting trail are made away from the court.
Such was the case in the recruitment of Diamond Lockhart, an ESPN 100 point guard who gave an oral commitment to the Texas Tech women’s basketball team on Friday. Lockhart, a four-star prospect from Red Oak, suffered a tear of her anterior cruciate ligament during the summer before her junior season.
Despite facing a lengthy period of inactivity, Lockhart was impressed by the attention she continued to receive from Tech coach Kristy Curry and her staff after the injury and during the rehabilitation process.
“They were really the first to come into the picture and talked to me every chance they had,” Lockhart said. “Just knowing that they were there for me when I tore my ACL, I know they’ll always be there for me, and that’s important.”
Lockhart is the fourth pledge for the 2013 class and the second ESPN 100 player to commit to the Lady Raiders in three weeks. Jasmine Caston, Lockhart’s teammate on the DFW Elite club team, committed on July 16. Three-star guards Karyla Middlebrook and Jamaika Hughes have also committed.
Lockhart, who chose the Lady Raiders over offers from Virginia Tech and Ole Miss, put up big numbers as a sophomore at Red Oak before her injury. She averaged 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds 4.4 assists and 3.6 steals per game, according to maxpreps.com.
Her club coach, Daryl Horton, said Lockhart hasn’t missed a step since coming back from the knee injury. In fact, he said, she’s become stronger.
“If you saw her before, then saw her after, you would have never been able to tell she had the injury,” Horton said. “You would have never been able to tell she tore her ACL, and that’s what you want.”
Horton said Lockhart is the type of player who can step in right away at the point guard position and become a leader.
“She is one of those types of kids who has a personality that the other kids gravitate to,” he said.
Lockhart said she relishes her role as “an encourager,” a role she said Curry wants her to take on right away.
“She told me she wants me to be her point guard,” Lockhart said, “her general on the floor to run the team.”
Tech will lose five guards — Monique Smalls, Casey Morris, Chynna Brown, Christine Hyde and Mary Bokenkamp — to graduation after the 2012-13 season, so the additions of Lockhart and Caston have been key for Curry and her staff.
In addition to coaching Lockhart and Caston, Horton said he is also familiar with Middlebrook, and he believes the trio will be a solid addition to the backcourt.
“They are very skilled,” Horton said. “Sometimes you’ll have kids who are great athletes but don’t have that skill level. These three have great skill, in addition to being good athletes.”
Oral commitments are non-binding until a player signs a national letter of intent.
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