Knoxville, Tenn. -- University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer Basketball Coach Pat Summitt confirmed that she had received all final paperwork from signees Cierra Burdick, Isabelle Harrison and Ariel Massengale on Friday.
The NCAA early signing period began on Wed., Nov. 10, and all three players inked her papers that day and faxed their signed letters-of-intent to Tennessee.
"We are very excited to have signed this outstanding class of student-athletes to come to the University of Tennessee," said Summitt. "Individually and collectively, they are regarded as some of the top prospects in the nation. All three players will be an excellent fit and a complement to the players on our roster.
"Our coaching staff and team are thrilled that these talented young women will be wearing Tennessee Orange and White next season."
A number of pollsters, who rate signing classes, have given Tennessee the nod for the nation's best recruiting class. Burdick and Massengale were early commits and Harrison joined the fold with a verbal on Oct. 28.
"As a coaching staff, we talked about the fact that this would be the best recruiting class in the country. Certainly one of the reasons that we felt like we wanted to sign three in this class was the quality of the players that were in it," said Summitt.
The Lady Vols lose only two seniors after the 2010-11season, starting guard Angie Bjorklund and reserve guard Sydney Smallbone but will have a seven-player senior class in 2011-12. The incoming class of three signees will shore up key needs on the coaches' wish list.
"We identified some key needs in the class," Summitt said. "We felt like if we could get a dynamic guard and two frontline players that we could obviously put together a very successful recruiting endeavor, and we did. These players are skilled athletes who are capable of playing multiple positions. I love the versatility in each of their games and their hunger to become the very best."
CIERRA BURDICK, F, 6-2, MATTHEWS, N.C./ BUTLER H.S.
Cierra Burdick is considered to be the top forward and the consensus No. 3 overall player in the 2011 class...A versatile impact talent with all of the physical attributes to be a top scorer or rebounder...Named to the 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team...She averaged 7.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 16.4 mpg en route to an 8-0 record and the gold medal...Averaged 6.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.6 apg and 1.6 spg in 16.6 mpg to help the USA capture a 5-0 record and gold medal at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women, Aug. 10-14 in Mexico City...Earned 2010 Parade Magazine All-America third team honors...Named the 2010 North Carolina Gatorade State Player of the Year...Selected as the 2010 Associated Press North Carolina Co-Player of the Year...Honored as a 2010 ESPN Rise All-American first team member... Tabbed 2010 Charlotte Observer Mecklenburg County Co-Player of the Year and All-Mecklenburg first team... All-Charlotte Observer All-State first team selection in 2009...Played two varsity seasons at Butler High School in Mathews, N.C., and one varsity season at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C. ...In her three varsity seasons, has compiled 1,084 points and 737 rebounds...Averaged 18.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.5 spg and 1.6 bpg...As a junior in 2009-10, she helped to lead Butler to the North Carolina 4A state title and a 26-4 record...Named MVP of the 2010 state title game, scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds... As a sophomore in 2008-09, averaged 12.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.1 spg and 1.4 bpg to help Butler finish with a 30-2 record... As a freshman in 2007-08, she averaged 10.9 apg, 7.4 rpg and 1.4 apg as South Mecklenburg posted a 9-15 record...Played AAU for Boo Williams, also played for Team Unique from 2007-2009; played for Carolina Comets in 2003 and 2004 and the Queen City Jewells in 2002, 2005 and 2006... Also participates in track and field, was a 2008 North Carolina 4A outdoor state champion and 2010 North Carolina 4A indoor state champ in the high jump... She carries a 4.06 grade-point average and is in her school's National Honor Society...Born on Sept. 30, 1993 in Charlotte, N.C. ...She is the daughter of Lisa Burdick and Derrick Heard; has one brother, C.J. (5) and two sisters Emma (10) and Jillian (10).
SUMMITT ON BURDICK: "I think Cierra is very versatile. She can play on the perimeter if need be, but she's really good in the high-low game whether she is at the top of the key or in the paint. She's a really nice passer, too."
ISABELLE HARRISON, F, 6-3, NASHVILLE, TENN., HILLSBORO H.S.
Isabelle Harrison selected the Lady Vols over SEC schools Kentucky and Georgia... As a high schooler, Harrison was considered as the consensus overall No. 19 recruit in the Class of 2011 after being ranked No. 13 by Blue Star Basketball, No. 19 by All-Star Girls Report and No. 29 by ESPN Hoopgurlz...She averaged 16.7 ppg and 11.1 rpg as a junior earning First Team All State honors at Hillsboro High School in Nashville...She won a Class AAA state championship at Hillsboro as a sophomore when her team went undefeated...HHS made the Class AAA sub-state round in her junior season... Harrison also plays volleyball for Hillsboro...Her sister, DeeDee, is a 6'3" redshirt sophomore middle blocker on the Lady Vol Volleyball team... She has been a member of the honor roll all three years at Hillsboro... Harrison was a summer teammate of fellow signee Ariel Massengale in AAU basketball playing for Tennessee Flight... The Flight won the Nike Nationals in Augusta, Ga., July 2010... She was born on Sept 27, 1993 in Nashville, Tenn., and is the daughter of Ida and Dennis Harrison; Has 11 siblings, Idette, 32, Dennis, Jr., 31, Danielle, 30, David, 28, Dianne, 26, Daniel, 24, Della, 22, DeeDee, 21, Isaiah, 18, Ian, 15 and Dorie, 12...
SUMMITT ON HARRISON: "Isabelle has got a nice pull-up game. She's very skilled. She can get up-and-down and move on the floor. She's probably going to play the high post and inside more than outside, but I think she can step away."
ARIEL MASSENGALE, G, 5-6, BOLINGBROOK, ILL./BOLINGBROOK H.S.
Ariel Massengale is a high profile point guard who was an early commit to the Lady Vols...Considered the nation's best point guard in the 2011 class and the consensus fourth best overall prospect...Has been called confident, consistent, and assertive leader on the floor...She started for the gold medalist 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team...Dropped in 22 points in the semis and 20 points in the gold medal game...She averaged 10.1 ppg and 3.3 rpg...Handed out 43 assists and committed just 16 miscues in 22.5 mpg...Previously, she averaged 12.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, a team high 4.8 apg and 1.6 spg and a team high 22.2 mpg to help the USA capture a 5-0 record and gold medal at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women, Aug. 10-14 in Mexico City...Named to the 2010 Parade All-America second team...Tabbed 3A/4A all-state first team by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA), the Associated Press and the Champaign News Gazette in 2010...Selected to the 2010 Chicago Tribune All-State team and the 2009 all-area team...Named the Herald News 2010 Co-Player of the Year and to the all-area team in 2008 and 2009...Named to the 2009 and 2010 ESPN Rise All-America second team...Helped Bolingbrook finish with a No. 5 final ranking in the USA Today Super 25 in 2009 and 2010...Honored as 3A/4A all-state second team by the IBCA, the Associated Press and the Champaign News Gazette in 2009...Selected to the 2008 and 2009 All-Southwest Suburban Blue Conference first teams...Tabbed IBCA All-State third team in 2008...Entering her senior season, she has starred at Bolingbrook High School in Bolingbrook, Ill., where she has started in 81 of 87 career games and compiled 1,124 points, 284 rebounds, 386 assists and 262 steals...As a junior in 2009-10, started in 24 of 26 games played and averaged 13.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.5 apg and 4.0 spg to help her team to a 29-1 record and a state title... As a sophomore in 2008-09, averaged 13.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.0 apg and 2.6 spg to help Bolingbrook to a 25-4 record and the 4A state title... As a freshman in 2007-08, averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.5 apg and 3.2 spg to help Bolingbrook to a 28-4 tally and the Class 4A state title game... Played AAU for Tennessee Flight Silver in 2010; played for Illinois Dream Team from 2007-2009... Is a member of school's honor roll ...She was born on June 10, 1993, in Downer's Grove, Ill., and is the daughter of Anita and Carvel Massengale; has one brother, Avery (27).
SUMMITT ON MASSENGALE: "Ariel is a terrific player. She's a terrific guard and a natural leader. I think she's a special point guard because of her mindset and her competitive drive."