COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland women’s basketball team will welcome three stellar players to its family for the 2014-15 season, head coach Brenda Frese announced Thursday. Kristen Confroy (Solon, Ohio/Solo High School), Aja Ellison (Burlington, N.J./Life Center Academy) and Kiara Leslie (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs High School) make up the 11th top-15 recruiting class brought in by Frese and her staff in her 12 years.
All three are ranked in the top 100 of the class of 2014. Confroy, a guard, is ranked the No. 51 overall recruit. Ellison is ranked No. 45 and Leslie, a guard, comes in at No. 54 overall. Together, they are the 11th-ranked class of 2014.
“We think we’ve added three quality players and people into our program with this 2014 class. This isn’t a big class like we’ve had before, but it’s an important class,” Frese said. “We think they can each develop into players that are solid pieces in our program. We want student-athletes that bring great values and work ethics - if you have those you can really blossom. Each of these three brings a little something different to our team and we’re excited to have them and their families officially into our program.”
“I need to thank everyone connected to our program for all the time and effort they put into recruiting. We really take pride in how hard we work and not being outdone in any category. I also want to thank the families that allowed us to get to know their daughters and recruit them to Maryland.”
Kristen Confroy ∙ 5-8 ∙ Guard
Hometown: Solon, Ohio
High School: Solon High School (Trish Kruse)
AAU Team: SMAC Lady Ballers (Carlos Shea-Ron)
About Confroy: Ranked the No. 51 overall player by Blue Star and No. 55 by All Star Girls Report… averaging 17.9 points, 4.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game through her three years…Miss Basketball finalist this past year…named a NOC All-Conference player in each of her three seasons so far and NOC Player of the Year as a junior…honored as an All-Star by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in her senior year…named First Team All-Ohio as a junior and Third Team as a sophomore…served as team captain and was team MVP in her junior year…named Defensive Player of the Year as a junior…honored with Integrity & Hustle Award…also played softball and soccer at Solon High School…named a Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star in soccer…named NOC All-Conference in last two years in soccer…named First Team All-Greater Cleveland and Second Team All-District in soccer as a junior…honored as Plain Dealer Player of the Year, NOC Player of the Year and team Offensive Player of the Year in softball as a junior…named NOC All-Conference in freshman, sophomore and junior seasons in softball…honored as team MVP as a sophomore and served as team captain as a sophomore and a junior.
Brenda Frese on Confroy: “Kristen is a young lady that I saw out in Ohio, competing against Malina Howard. She really impressed me with how many different ways she could help her team. She comes from an outstanding family. We had her at our camp and were so impressed. She’s got a nice midrange game. She’s a three sport high school star, which tells you about her athletic ability and competitive drive. She’s going to help us in our guard rotation.”
Trish Kruse on Confroy: "It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm to announce that Kristen Confroy has chosen to continue her academic and basketball collegiate career at the University of Maryland. Throughout her four year career she has been committed to doing things the right way on and off the court. As head coach of the Solon Lady Comet’s Basketball Program, I could not be more proud of the player and person that Kristen has become. Kristen's legacy at Solon High School is much more than broken records and championships. She has made a much deeper impression on the younger players in this basketball program that will bring championship seasons for years to come. Emulating Kristen means hard work, dedication, high quality character on and off the court and nothing but the highest of expectations. Kristen is the most gifted girls’ basketball player that I have had the pleasure of coaching – her skill level and knowledge of the game has made her one of the top shooting guards in the country in the Class of 2014. The Maryland basketball program is getting an outstanding character quality student-athlete and will be an excellent fit to continue the Terp tradition of excellence.”
Carlos Shea-Ron on Confroy: "From the first time I saw Kristen Confroy in a gym, I knew should was special. She has exceeded all my expectations as a player and as a student-athlete. The footprints she's laid for other players in our club to follow in are more significant than she will ever know. Most coaches go through their whole careers and never have a chance to coach someone like KC. She represents everything that a student-athlete is and should be. She is just an incredible young woman that I've had to pleasure to know and coach."
Confroy on Maryland: “The University of Maryland is everything I always wanted in a school and in a basketball program. The high academic and athletic standards are all that I have ever dreamed of. The family atmosphere between coaches and players is truly amazing and I cannot wait to be a part of it all!”
Aja Ellison ∙ 6-3 ∙ Forward
Hometown: Burlington, N.J.
High School: Life Center Academy (Ron Kessler)
AAU Team: Team Final (Pervis Ellison)
About Ellison: Rated No. 45 overall by All Star Girls Report and No. 59 by Blue Star…has scored 950 points and 600 rebounds in three years…averaged a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards per game as a junior…helped team win the National Association of Christian Athletes Division I national title as a junior…named the Most Improved Player on her team in 2013…named MVP of the All-City Classic last year…played freshman and sophomore seasons at Shipley School, where she was Team MVP…named All-State in freshman and sophomore years and All-State MVP as a sophomore…team won Friends League in both 2011 and 2012…Boo Williams Invitational Champion in 2010 and 2011 and named MVP…National Invitational High School Tournament contender…father, Pervis Ellison, coached her AAU team…father played at Louisville and won 1986 national title…he went on to be the No. 1 NBA draft pick in 1989 and played for the Sacramento Kings, Washington Bullets, Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics…mother, Timi, ran track at Maryland…named a Top Fashion Model of Philadelphia in 2009.
Brenda Frese on Ellison: “Aja is a Maryland legacy- her mom, Timi, was a sprinter here on the track team. Most folks know her dad, Pervis, was a college star and played in the NBA. A neat little story- Aja’s family and Lexie Brown’s family were with the Boston Celtics at the same time, so they go way back. Aja is still pretty new to basketball, but she has attributes that few other girls her size possess. She can really run the floor and elevate. As we got to know her, we became convinced that she’s really bright and motivated to develop into a good player.”
Ron Kessler on Ellison: "I have had the privilege to coach Aja Ellison over the past two years. Our coaching staff and school are so excited that Aja has chosen Maryland to get her college education and play basketball. As a student-athlete Aja has been a coach's dream! She has excelled in the classroom as one of the top students in her class with a current 3.9 GPA. On the court, with just four years of competitive play under her belt, Aja has made tremendous strides in improvement of her basketball skills and ability. As one of the most athletic girls I've ever coached in my 14-year coaching career, Aja's continued growth of her basketball skill sets will bring Maryland a complete student-athlete. In three years of high school basketball Aja has scored 950 points and collected just over 600 rebounds. She has such a promising future ahead at Maryland. Aja's sweet spirit, huge heart and unbelievable work ethic has made her one of the most enjoyable players that I have ever coached!”
Pervis Ellison on Ellison: “Aja has great leadership qualities. She's a winner and she's won on every level - rec ball, AAU, middle school and high school. Aja is a coach’s dream because she plays with high energy on both ends of the court. “
Ellison on Maryland: "From Louisville to Notre Dame To Stanford and North Carolina….. One school stood out which I did not include in the four… MARYLAND! Ever since my unofficial visit to the university my freshman year, the school remained in my thoughts. The girls on the basketball team was more than a team - they were a FAMILY. The deal was sealed when I came for another unofficial visit this summer. The location - PERFECT…not far from family. The school - PERFECT… great academics and a wonderful journalism program. The academic support - PERFECT…. my mother’s old roommate helps with tutoring and academic advising. And, last but not least…. the basketball program. I know that I am a talented young basketball player with a lot to learn. Coach Frese and her assistants have shown me that they can help develop me into one of the best basketball players that I can be…. They believe in me. THERE WERE NO DOUBTS AFTER MY LAST VISIT TO MARYLAND THAT IT WAS MY HOME.”
Kiara Leslie ∙ 5-11 ∙ Guard
Hometown: Holly Springs, N.C.
High School: Holly Springs High School (Richard Young)
AAU Team: Garner Flames (Arne Morris)
About Leslie: Ranked No. 52 overall player, No. 8 guard and earned scouts grade of 96 by ESPN’s Hoop Gurlz……ranked No. 58 overall by All Star Girls Report…named NCBA District 5 Player of the Year as a junior and NCBA Second Team All-State…named Tri-9 Player of the Year and to All-Conference Team as a sophomore and a junior…in 2012 and 2013, named to NCpreps.com All-State team…hit the 1,000th career point mark as a junior on January 8, 2013... 2012 and 2013 High School OT Holiday Invitational All-Tournament Team…2013 Holly Springs High School Female Athlete of the Year…older brother, C.J. Leslie, played at NC State.
Brenda Frese on Leslie: “Kiara is one of the rare players in women’s basketball that is about 6-feet tall, a tremendous athlete and has the potential to play multiple positions. She’s a terrific rebounder and plays powerfully. She grabs the rim with ease. One of the first things people mention is that she’s C.J. Leslie’s sister, which tells you a bit about her DNA. We enjoyed her family when they came up to visit us.”
Richard Young on Leslie: “Kiara Leslie is the hardest working student-athlete that I have coached (including the nine years of coaching boy’s basketball.). Her GPA has increased every year during my tenure. During her recruiting process she only gave me an indication of one school she really wanted me to visit with her and it was Maryland. The Terps coaching staff did a phenomenal job building relationships with Kiara and all parties involved in the process.”
Arne Morris on Leslie: “I once read the quote, ‘What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.’ Kiara Leslie is a not only a GREAT Basketball player, but she is even a better person. Maryland basketball ball is extremely lucky, just as we have been to have Kiara in this program. She is truly a dedicated and loyal individual who will continue to blossom as an incredible basketball player and person. We wish you and your new team the best of luck and I am sure you will celebrate many championships.”
Leslie on Maryland: "Where else could I spend the next four years and get a better educational and athletic experience than I will at the University of Maryland? Maryland has everything I look for in a school. Family is the most important aspect. Coming from another state I can say that Maryland is home away from home. From the fans, to the people associated with Maryland and my basketball family I can truly say I have found the perfect place.”
– Terps –