Purdue's deeply talented team in 2006-07 became a little shallower on Thursday.
A decision to explore other opportunities has led to the release of two players of Purdue's incoming three-player class, and a Purdue freshman decides to transfer.
Amber Harris, rated the No. 1 player in the Class of 2006 by Blue Star, and Dee Dee Jernigan, ranked No. 19, have asked for and been given their releases from Purdue. The release allows the two players to reopen their recruitment, and also allows other programs to contact them. Since Purdue released them from their letters-of-intent, they will still be able to sign with a new program and be on the floor as early as this fall with four years of eligibility.
Also announced on Thursday was the transfer at the end of the semester of freshman center Stephanie Helgeson. Helgeson has not been participating in spring workouts.
With the eligibility of junior point guard Cherelle George yet to be announced, Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp will either have nine or ten scholarship players next fall, barring any spring signings. Signings in the spring are not expected, as the staff is already out aggressively recruiting the class of 2007.
Purdue's only 2007 commitment to date may also be in doubt with the recent Harris and Jernigan news. Ta'Shia Phillips, a 6'5 all-american center from Indianapolis, has yet to publicly state she will be reopening her recruitment. But her close relationship with Harris, Jernigan and recently resigned assistant coach Katrina Merriweather, certainly makes her a player with options to think about.
While Jernigan, Harris and Helgeson were important pieces to the future Purdue puzzle of success, the core team that has been hyped as having Final Four potential next season will be returning to advance beyond their regional loss in 2005-06. The versatility of the returning players, with the almost guaranteed increase in playing time for current freshman guard Lauren Mioton and incoming point guard FahKara Malone, should allow Purdue to continue to build on their success.
And it also gives Sharon Versyp an added recruiting pitch for the class of 2007 -- plenty of early opportunities to contribute to an elite level team.
A look at the scholarship situation can be found at the link below...
READ MORE: Women's Scholarship Grid