If national rankings are any indication, it will be an excellent year for top-notch talent in WPIAL girls basketball.
According to ESPN's HoopGurlz rankings, three WPIAL players are in the top 100 players in the country for the class of 2014. And two of the three are from the same team.
Seton-LaSalle's Naje Gibson, a 6-foot forward, is rated the No. 59 player in the country. Her teammate, 5-10 guard Yacine Diop, is No. 84. Diop has not played for Seton-LaSalle, though. A native of Senegal, she did not play last year after the WPIAL and PIAA ruled her ineligible, claiming she transferred from Oak Hill Academy to Seton-LaSalle for athletic intent.
The highest-rated player in the WPIAL is Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias, a 6-3 center who is No. 38. Mathias was a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 last season.
Gibson will stay in her hometown to play in college after making a verbal commitment to Pitt this past summer.
Mathias decided her college future when she was a freshman, accepting a scholarship to Duke.
Diop has not made a college decision, but is being recruited by Division I schools.
Mathias, Gibson and Diop are the only Pennsylvania players from the class of 2014 ranked in the top 100.
Offers for Porter
D.J. Porter, a basketball guard who plays for Obama Academy in the City League, had a good summer on the AAU circuit and has received Division I scholarship offers. Porter has offers from Ohio, St. Bonaventure and Detroit and some other Division I schools have shown interest.
Alec Bloom is a 6-7, 242-pound tight end from Ligonier who made a verbal commitment to Connecticut this summer. But is Bloom reconsidering? He was one of the high school players to attend Pitt's game last Saturday against Virginia.
Also, Gateway receiver-defensive back Anthony Davis also is reconsidering his commitment to Temple. He is now looking seriously at Pitt.
Qadree Ollison is a Pitt running back recruit, but he also has played a little at quarterback for Canisius High School in Buffalo.
Due to an injury to the starting quarterback, Ollison has taken snaps from center. But his future is still at running back, and he is having a good season. In four games, he has rushed for 598 yards on 101 carries. He had games with 191 and 195 yards rushing and has helped Canisius to a 3-1 record.
State's top QB
A team to watch in Class AAAA in Eastern Pennsylvania is Cedar Cliff. One of the main reasons is quarterback Andrew Ford.
Ford is the highest-rated senior quarterback in the state and is having a big season. He is averaging 255 yards passing a game while helping Cedar Cliff to a 5-0 record. For the season, Ford (6-3, 180 pounds) has completed 74 of 108 for 1,279 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Ford already has made a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech.