Amy Williams can recruit.
Her Nebraska basketball program has bobbed in and out of Big Ten contention during her first four years patrolling the sidelines of Pinnacle Bank Arena, largely due to consistent turnover. But, Williams has made a habit of bringing talent to Lincoln.
That trend continued this week with the signing of the nation’s 21st-ranked recruiting class.
“This 2021 recruiting class is a special group that has already been building great bonds with each other,” Williams said Wednesday of the five-woman class. “We know that they are a group that can make an incredible impact on our program and the goals we have to become Big Ten Champions.”
With four of the five signees ranked among the top 100 in the country by at least one ranking service, this group has high expectations.
Here’s more on each player.
G/F Kendall Coley — 6-foot-2, Minneapolis, Minnesota (St. Louis Park)
Coley is the top-rated player in the class for Nebraska. Per espnW, the honorable mention All-Minnesota selection in 2020 is the ninth-ranked wing and the 49-ranked player overall in the country.
She averaged 15.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior at St. Louis Park High School. A multi-sport athlete, Coley has a kind of blended game that Williams likes to employ on the wings. She might play the four, but she can also play the three or handle minutes as a two-guard. Coley had four triple-doubles as a junior.
“Kendall’s a pure shooter,” her father, Tylor, told Hail Varsity when she committed back in April. “She can shoot the ball with the best of ‘em, but she passes on taking shots to make sure everybody’s involved in the game.”
Williams will certainly appreciate that.
“Kendall is one of the most exciting players in the 2021 class,” Williams said. “She is very versatile and can play every position on the court. She is long, athletic and skilled, which is a devastating combination. She is a special talent, and we believe she can make a great impact in the Big Ten conference.”
Coley signed Wednesday with one of her closest friends and the No. 1 ranked volleyball recruit in the country, Kennedi Orr, also a Husker signee. The two grew up together. They’re excited about getting to Lincoln.
Kennedi Orr (volleyball) and Kendall Coley (basketball) seem awfully excited to be #Huskers.
(Video from Kendall’s dad, Tylor) pic.twitter.com/57Bi6w0wrr
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) November 11, 2020
G Allison Weidner — 5-foot-10, Humphrey, Nebraska (Humphrey St. Francis)
Weidner, according to espnW, is the second top-100 player in this Husker recruiting class. She’s the 80th-ranked player nationally and the 32nd-ranked guard.
An All-State captain in both 2019 and 2020 in Class D2, Weidner is one of two local Nebraska ladies in the class. She, too, is a multi-sport athlete. Weidner was a First Team All-State selection in volleyball in 2019 and she’s a five-time state track and field gold medalist.
She led the state in both assists and steals as a sophomore in 2018-19. As a junior, she averaged 25.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists and a rather remarkable 7.3 steals per game to power St. Francis to a Class D2 state runner-up finish.
“We cannot wait to add Allison to our Husker program,” Williams said. “She is a crafty point guard who can score at all three levels and is very good in the open court. She has great court vision and makes those around her better. She is a Nebraska native who possesses the values and character we look for in a Husker.”
G Kendall Moriarity — 6-foot-1, Wheaton, Illinois (Benet Academy)
The Illinois native has been committed to Nebraska for quite some time. She was the first lady in the boat for this signing class, verbally committing to Williams and the Huskers in November of 2019. That year, she was a participant in the US U16 National Team Trials.
Prospects Nation rates Moriarity as the 74th-ranked player in the country for the 2021 class.
As a junior during the 2019-20 season, Moriarity flashed real 3-and-D ability. She connected on 43.1% of her takes from beyond the arc and led her team in steals and deflections. Benet Academy was, at one point last season, the No. 1 team in the state of Illinois and a top-25 team in the country.
“She fits perfectly into all aspects of our program,” Williams said. “She is a long, tough, gritty player with great versatility. She is a talented scorer, but her willingness to do all the dirty work on the court is what separates her. She is a great teammate and will lay it on the line for her team to win.”
Williams deploys a deep rotation year in and year out, unafraid of putting green players on the floor if they’ve shown they can handle it. A 3-and-D guard with some length could give Williams the same kind of perimeter defender she’s had in recent years with Jasmine Cincore and Nicea Eliely.
F/C Alexis Markowski — 6-foot-3, Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln Pius X)
The second of Nebraska’s in-state signees, Markowski joins the program with a legacy name and a chance to write her own Husker story. She’ll learn under senior center Kate Cain, but Markowski can do a little bit of everything for Williams at that center spot.
She was a first-team All-Nebraska and Super-State center while leading Lincoln Pius X to the 2020 Class A state title, she set school single-season records for points (560) and rebounds (315) before being named the honorary captain of the Class A All-State team. She also tied the Class A tournament scoring record with 80 points over three games, matching Nebraska Athletics Hall of Famer Maurtice Ivy’s record.
In leading that 26-1 Pius team, she averaged 21.5 points and 12.1 rebounds, with a 63% clip from the field.
The 76th-rated player in the country by World Exposure, Markowski is the daughter of former Husker hooper Andy Markowski. But Nebraska might actually have Coley to thank for her signature, not her dad’s.
The two met on the AAU circuit over the summer and Coley told Markowski she wanted to play together. Being home more with family during the quarantine months of the summer helped solidify Markowski’s decision. At one point she was committed to South Dakota State, but Nebraska was the place to be.
“We are so excited that Alexis is staying home,” Williams said. “She had an incredible junior season capped off by a state championship and is poised for a great senior year. All summer she played against some of the best post players in the country and continued to shine. She is a winner who just keeps working to expand her game, and her skills align perfectly with our needs.”
F/C Tatiana Popa — 6-foot-5, Parkersburg, West Virginia (Brewster Academy)
Popa comes to Nebraska as a four-star recruit before entering her senior season at Brewster Academy. She closed her junior year at Parkersburg High School in West Virginia, but previously played at IMG Academy and Montverde Academy (2018-19) in Florida. She also competed at Quince Orchard High School in Maryland as a freshman in 2017-18.
She’s a stretch-forward with a euro-style game and an NBA pedigree (her father was drafted by the L.A. Clippers in 1995)
“Our program is thrilled to be adding this hard-working, talented young lady to our Husker family,” Williams said. “She knows how to use her length to her advantage on defense and has expanded her versatility on offense. She is working hard to add strength to her frame and understands the benefits that Husker Power will provide her in that area. The sky is the limit for her growth, and we can’t wait to watch it happen here at Nebraska.”