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Hogg, Miller ink highly touted recruiting class

Nov. 14, 1997

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By Martin Coco

Sports Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

Wednesday was the first day that NCAA basketball teams could sign players to letters of intent for the 1998-99 season, and the Baylor men's and women's programs didn't waste much time. Men's basketball Head Coach Harry Miller and women's Head Coach Sonja Hogg announced their first signees for next season, and both claim that these are their best recruiting classes ever.

Miller has received commitments from one of the country's top junior college players, along with two high school stars, one of whom will be the tallest player in Baylor basketball history.

Tevis Stukes, a 5-11 guard from New Orleans, currently plays at Independence Community College in Kansas, and according to Miller is one of the top junior college point guards in the country. He averaged 25 points and seven assists per game last season at Paris Junior College. Miller said he expects Stukes to make the most immediate impact next season for the Bears.

The future man in the middle for the Bears will be John Flippen, a 7-2 center from Evant.

Flippen averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks per game last season. Miller said Flippen will need some time to adjust to Division I play, but the tallest basketball player ever at Baylor will be a force in the future.

Robert Thornton, a 6-4 guard from Harrah, Okla., is the Bears' third signee. Thornton's list of accomplishments is a lengthy one -- he averaged more than 25 points per game during his junior year, is ranked as either the No. 1 or No. 2 Oklahoma high school player by re-cruiting services, and has been an all-conference performer since his freshman year.

'This class is certainly as good as any we've signed at Baylor,' Miller said. 'They've got a little bit of everything with these guys. They were recruited heavily by a lot of teams, and will make a huge impact on our program.'

Hogg added five impressive recruits to her team, all Texas high school stars who she expects to make an immediate impact next season. The women's signees include three players who are ranked in the top 15 by the Texas High School Recruiting Service.

The top signee is Danielle Crockrom, a 6-2 forward from Houston's North Shore High. Crockrom averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds her junior year, and was named MVP of her district.

'Danielle is probably one of the best players in the country,' Hogg said.

Brittany Bruns, a 5-10 guard from Houston's Cypress Falls High School, is already tops at Cy Falls in career scoring, rebounding, steals and assists -- and she hasn't even played her senior season yet. Both Crockrom and Bruns were named by the Houston Chronicle to its All-Greater Houston Preseason First Team.

The Lady Bears also signed Hilary Akromis, a 6-1 forward from San Antonio Churchill, who averaged 14.1 points per game last season; Nicole Collins, a 5-3 point guard from Pasadena; and local star Eboni Hammond, a 5-10 forward/post from Midway High School.

Hogg said this is clearly the Lady Bears' best recruiting class yet.

'This is the second most that we've signed, and all five are good ones. We're looking forward to having them,' Hogg said.

Troy State to visit Ferrell Center Saturday

The Baylor men's basketball team tips off the 1997-98 season on Saturday, playing the Troy State Trojans at 1 p.m. at the Ferrell Special Events Center. Both teams had a 1-1 record in preseason exhibition play. Troy State returns only one starter from last season's 16-11 team, but Bears Head Coach Harry Miller said he expects the Trojans to continue their fast-paced, up-tempo style of play.

'Troy State is a very quick, pressing style team,' Miller said. 'They went over 100 points a number of times last year, so conditioning and depth will be a key for us.'

Baylor will be playing without senior guard Roddrick Miller, who is nursing a knee injury; sophomores B.J. Sellers and Leon 'Brick' Morris will also sit out due to their participation in a summer 3-on-3 tournament.

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