Viewmont High School basketball standout Mercedes Staples has signed with the University of Minnesota, the guard confirmed to The Tribune on Wednesday.
Staples originally signed with Clemson but requested a release to explore her options elsewhere after the school fired coach Audra Smith.
“The recruiting process wasn’t my favorite, and to have to go through it twice, I’d say I learned a lot through it,” Staples told The Tribune. “It made me more mature, that’s for sure.”
Staples said she took visits to LSU, Kansas State, Missouri and Minnesota during her second round of recruiting. To make her final decision she fasted and visited the temple, and by Tuesday she knew for sure that Minnesota was the one. It felt like home, so she signed the paperwork Tuesday night.
Staples will be coached by Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen, whom the University of Minnesota hired as coach last month. Whalen will continue to play for the Lynx because the WNBA season runs opposite the college basketball season.
“I feel like I can learn a lot from her, especially while she’s still playing,” Staples said about Whalen. “Obviously she’s like the No. 1 point guard in the nation, and everyone looks up to her. It’s crazy how I have the opportunity to even go play for her.”