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November 11, 2009TUSCALOOSA _ The University of Alabama basketball programs added some high-profile names as the early signing period began Wednesday, with the men's team signing two players and the women landing one of the nation's top recruits.
Signing their letters of intent were point guard Trevor Releford from Shawnee Mission, Kan. and guard/forward Charles Hankerson Jr. from Miami, Fla.
"Trevor and Charles Jr. are winners first and foremost," Coach Anthony Grant said in a release. "They both come from great high school programs and understand what it takes to be successful. I feel like we have addressed some of our needs on the perimeter with the additions of Trevor and Charles Jr."
Rivals rates Releford, a 6-1, 180-pound point guard, as a four-star prospect, No. 98 overall. As a junior, he led Bishop Miege High School to the 5A state finals, averaging 18.6 points, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals.
Hankerson, ranked No. 128, is also a four-star player. Last year he averaged 21.6 points and six rebounds per game to lead Coral Reef High School to its first-ever state championship.
"He can score in a variety of ways and brings the versatility that I like to have in our perimeter players," Grant said.
Meanwhile, Kaneisha Horn of Birmingham's Ramsay High School, texted ESPN HoopGurlz that she's headed to the Capstone. Horn, the No. 5 prospect in the nation, who was ranked higher before sustaining a knee injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament and damaged meniscus) last December, is expected to sign later this week.
Coach Wendell Hudson had already received oral commitments from Memphis guard Jasmine Robinson, ranked No. 65 in the nation, and Birmingham wing Khristian Lee. With Horn's addition, ESPN rates Alabama's signing class as the 15th best in the nation.
The 6-foot-1 wing picked the Tide over Auburn, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Rutgers, South Carolina, and UCLA.
Many top players are expected to wait for the late signing period in April to make a final decision, including highly-touted 6-6 forward Jelan Kendrick from Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga.
Kendrick, Rivals' eighth-ranked prospect in the nation, had his official visit last weekend and attended the 24-15 football victory over LSU. He's also visited Georgetown and Indiana.
Alabama is also in the running for center Tarik Black of Memphis Ridgeway, and Greene County forward Neiko Hunter.
Shawn Kemp Jr., who signed signing with Alabama last year over Kentucky, Florida and Indiana but didn't qualify academically, signed with Auburn on Wednesday.
The 6-9 Kemp from Canton, Ga., is playing this season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. He chose the Tigers over Georgia.