Harper announces four-player Lady Vol Basketball signing class

NSD 2021 / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee women’s basketball program has received signed National Letters of Intent from four players who comprise a signing class currently ranked No. 5 nationally, head coach Kellie Harper announced on Wednesday.

Making their bond with the UT program official during the first day of the early signing period were 6-3 forward Karoline Striplin (Hartford, Ala./Geneva Co. H.S.), 6-0 guard Kaiya Wynn (Richmond, Texas/Foster H.S.), 6-foot-2 guard/forward Sara Puckett (Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals H.S.) and 5-6 point guard Brooklynn Miles (Frankfort, Ky./Franklin Co. H.S.).

Collectively, it’s the nation’s fifth-best class of the early signing period, according to Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.

During a time when the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow for on-campus visits and changed the way schools recruited prospective student-athletes, Harper was grateful to her staff and pleased with the young women who made the decision to join the Lady Vol family.

“This summer has looked very different for collegiate recruiting, but I am a very, very proud of our staff for signing this class of talented, high-achieving and competitive players,” Harper said.

KAROLINE STRIPLIN

Striplin is the No. 38 overall player and No. 11 forward with a four-star rating by ProspectsNation.com. She averaged 22 ppg., 14.0 rpg. and 5.0 bpg. as a junior, scoring her 2,000th career point during the 2019-20 season. She is a two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association 2A All-State First Team selection (2019, 2020) and a second-team choice in 2018.

Playing for her mom, Karie Striplin, on the Geneva County basketball team, Karoline Striplin was selected as an AHSAA North-South All-Star in basketball and volleyball in 2020.

Striplin chose UT over NC State, UCLA, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Florida.

“Karoline Striplin was the first player in this class to give us a verbal commitment and ignite this process,” Harper said. “This past season, she came to a Lady Vol game and fell in love with our vision for this program.

“On the court, Karoline is a tough and versatile post player with a college-ready body that will help her score around the basket. She can make shots around the floor, has a high motor and plays hard on both ends of the court. Karoline is a fun-loving young woman that we know will be a terrific teammate and also bring a positive attitude to our team next year.”

KAIYA WYNN

Wynn, who now lives in Texas, played the past few seasons at Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn. She is ranked as the No. 39 overall player by Blue Star.

As a junior, Wynn averaged 15.3 ppg., 6.1 rpg. and 2.3 spg. at Ensworth. She was a DII AA Miss Basketball finalist in 2020 and was a two-time TSWA DII-AA All-State choice in 2018 and 2020. She led Ensworth to a pair of DII AA state titles (2019, 2020) during her time there.

Wynn chose Tennessee over Louisville, NC State and Kentucky among others.

“Kaiya Wynn grew up in Tennessee, so she understands just how important the Lady Vol program is,” Harper said. “After watching her play and practice, and visiting with her, we knew she was a priority for our class.

“Kaiya is an athletic wing who can score behind the arc or drive to the basket, as well as rebound and defend. She is competitive and aggressive on both ends of the court. Kaiya is a winner with high character, and I am thrilled she is joining our program.”

SARA PUCKETT

Puckett is ranked as the No. 27 overall player and the No. 8 forward, earning a 4.5-star rating from ProspectsNation.com. She has been playing on the Muscle Shoals varsity since seventh grade, scoring 1,830 points and pulling down 963 rebounds during her career through her junior season. She averaged 20.3 ppg., 11.4 rpg. and 2.7 apg. last season, tallying 65 steals and 49 blocks.

Among her honors, Puckett is a two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association 6A All-State First Team selection (2019, 2020) and a third-team choice in 2018. She was selected for the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game in 2020 and was named the TimesDaily 4A-7A Player of the Year in 2019 and 2020.

Puckett chose the Lady Vols over Mississippi State, Louisville, Kentucky, Florida State and Georgia.

“Sara was one of the first prospects that was able to come to campus after we were hired at Tennessee,” Harper said. “She visited campus multiple times, which helped her get to know our team and staff.

“I am excited about what she brings to the court next year, because Sara is such a skilled player. Her versatility allows her to play on the perimeter, make shots and post up inside. Sara’s work ethic and self-motivation will help her transition to the college game.”

BROOKLYNN MILES

Miles is rated as the No. 75 overall player by All-Star Girls Report.

She averaged 21.5 ppg., 4.9 apg., 4.1 spg. and 3.8 rpg. as a junior, leading Franklin County High School to a region championship in 2020. She helped the Flyers reach the Sweet 16 in 2020 as well as in 2016 and 2017, playing varsity since seventh grade and starting from eighth grade on.

Considered the top player in the state of Kentucky for the 2021 class, Miles was named Lexington Herald-Leader All-State First Team and Louisville Courier-Journal All-State First Team in 2020.

Miles chose the Lady Vols over Kentucky, NC State, Miami and Purdue.

“Signing a point guard was a priority for our staff, and we are thrilled that Brooklynn Miles is that player,” Harper said. “Her recruiting process looked very different due to the COVID outbreak and subsequent NCAA regulations. We were not able to host Brooklynn on campus and thus relied on phone calls and virtual presentations to recruit her.

“Brooklynn brings attributes that I value in a point guard. She is quick with the ball and can set up her teammates or create her own scoring opportunities. She is tough, hard-nosed and competitive. I know the team and fans will gravitate to Brooklynn’s confident and lively personality.”

-UT Athletics

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