Eagle Staff Writer
Oklahoma officials might want to ban Texas A&M women's basketball coach Gary Blair from the state unless he's coming to play a game.
Diamond Ashmore, a 6-foot-3 post from Midwest City, became Blair's first known pledge from the class of 2009. She's ranked 29th in the country by All-Star Girls Report.
The last recruit Blair signed from Oklahoma is current senior guard/forward Danielle Gant, who is a two-time all-Big 12 player. Gant played at Putnam City West High.
Ashmore averaged 10.4 points per game and shot 58 percent from the field last season in helping Midwest City reach the state semifinals in Class 6A, which is the highest in the state.
She will take her official visit next weekend but has been to A&M's Elite Summer Camp the last two years.
"I have seen the campus and like all the coaches," Ashmore said. "I think I'll fit in real well there."
Ashmore's AAU team is Kansas City Select, which is the squad A&M redshirt freshman Tyra White also played for.
"She told me, 'It's a real good program. You'll want to come here,'" Ashmore said.
Ashmore said Oklahoma State and Oklahoma didn't recruit her. North Carolina-Charlotte and Kansas State did, but A&M caught her attention first as an eighth- or ninth-grader, and she was pretty much just waiting for an offer.
"She can go get it off the backboard and go," said Earnst Jones, her AAU coach. "She's quick, and has the ability to finish."
Jones said the mild-mannered Ashmore, who will major in pre-law, just needs to get a little meaner on the court.
Ashmore is playing in a volleyball tournament this weekend. She also throws the discus in track for Midwest City, which won state last year. She said she can concentrate on her season with recruiting out of the way and doesn't plan to make any other visits.
A&M picked up a 2010 pledge two weeks ago from A&M Consolidated's Karla Gilbert.
Verbal pledges are nonbinding. Blair, by NCAA rules, can't comment on commitments.
A&M had five seniors on last season's team -- A'Quonesia Franklin, LaToya Gulley, Morenike Atunrase, Katy Pounds and Patrice Reado. Pounds retired before the season because of bad knees, and Gulley was lost midway through the season to a knee injury.
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