Freshmen Focus – Get to Know Women’s Basketball’s Rookie Quartet

Freshmen Focus

Get to know women’s basketball’s rookie quartet.

Link to web article

Vancouver, New York, Utah, Florida. The newest group of Gator women’s basketball players Faith DutNina RickardsLavender Briggs and Brylee Bartram have journeyed to the Swamp from all over the country (and Canada), one as far as 3,000 miles and one just a short cruise up I-75 North.

The 2019 class, third year head coach Cam Newbauer‘s most highly lauded cohort, features three guards, one forward — and one four-star ranking via ProspectsNation.

Dut is a six-foot-four post player with international experience, Rickards is a hard-nosed guard with a championship pedigree, Briggs is a polished player with a knack for scoring and Bartram is a razor sharp marksmen with a shooter’s mentality. All are focused on writing a new chapter in the book of Florida women’s basketball.

School is in session, and as the fall approaches, let’s shift the focus to Florida’s newest four.

Faith Dut
6’4 | Forward | Vancouver, British Columbia | Semiahmoo Secondary School
ESPN Scouts Grade: 89 | ProspectsNation Rank: 4-Star

Dut didn’t start playing basketball until the age of 14, but over the course of the past four years her game has stretched as far as her wingspan. The Vancouver native spent this past summer training and competing with the U19 Canadian National Team and traveled to Bangkok for the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup. A strong senior season preceded Dut’s emergence with the national team as she led her Semiahmoo Secondary School squad to a AAA Senior Girls Basketball Provincial title, its first since 1953. Dut finished with 23 points and 13 boards in the title game as her play was instrumental in her team’s rally from a 17-point deficit. The Canadian took dance classes growing up with hopes of one day being a performer, while ballet wasn’t in the cards, basketball was and the post player has found her stage in Gainesville.

Nina Rickards
5’9 | Guard | Queens, New York | Christ the King Regional High School
ESPN Scouts Grade: 94 | ProspectsNation Rank: 4-Star
 
Christ the King Regional High School may ring a bell in Gator Nation as former men’s basketball guard Irving Walker (2008-12) also joined Florida by way of the prestigious hoops program. Lamar Odom, Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw and Tina Charles are alums of the Brooklyn-based high school, to a name a few. Rickards, an ESPN top 100 player and McDonald’s All-American Game nominee, played a pivotal role in her team’s back-to-back Catholic League titles and its New York AA Federation Championship this past season. As a junior, the Royals finished the season 29-1 season and rose all the way to No. 1 in the nation in the USA Today Sports rankings. Rickards is an explosive athlete and her competitive nature extends beyond the court as she also takes great pride in her Fortnite skills and performance at the bowling alley.

Lavender Briggs
6’1 | Guard | Provo, Utah | Provo High School
ESPN Scouts Grade: 96 | ProspectsNation Rank: 4-Star

1,908 tallies later, Briggs ended her prep career with the second most points in the history of Utah girls high school basketball. 53 of those points came on Jan. 25 of this year when she broke the state record after exploding for a 32 point second half (also a state record). A top 50 prospect according to ESPN, Briggs put up gaudy averages of 32.2 points (you guessed it, another state record) and 12.5 rebounds in her final season of high school ball, garnering All-USA Utah First Team honors, a McDonald’s All-American Game nomination and an appearance in the Jordan Brand Classic – the first by a Florida women’s basketball signee in program history. Another first for the program, Briggs will become the first Utah native to suit up for the orange and blue. Briggs, who grew up playing several age levels above her own, will look to provide a major spark in her first season on the college scene.

Brylee Bartram
5’8 | Guard | Tampa, Fla. | Seffner Christian Academy
ESPN Scouts Grade: 89 | ProspectsNation Rank: 4-Star
 
No one in the history of high school basketball has made more three-pointers than Brylee Bartram. Yes, you read that correctly. Bartram finished her career at Seffner Christian with 533 triples, surpassing the previous record of 520 which was held by Bjorn Broman of Duluth Lakeview Christian Academy (Minn.) since 2014. She sits atop the mountain, boys and girls, alone. The sharpshooter torched the Tampa area, departing with 2,544 career points, a program record. Basketball runs in her blood as her father Greg played at Penn State from 1991-95 and her brother Blake plays at Seffner Christian. Bartram, who was tabbed the Florida 4A Player of the Year and earned a McDonald’s All-American Game nomination this past season, began her basketball career much earlier than her classmate Dut’s, 10 years earlier in fact. The West Virginia native has had a ball in her hands ever since she was just four years old.

“Lav, Nina, Brylee and Faith are all dynamic young ladies with a strong desire to be great on and off the court here at Florida. Their passion to be part of something greater than themselves is infectious and this class will provide more depth at a number of positions,” said Newbauer. “They embody all that the University of Florida and our program represents. I am looking forward to watching these young women grow as they write their stories here at Florida.”

FOLLOW THE GATORS
SOCIAL: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: #GoGators