ORONO, Maine — It isn’t often the University of Maine women’s basketball program is included in a list between the likes of Kansas State and Missouri.
That was the case recently, when Blue Star Basketball released its 2012 rankings for Division I recruiting classes.
The group of players signed to National Letters of Intent by Black Bears head coach Richard Barron is ranked No. 36 in the nation, just behind No. 35 K-State and ahead of No. 36 Missouri.
UMaine will welcome in what might be the largest single class in program history after Barron, who has begun his second year in Orono, received commitments from nine student-athletes.
UMaine also garnered recognition from Dan Olson’s Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, which ranks the Bears’ incoming class No. 1 in the America East Conference and No. 57 among all Division I programs.
The Black Bears’ class includes three American-born players along with a contingent of players from six foreign countries, including England, Finland, Germany, Israel, Serbia and Sweden.
The overhaul at UMaine began last fall, when Barron signed guard/forward Liz Wood (Catlee, Va.) and guards Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) and Brittany Wells (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Early this spring, he made a 2½-week recruiting visit that encompassed much of Europe. After Barron’s return, the commitments streamed in.
UMaine signed guards Michal Assaf (Ganey Tikva, Israel) and Chantel Charles (Hackney, London), forwards Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden) and Anna Heise (Halle, Germany) and guards Milica Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and Sophie Weckstrom (Espoo, Finland).
Dan Bowmaker, the president of BlueStar Europe Scouting Service, also provided some feedback about the Bears’ class in a recent press release.
“Coach Barron and his staff have completed an outstanding class this year,” Bowmaker said. “Loaded with some special talent from across Europe, these international players will, I am sure, work hard to return the investment that Maine has made in them. A very balanced group of players that will gel together to help propel Maine in the direction of further achievement.”
Paquette joins MMA staff
Ryan Paquette has been hired by Maine Maritime Academy in Castine as its campus recreation and intramural director and its football defensive coordinator.
The move was announced recently by MMA Director of Athletics Eric Sabean.
Paquette’s duties will include preparing a comprehensive intramural program and other campus recreational activities to enhance the well-being and experience of MMA students.
Paquette, a 2007 graduate of Endicott College with a degree in sports management, played four seasons with the Gulls. He was a high school football assistant coach in Massachusetts before joining the staff at Salve Regina College in 2007.
He spent five seasons with the Seahawks, coaching the outside linebackers for two seasons and the defensive line during his stint. In 2010, Salve Regina allowed less than 100 rushing yards per game (94.3) and was plus-14 in turnover margin.
Paquette began his new job Friday.
USM’s White an All-American
Tucker White of the University of Southern Maine has been named to the ABCA/Rawlings Division III All-America second team.
The junior designated hitter from Deerfield, N.H., is the 23rd Huskies player to be so honored. White was an All-Little East Conference and NEIBA All-New England first-team pick after batting .392 with 48 runs scored, 10 doubles, a school-record 10 triples, seven home runs and a team-best 49 RBIs for 27-19 USM.
White stole 14 bases and owns the school’s career triples record with 18.