Baylor came on to Dekeiya Cohen’s recruiting radar late, but it didn’t take long for her to figure out that Waco was exactly where she wanted to be.
Cohen committed Tuesday night to join the Lady Bears as part of the 2014 class.
The 6-foot-1 wing from West Ashley High School in Charleston, S.C., is a five-star recruit ranked No. 40 in the nation by Hoopgurlz.com.
Baylor started its pursuit of Cohen near the end of her AAU season in July, and things moved quickly from there.
“We set up and official visit really quickly,” Cohen said. “From there, we just kept staying in contact. They’d call me more than once every week, so I got to know the coaches. When I got there for my visit, the team really embraced me and you don’t usually see that when you go on recruiting trips.”
Even though the two won’t play together, Cohen said all-American Odyssey Sims was her host and did a good job of selling her on Baylor’s virtues during her visit to Waco late last month.
It’s a long move from home, but Cohen said she’s ready.
“I think my parents, especially my mom, didn’t want me to go too far,” Cohen said. “But she came to Baylor with me, and she trusts Coach (Kim) Mulkey to take care of me. And she knows she’ll have a chance to come to my games. So she’s happy, too.”
Cohen, who had a number of Division I scholarship offers, said she plans to major in business and likes Baylor’s entrepreneurship program. That, and playing with a team that is a perennial contender for a national title, made the Lady Bears attractive.
That tradition “is a big deal,” Cohen said. “Even though they came in late in my recruiting process, I knew I had to consider them because they’re such a good basketball school, and they’re also good academically. I want a degree that means something, and I want a chance to win a national championship.”
Cohen has been a varsity basketball player since she was in eighth grade, and she also played up in age divisions during her AAU career.
Her numbers have improved every season.
In her junior year, she put together a spectacular all-around season with 26.5 points, 13 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 4.7 seals and 3.5 blocks per contest. She said her greatest assets are the ability to face up and drive with the ball, and also her rebounding.
Cohen’s greatest improvement during her varsity career has come as a free-throw shooter, where she went from making only 40 percent as an eighth-grader and 44 percent as a freshman to 66 percent as a sophomore and topped out at 69 percent last season.
She said Mulkey envisions playing her at the power forward position, a place where her versatility will come in handy.
In addition to her exploits on the basketball court, Cohen is an all-state middle hitter in volleyball and also runs track.
Cohen is the second commitment Baylor has received in the 2014 class, joining Garland Naaman Forest’s Mikayla Buckner.