As it turns out, Lauren Cox saved the best for last.
From the beginning of her recruiting process, the 6-foot-4 Flower Mound senior and top-ranked recruit in the nation for the 2016 class said she was going to take all of her visits before making her decision.
She lived up to her word, taking trips to a who’s who of women’s college basketball programs in Notre Dame, Tennessee, Louisville and Connecticut before finally heading to Baylor over the weekend.
On Sunday, Cox announced her decision on Twitter by posting, “After 5 great visits to 5 amazing programs, I’m blessed to say I have committed to Baylor University.”
“It’s been a lot of fun, being able to go to all of these places and meet with all the coaches at the schools,” Cox said Monday. “I’m glad it’s over, though, because while it’s been a lot of fun, it can be stressful, too.”
Cox said she plans to sign with Baylor when the NCAA’s early signing period opens Nov. 11.
When she does, it will mark the second time the Lady Bears have landed the nation’s top recruit, following Brittney Griner in 2009. She’s joined in Baylor’s 2016 class by La Vega point guard Calveion Landrum.
Cox was named the Gatorade Texas player of the year as a junior after averaging 21.7 points, 15.3 rebounds and 5.4 blocked shots per game in leading the Jaguars to their first-ever regional title and trip to the state championship.
Despite dropping a 61-34 decision to Dallas Skyline in the semifinals, Cox put on a show with a triple-double of 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.
“I would call myself a four or five player. I can post up, I can step out and hit the elbow jumper or I can hit the 3,” Cox said. “Last year I handled the ball against the press on my high school team, and I would say I can guard any spot on the floor from two to five.”
Baylor is coming off a 33-4 season in which it reached the NCAA tournament Elite Eight. They have advanced to at least that round in five of the past six seasons, including an undefeated and 40-0 national championship season in 2012 and another Final Four in 2010.
Cox said she knows both Brown and Mompremier from their experiences with USA Basketball, and thinks having them on her team at Baylor will help her flourish.
“I’m excited, because they’re taller than me or at least as tall, so I don’t have to be in the post playing the five all the time,” Cox said. “I can step out, hit the elbow jumper or catch and drive to the basket.”
Cox has won played for Team USA’s U 16, U-17 and U-19 teams, all of which have won gold medals in their international competitions. The last of those came this past summer in Russia at the U-19 World Championship.
“Those experiences have helped a lot, especially this past summer with the U-19 team,” Cox said. “I was with college freshmen and seniors who were going into college and playing for high-level college coaches. I got to see the high intensity of the college game.”
Cox said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey’s intensity was a strong selling point for her to join Baylor, as well as its location about two hours from her hometown.
She was a track star in her younger days and shines on the Flower Mound volleyball team as one of the Metroplex’s top blockers in addition to her basketball ability — all despite being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, when she was 7 years old.
“In the beginning when I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know much about it,” Cox said. “I was scared about it, like, ‘Oh no, am I still going to be able to play sports?’ Proving I can do all of that helped a lot. One of the things I wan to do is show little kids that have diabetes they can still do whatever they want. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.”