Six Class of 2021 standouts signed their National Letter of Intent to continue their basketball careers with the Arkansas State women’s basketball program, Matt Daniel excitedly announced Wednesday.
A versatile group representing six different states, including one from the state of Arkansas, is set to join the fold for the 2021-22 season, as the Red Wolves signed Leilani Augmon (San Jose, Calif.), Kiayra Ellis (Shreveport, La.), Lauryn Pendleton (Little Rock, Ark.), Jade Upshaw (Sapulpa, Okla.), Mailyn Wilkerson (Houston, Texas) and Jada Williams (Union City, Tenn.).
“This class has a lot of versatility in it,” Daniel said. "We’re very excited about the new additions and it’s a hugely important class for our future. There are a lot of interchangeable parts, especially around the perimeter, as we look to build this program the right way. I’m very proud for them to be a part of our family.
“A huge credit goes to our staff, especially in these tough times, with the class that we’ve put together. We have a great melting pot on our staff and it bleeds over into our program. Our staff did a great job and I truly believe we are one of the most efficient staffs in the country. You’re only as good as your assistants, and I’ll put our staff up against anybody in the country. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this group that we go to work with every day.”
For the latest on the A-State women’s basketball program, follow @AStateWB on Twitter and @astatewbb on Instagram, while also liking the team’s Facebook page at /Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB.
Leilani Augmon | G/F | 5-11 | San Jose, Calif. | New Mexico JC
Leilani Augmon is entering her second season at the junior college ranks, her first at New Mexico JC after a stellar freshman season at Seward County CC in Kansas. At Seward, Augmon was named the KJCCC Co-Freshman of the Year and was coached by current A-State assistant Lizzie Nessling. Augmon was named to the NJCAA All-Star Team while also being tabbed First Team All-KJCCC. She prepped at Silver Creek High School in the Bay Area, helping the school to its first championship ever in 2017 and was named MVP three years in a row and freshman of the year in 2015.
Her cousin, Stacey Augmon, was picked ninth overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1991 NBA Draft after a career at UNLV, playing on the 1990 NCAA Championship team. He played 16 seasons in the NBA from 1991-2006 and was a member of the 1988 USA Olympic team that won bronze in Seoul, South Korea.
Matt Daniel on Augmon: “Leilani Augmon is an athletic guard who can score on all three levels. She has a great range game and athleticism that will add to our recruiting class. We’re looking forward to having her for two or three years after being at Seward and New Mexico Junior College. She’s a freak athlete who can play the game at a high level and shoot the ball really well.”
Kiayra Ellis | F | 6-0 | Shreveport, La. | Captain Shreve HS
Kiayra Ellis is a three-year standout from Shreveport, Louisiana, entering her senior season at Captain Shreve High School. Ellis has either started or played major minutes since her freshman year and was key to Captain Shreve’s 2019 LHSAA Class 5A state championship team. In the title game, Ellis scored 13 points and was an honorable mention All-District 1-5A selection this past season. She has helped Captain Shreve to three straight district titles.
Matt Daniel on Ellis: “Kiayra Ellis is a power forward/small forward player who played for Keith Green, who played for me at UT Arlington. She’s been well-coached and she brings a lot of toughness to our program. She’s very athletic and her skillset is very strong.”
Lauryn Pendleton | G | 5-9 | Little Rock, Ark. | Little Rock Central HS
Arkansas State added more in-state talent to the roster with the addition of Lauryn Pendleton, a guard from Little Rock Central. As a junior, Pendleton earned All-Conference honors after averaging 14 points, three rebounds and an assist per game. She is a two-time all-conference honoree and also earned all-state laurels in her junior season. Pendleton also has seen experience as part of OTA Elite, a team that qualified for the USA Women’s 3x3 U18 National Championship in 2018.
Matt Daniel on Pendleton: “Lauryn Pendleton is a highly-recruited guard out of Little Rock Central. Like the rest of our class, she can play off the ball or on the ball. Lauryn can play the 2 and the 3, and can really shoot it. She scores well, is athletic and can defend at a high level.”
Jade Upshaw | G | 5-7 | Sapulpa, Okla. | Kellyville HS
Jade Upshaw is entering her senior season having totaled 1,373 career points in three seasons for Kellyville High School and has started on teams with a combined 61-22 record. As a junior, she averaged 18.9 points, five rebounds and four assists, helping lead the Ponies to a 20-7 record. She was chosen as Heartland Conference Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons and was a third-team All-World selection by the Tulsa World. She was also an honorable Class 3A All-State honoree by The Oklahoman.
Matt Daniel on Upshaw: “Jade Upshaw is a guard out of Oklahoma. You need multiple point guards on your roster, as you try to build around that. She is a coach’s kid, gets the game at a high level and is very skilled. She’s a very cerebral point guard who can play at all three levels on the floor.”
Mailyn Wilkerson | G | 5-7 | Houston, Texas | Trinity Valley CC [TX]
Mailyn Wilkerson is entering her freshman season at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas after a standout high school career at Summer Creek High School in Humble, Texas. There, she led the Bulldogs to a 31-5 ledger and the Region III-6A semifinals as a senior
Matt Daniel on Wilkerson: “Mailyn Wilkerson is a combo guard who can play on the ball and off the ball. She can score the ball at an extremely high level. She’s a great kid, a great student and we’re looking forward to having her for three, hopefully four years.”
Jada Williams | G/F | 6-0 | Union City, Tenn. (Union City HS)
Jada Williams is a standout wing for Union City High School, earning All-State laurels as a junior in 2019-20. She is a three-time All-Tournament Team honoree who helped the Golden Tornadoes win 21 games and reach the Region 7A semifinal. On the club scene, Williams helped her team to a national championship in 2020.
Matt Daniel on Williams: “Jada Williams is a versatile swing player who can play anywhere from point guard to small forward. She can handle the ball if we need her to in that situation. We’re really excited about the versatility, athleticism and toughness she brings.”