UGA women’s basketball Head Coach Joni Taylor announced on Wednesday that Jenna Staiti will transfer from the University of Maryland to join the Lady Bulldogs. Staiti is a native of Cumming, GA and was the state of Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year as well as Miss Georgia Basketball in 2016.
Staiti (pronounced STATE-ee) played one season at Maryland and will sit out a year at UGA due to NCAA transfer rules. She will be a redshirt sophomore at the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign.
“We are proud to welcome Jenna back home to Georgia,” Taylor said. “With Jenna, we are getting another elite player. Her accolades speak for themselves — she was the No. 1 player in this state in 2016, was a WBCA High School All-American, a former Miss Georgia Basketball and Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year. She is a player that uses her size to affect the game on both ends of the floor. We have talked a lot about the talent level of this incoming class, but what excites me the most is that they are all high-character individuals with high basketball IQ’s. Jenna is another outstanding player who fits that mold. We can’t wait to get her to Athens and watch her grow over the next few years.”
During her time at West Forsyth High School, Staiti developed into one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation. She was listed as the No. 17 player nationally and No. 1 prospect in the state of Georgia according to ESPN. The five-star recruit averaged 26.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game as a senior. She led the Wolverines to a 25-7 overall record and the program’s first appearance in the Class AAAAAA state semifinals. Staiti finished her high school career with 2,623 points, 1,598 rebounds and 421 blocks — all Forsyth County records. She was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Player of the Year and was the Atlanta Tip-Off Club’s Miss Georgia Basketball as well as a first-team all-state selection in 2016.
The 6-foot-6 center signed with Maryland out of high school and logged playing time in 25 games during the Terrapins’ Big Ten Championship season. She recorded a block in nine contests and totaled 51 rebounds for the year.
In addition to her accolades on the basketball court, Staiti was also a nationally-ranked swimmer. Her mother, Sandi, played volleyball at Providence College and her father, Jim, played basketball at Presbyterian and Erskine College.
Staiti joins an already impressive group of incoming players in 2017 — a class ranked No. 10 nationally according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz. The Lady Bulldogs signed four highly-touted recruits during the early signing period, including five-star guards Que Morrison and Gabby Connally, four-star guard Maya Caldwell and four-star forward Malury Bates. Each player is ranked in the top-15 at her position nationally.