FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas women’s basketball head coach Mike Neighbors has added two more signees for the class of 2023. Junior college guard Carly Keats and Spaniard Cristina Sánchez are the final two in the class to sign, as announced on Wednesday. The 2023 signing class includes five talented signees who will play starting the 2023-24 season.

Carly Keats | G | 5-8 | Philadelphia, Miss. | Jones College

Pauline love has quickly become one of the top recruiters in the country because of her ability to evaluate talent, tell our story and build relationships. Traditionally, we hear about a player from another or maybe we see them at an evaluation event. Sometimes it’s a prospect contacting us with interest in being a Razorback.

This success story may create a new category.

Due to Coach Love’s amazing playing career at Jones College, she was selected to their Hall of fame in the Class of 2022. As she began making plans to attend the ceremony, she reached out to current head coach Missy Bilderback. We had signed Alexis Tolefree, who had played for her at Jones, so we knew coach well and when she mentioned they had a game the day after the ceremony, Pauline stayed an extra day to see the game. Coach Bilderback had mentioned a current player she thought would fit into our locker room and fit our style.

She was right!

Coach Love returned to the office excited about Carly Keats. Her game was different than those on our current roster. Her game was different than the other prospects in our Class of 2023. After her official visit surrounding our Tulsa game, we learned she was the same as our team in her desire to be excellent, in her work ethic to be excellent and in her approach to be a great teammate.

Carly committed to be a Razorback as we were concluding our visit. We can’t wait for everyone to see for themselves what made her distinctive!

THE ACCOLADES:

  • Played for head coach Jason Broom at Neshoba Central High School, leading the Rockets to a perfect 33-0 record and 5A State Championship in Mississippi
  • As a senior in high school, averaged 14.2 points and four assists per game
  • Averaged 13.9 points on 54 percent shooting and three assists per game during her junior year
  • All-Region 3-5A selection and 2021 Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection
  • Holds MS/AL record in 3-pointers made
  • Made the NABI Finals with her team Native Soldiers
  • At Jones, has played in four games with three starts to begin the season
  • Averaging 11.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the JC Bobcats, while knocking down nine 3-pointers in the first four games

Cristina Sánchez | G | 6-1 | Granada, Spain

Some relationships are years in the making. Some are just weeks. It all comes down to timing. Timing was perfect in Christina Sánchez becoming a Razorback.

The phone call was the point of ignition, a long-time relationship between Coach Todd Schaefer and Rachel Galligan. Rachel is a well-respected voice in women’s basketball, not just in the U.S., but worldwide. On the phone with Todd, Rachel noted that a player in Spain was considering coming to the states to study and play basketball. Rachel follows us closely. She knows our style of play and when she sees our type of kid. She said this player was versatile, skilled, a hard worker and wanted to be coached… DING! DING! DING! Talent ✔

Now… Can we trust her?

Time to research.

We saw she comes from a basketball family. Her father Felix and mother Pique both played.

Distance combined with our calendar made it impossible for our staff to make the trip to Spain. Through a series of Zooms with staff doing virtual tours through phones and a few Zooms, we knew we could trust her to be a Razorback.

Her family traveled to Fayetteville for an official visit on Nov. 14, 2022, to see us play Tulsa. She and her family explored Fayetteville, experienced campus and saw future teammates in action against Tulsa. After the hard-earned win over the Golden Hurricane, Cristina made the night even better by committing to be a Razorback!

“Cris has only begun to scratch the surface of how good she can become, and the player she can be developed into,” said Rachel Galligan, owner of GoGlobal recruiting. “I know Coach Neighbors and his elite staff will help her reach her maximum potential. She has high-level international experience combined with length, work ethic, athleticism and motor to fit well with Arkansas’ system and their established culture.”

THE ACCOLADES:

  • A member of the Spanish National Team
  • Selected for workouts at the U12, U13, U14, U15, U16 and U17 and played an unofficial tournament on the U15 national team
  • Earned gold and silver medals at the Andalucians Cup U14
  • Best rebounder on the U14 nationals club cup
  • She was chosen to the Andalucías Team three times and won a silver and bronze medal at the national cup
  • Was selected to the Granadas Team six times
  • Picked for the NBA Academy games in Atlanta
  • LF2 champion in 2021

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Arkansas Women’s Basketball, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @RazorbackWBB and on Facebook at Facebook.com/RazorbackWBB. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, “Kickin’ It In The Neighborhood” for an inside look at the Razorback women’s basketball program and check out The Neighborhood podcasts at CoachNeighbors.com.