First post-Final Four recruits announced

by David McCoy

Minnesota women’s basketball coach Pam Borton announced the team’s recruiting class for the 2005-06 season Wednesday.

Ashley Ellis-Milan, Emily Fox and Katie Ohm all signed national letters of intent to play for the Gophers.

Borton said the team’s success, which culminated in a Final Four berth last year, has played a big role in recruiting.

“We are now able to get in doors where we couldn’t before,” Borton said. “The longer we’re successful, the more kids we can get.”

Ellis-Milan is a 6-foot-2-inch power forward from St. Paul Central High School. She was a three-time all-conference selection and the St. Paul City Conference’s most valuable player her sophomore and junior years.

Ohm, a 5-foot-11-inch forward from Rochester, Minn., is on pace to break Minnesota’s all-time girls’ high school scoring record of 3,300 points.

Her aunt, Elsie Ohm, was the Gophers’ first All-American in 1978.

“Katie wants the ball in her hands in crucial times,” Borton said. “Through a rollercoaster she stays grounded.”

Fox is a 5-foot-9-inch guard from Thunder Ridge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., where she led the state in assists last year. She is currently ranked 52nd on Blue Star Basketball’s list of top national seniors.

Men’s class likely today

Minnesota men’s basketball coach Dan Monson said the men’s class will probably be announced today.

The signings should include Kevin Payton, Damian Johnson, James Davis and Brandon Smith.

Payton, who will likely play point guard at Minnesota, is a 6-foot-5-inch Austria native; Johnson is a 6-foot-7-inch prospect from Louisiana; Smith is a 6-foot-5-incher from Minneapolis Henry High School (a borderline top-100 recruit according to most recruiting Web sites); and Davis is a 7-foot center who graduated from Minneapolis North High School but attended Garden City Community College in Kansas for a year.

Mortimer honored

Minnesota men’s swimming and diving senior Justin Mortimer was named Collegeswimming.com national swimmer of the week Wednesday.

Mortimer won four individual events and a relay for the sixth-ranked Gophers at last weekend’s triple dual with North Carolina and Virginia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C.

– Bob Wothe contributed to this article.