🏀 Jayhawks Sign Highly Touted Duo on National Signing Day
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head Coach Brandon Schneider has announced the addition of two student-athletes to the Kansas Women’s Basketball program as guards Laia Conesa and S’Mya Nichols signed with the Jayhawks on the first day of the early signing period.
Both players will join the Jayhawks as freshmen for the 2023-24 season. Conesa is a 5-10 guard coming to Kansas from Barcelona, Spain, while Nichols is staying close to home and joining the Jayhawks from Overland Park, Kansas. Nichols, a five-star prospect and No. 22-ranked prospect in the country by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, becomes the highest-rated high school prospect signed by Kansas in Schneider’s tenure.
"We signed a small class this year, but I think it’s probably the highest-rated class that our program has signed in a long time. We were able to bring in one of the best guards, not only in Spain, but in all of Europe in Laia Conesa, and getting S’Mya Nichols, one of the best players in the country, to stay home and be a Jayhawk. The trajectory of Kansas Women’s Basketball continues to head in a positive direction, and we look forward to adding Laia and S’Mya to our family."Brandon Schneider
"I chose Kansas because I think it’s a good school to continue my education at while enjoying and playing basketball at the same time. Being able to spend time with Coach Brandon when he visited my family in Spain was meaningful in my recruiting process and made me feel connected to Kansas and the program."Laia Conesa
G, 5-10, Fr.-HS
Barcelona, Spain (IES Joaquim Blume)
Notes: Has competed for the Spanish National Team during the FIBA U16 Women’s European Challengers (2021), FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup (2022) and the FIBA 3×3 U17 Europe Cup (2022)…Helped Spain to a runner-up, silver medal finish in the U17 World Cup…Scored 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range in the finals against Team USA…Was the No. 2 scorer in the FIBA 3×3 U17 Europe Cup in September 2022, earning a spot on the ‘Team of the Tournament’…Averaged 17.2 points per game in the Europe Cup as she led Spain to the silver medal…Helped her team to a 5-0 record during the European Challengers event…Plays at one of Spain’s top basketball academies, Segle XXI, which competes in Liga Femenina 2, Spain’s second-tier women’s basketball league…Committed to Kansas in April 2022…Chose KU over from Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Washington State and others…Daughter of David Conesa and Ivette Calvet…Has two younger siblings: brother, Marc, and sister, Berta.
Coach Brandon on Laia: “Laia is a fierce competitor, and you can tell that she loves the game of basketball. The first thing that stands out about her is her versatility and being able to play numerous positions on the perimeter. She’s an extremely active defender and has a knack for getting her hands on the ball with a lot of deflections. She has a high basketball IQ and is an exceptional passer with great court vision. Off the court, her personality is very quiet and reserved, but when she steps on the court, she’s a fiery competitor.”
"I chose Kansas because every time I was on campus it felt like home. I immediately fell in love with the family atmosphere and how serious the coaches and players are about winning. I wanted to join a team that wants to do anything to win while sticking together. Kansas let me take my time and be on my own pace to figure things out and I appreciated that the most."S'Mya Nichols
G, 6-0, Fr-HS
Overland Park, Kan. (Shawnee Mission West HS)
Notes: Five-star prospect, ranked No. 5 at her position and No. 22 in the country by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report…As a member of the 2022 Team USA U18 National Team, won a gold medal at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship…’Sports in Kansas’ Second Team All-State All-Classes selection in 2022…Two-time All-Class 6A First Team selection (2021, 2022) by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association (KBCA)…2021 DeSoto Hardwood Classic Tournament MVP…Second Team All-State Class 6A selection by ‘Sports in Kansas’ and CJOnline.com in 2020…Led Shawnee Mission West to the Class 6A State Tournament for the first time since 2016, earning the Vikings the No. 7 seed in 2022…Scored a career-best 31 points in the sub-state championship win over Olathe South…Coached by Mark Rabbitt at Shawnee Mission West…Averages 13.8 points per game for her career, entering her senior season less than 100 points away for 1,000 for her career…Played AAU basketball for the Missouri Phenom program started by KU Associate Head Coach Terry Nooner…Committed to Kansas in October 2022…Chose KU over Tennessee, Arizona Oklahoma, Missouri and many others…Daughter of Latreena Lambert and Sam Nichols…Stepfather Dane Griffin played football at Kansas from 1982-85…Has five sisters: Tyra Cole, Kyra Nichols, Kyla Nichols, Janiya Nichols and Tyerra Nichols.
Coach Brandon on S’Mya: “It’s hard to describe the impact that S’Mya is going to have on our program in every facet. We identified her as one of the premier up-and-coming players in the nation at an early age and we’ve been recruiting her since she was in seventh grade, offering when she was in eighth grade. S’Mya is a player who can play four positions offensively and we’ve seen her guard all five positions at a high level. Paired with her elite skill set, her versatility, size, strength and athleticism really stand out when you watch her play.”