There has always been a large debate over when the perfect time to start your recruiting process is. But there has been an even larger debate concerning when the perfect time to commit to a college is. Honestly, I really don’t think that there is a perfect time to do either. You really can’t control when your recruiting process actually begins, but you can control the decisions you make.
Everyone is different, and not everyone will wait until her senior year to make a decision. I, for example, gave my verbal commitment to the University of Maryland the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I am constantly asked: Why did you decide so early? How did you know what you wanted at age 15? Don’t you wish you got to enjoy the recruiting process? All three questions can be answered in one brief statement: Maryland is my dream school.
My freshman year flew by, and before I knew it, AAU season was back. Coach [Brenda] Frese and some of the assistant coaches had been at a few of my games during the high school season, and I had been receiving a lot of letters from the University of Maryland. I had assumed that Maryland was interested in me, but by the summertime I KNEW that they were interested in me.
I signed up for Maryland’s elite camp over the summer, and that ended up being the highlight of my summer. I drove up to Maryland with my dad and it was the weekend that I can honestly say changed my life. It only took me two days to fall in love with the University of Maryland, and a feeling like that could not be ignored. I told my dad in the middle of camp that I didn’t care if it took until the end of my senior year -- I wanted to be a part of the Maryland family. Lucky for me, it only took a couple days after elite camp to make my dream come true.
My decision to verbally commit to Maryland so early has been both criticized and applauded. But if you know where you want to be, why you should have to wait? You should not, however, make a decision based solely on emotion; you still need to do your research. You are about to spend the next FOUR YEARS of your life in a new place, so you better feel comfortable or it won’t be enjoyable. Deciding where you want to play basketball and attend college can be one of the hardest, most stressful processes you go through as a young athlete. But the feeling you get after you finally decide, when you finally are a part of a new family, is a feeling that you can get at any age.