WBB: Talking to '11 G commit Bonnie Samuelson

Bonnie Samuelson is pure bubbly California – one of the more personable student-athletes we've had the pleasure of interviewing at The Bootleg. She talks about her commitment, her experiences trying out for the US National Team, and her future at Stanford in our penultimate interview with the 2011 six-woman class.

Bonnie Samuelson's experiences camping at Stanford early in her high school career piqued her interest in the school, and an official visit to the Farm all but sealed the deal.

"I went to camps when I younger and had fun there [at Stanford]," Samuelson told The Bootleg. "I did come on an official there, and absolutely fell in love with the campus and the team. The academics are a huge bonus for me. But I walk down campus and feel like I fit there, so I'm really glad I'm coming. It's such a beautiful city and the girls are so awesome, all super nice to me.

"On my official, it just proved Stanford was the right choice. I felt like I belonged. … I knew that's where I wanted to go. I just felt Stanford was place for me, so I said ‘let's do it,' and verballed there."

As is true of so many Stanford student-athletes, academics aren't mere lip service for Samuelson, who reports a 4.8 weighted high school GPA.

"I take academics very seriously," she said. "Ever since I've been younger, school always came first. Academics and basketball are my top priorities."

Come college, Samuelson is thinking about applying that focus in two different directions, as she's considering majoring in two highly dissimilar fields.

"I'm not sure, because I'm really good at talking to people, so maybe I'll major in communication or broadcasting," she said. "My uncle is a doctor, and I saw him perform surgery, so maybe I'll do something in the medical field as well. I'm not entirely sure though."

One decision Samuelson is sure of is her decision to attend Stanford. It wasn't easy though, as schools from across the country tempted the California star.

"I went to the East Coast and visited Connecticut, Maryland and Duke," she said. "I was impressed with all their programs. They're all great teams, UConn obviously, but Duke and Maryland were awesome, Arizona State, UCLA and California were awesome, but obviously, Stanford is the place for me, and I loved it."

Like Erica Payne, our last profiled commit, Samuelson had exposure to a lot of current freshman and 2011 commits at those schools she considered when she tried out for the U16 and U17 US National teams these last two seasons.

"It's a great experience," Samuelson said of the tryouts. "They've invited me for tryouts for the national team, and I've gone for two years now. It's always cool to go up there and meet other great players in the nation. I got to meet a lot of girls up there. It's always tough not to make the team, but all the girls are trying really hard and the altitude's a killer."

Though she hasn't yet made the team, Samuelson says the experience has made her a better player.

"It helped a lot. It was good to open up and see competition with the best players who are really athletic. It's helped my basketball smarts, because they're really smart and fundamentally sound. It has helped my quickness too, to have to keep up with them and strengthen up pushes me harder."

So while Samuelson sees herself developing into a more complete player, she still is first and foremost a scorer.

"I'm definitely a shooter through and through," she said. "My dad engrained that in me since I was younger. I love to drive the lane, get people in air and get to the line. I love shooting free throws. With my high school team, I have to play lots of positions and have had to develop a post game, though I'll be more of a perimeter player in college."

Though she lists herself at "6-foot-2.5, barefoot," a guard's height at the collegiate level, Samuelson still wants to work on her upper body strength, which she considers her biggest point of emphasis between now and the start of college.

"I think the biggest thing for me is to get stronger, so I can build up strength and bang with the girls," she said. "I also want to build up my conditioning, and hopefully Stanford will build that up more, but I hope to work on my own beforehand."

Finally, a few interpersonal notes on Samuelson, the self-described people person. First, on her official, Samuelson met all the current Stanford players, and fellow 2011 commits Taylor Greenfield, Amber Orrange and Erica Payne. She also met the star who has set the standard for Stanford guards.

"Candice Wiggins was on a visit during my official, so I got to say hi to her."

Hopefully some of Wiggins' magic – and moxie – rubbed off on Samuelson, though obviously that's an awfully high bar to set for a player who just barely started her senior season of high school. The other personal note is that with Samuelson in a boot for the past month with a sprained ankle (she's since returned to full health), she had more time to watch the game of her two younger sisters, and Bonnie came away impressed. Speaking of unfair expectations, we don't mean to dangle a Stanford scholarship in front of players just beginning high school (or not even there yet), but Tara Vanderveer may have landed herself a package deal here.

"I have two younger sisters, and Carly, the middle one, is our point guard," Bonnie Samuelson said. "It's so fun to play with her. She's so competitive and so strong, and is just a sophomore. And then my youngest sister, in eighth grade, is almost as tall as me, maybe an inch shorter than me, but is probably going to be taller than me in a month."

Whatever the future years do or don't have in store, one Samuelson is more than enough to excite a Stanford women's basketball fan base mightily excited already by the No. 2 Card's stellar start to the 2010-11 season. Stay tuned for our final profile of this series, and more coverage of women's basketball and women's basketball recruiting in the years to come.


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