One of the bigger names attending the USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival earlier this month was forward Danielle Wilson. The 6'3" post from St. John the Baptist High School (West Islip, N.Y.) has held scholarship offers and attention from coast to coast after a junior season that saw her score 22 points and rip down 14 rebounds per game - all within the flow of her team.
"It was overall a good season. I think I played pretty well," says the 56% shooter. "My job is to rebound well for our team, and score points off good assists."
Hanging out in the low post, Wilson has a workman's like attitude and ethic. She does not force the offense, and instead focuses on her role within the team. The stats come easily, and her upside is enticing. Wilson is currently working on a couple areas of her game to enhance his scoring acumen - at the charity strip and shooting facing the basket.
"I'm making a lot of progress with my free throw and stepping away from the basket. I shoot over 200 free throws a day," she reports.
Wilson and St. John the Baptist went 22-6 this past winter and advanced to the New York state semifinals before dropping to St. Peter's of Staten Island. St. Peter's might ring a bell, as the home of two-time Parade All-American Nicky Anosike, who just completed her freshman year at Tennessee. Wilson has been recruited and offered by high-majors across the country, though she doesn't look likely to end up in Knoxville or the SEC. Her list has a greater ACC and Big East feel right now. It had some strong Pac-10 flavor before a recent trimming of her favorites.
"I was really open-minded about schools out west in the beginning, but after talking with my mom and dad, I've decided to stay closer to home," Wilson declares. "I want to stay on the East Coast right now. Stanford and UCLA are definitely out; I eliminated them in May."
While that is disappointing news for the Cardinal and Bruins, fans in the ACC and Big East are celebrating Wilson's decision to narrow her focus geographically. She says between 10 and 15 schools are still somewhere on her list, but her mind is mostly directed toward six favorites.
And what of the chatter on some message boards that St. John's is one of the top teams to beat for her services?
"That's a bad rumor," she laughs.
Wilson has unofficially visited three of her favorites: Maryland, UConn and Temple. She is in no hurry to reach her final decision on her college commitment, however, and plans on taking official visits at the start of her senior year. She intends to sign in the November period.
"I'm looking at the environment of the school, the academics and the way the coaches see me as a role player," Wilson shares. With an 87% average in the classroom (waiting for May SAT score), you can expect her to carry out both halves of the student-athlete role to their fullest.
With a strong head start on her recruitment, Wilson has some firm thoughts already on several of her favorites, with a pair from the ACC nudging ahead of the others.
Duke: "They have great academics. It's a good school. They have a lot of guards coming this year and in my class. There really aren't any drawbacks to Duke. I'll hopefully get to see them this summer or in September."
Maryland: "I really like the girls, and the coaches are great. They're really good and really work hard with the girls."
UConn: "They have a great coaching staff around the team. They have a lot of strong players. But they have a lot of post players coming in my year, so I'm not sure of the playing time."
Notre Dame: "I like their style of play - inside-out. It is a little far from home, though. Maybe not too far. We'll see."
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