By the time the regular national letter of intent day rolls around for the girls basketball elite, almost all drama is extinguished.
All but two of the top 40 players from the Class of 2011 signed college scholarships before Wednesday.
One - Christ the King guard
(Christ the King-Middle Village, N.Y.) -
has still yet to sign. She had committed to Virginia but coach Debbie Ryan resigned so she's still weighing her options.
The other, McDonald's All-American and two-time Gatorade Delaware Girls Basketball Player of the Year Betnijah Laney
picked Rutgers University.
She made the announcement at school on Wednesday.
The 6-foot guard averaged 22 points her senior year and finished as Smyrna's all-time leading scorer with 2,200 points. She led the Eagles to the 2010 state championship game and this year's state tournament semifinals.
Laney will join other MaxPreps All-Americans (teams will be announced Thursday) - Briyona Canty (Trenton Catholic Academy, N.J.)
and Shakena Richardson
and Synessence Davis of Neptune (N.J.)
to play for coach Vivian Stringer at Rutgers next season. She picked Rutgers over Duke and Oklahoma.
Laney's mother, Yolanda Laney, played for Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer
at Cheyney State (Pa.) (now Cheyney University), where she was a
Division II All-American and led her team to the 1982 national
championship. Smyrna coach James Kiger is confident that like her
mother, Betnijah will thrive under Stringer's tutelage.
excited for Betnijah because she is very familiar with the Rutgers
program and has developed a relationship with Coach Stringer over the
years," Kiger said. "She will fit in well there with their aggressive
style of play. Selfishly, it will be nice to have her close by so we can
see as many of her games as we are able."
Betnijah Laney told The News Journal: "[Going to Rutgers] will give me a chance to grow as a person. Plus, I know [Stringer] will develop me as
a player and get me to where I need to be for the next level. ... I
started leaning toward Rutgers a while ago, and I really fit in when I
thought about everything, so that's what made my decision final."
Of the top 50 seniors, seven teams are getting three each: Connecticut, Tennessee, UCLA, Stanford, Texas A&M, Cal and Rutgers.
From the MaxPreps All-American teams, two Connecticut signees are on the top three teams, Player of the year G Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
(Mater Dei-Santa Ana, Calif.), F Brianna Banks
(Fayette County, Ga.) and F Kiah Stokes
Two other underclass All-Americans have already committed to Connecticut: C Morgan Tuck
(Bolingbrook, Ill.) and F Breanna Stewart
(Cicero-North Syracuse, Cicero, N.Y.).
Other schools to score big three elite players: Tennessee -
F Cierra Burdick
(Butler, N.C.), G Ariel Massengale
(Bolingbrook) and F Isabelle Harrison
(Hillsboro, Tenn.). UCLA -
C Justine Hartman
(Brea Olinda, Calif.), F Kacy Swain (Great Oak, Calif.), F Sheila Boykin
(Long Beach Poly, Calif.). Stanford -
G Taylor Greenfield
(Ballard Community, Iowa), G Amber Orrange
(Westbury Christian, Texas), G Alex Green
(Bishop Lynch, Texas). Cal -
F Erika Johnson (Holy Names Academy, Wash.), F Reshanda Gray
(Washington Prep, Calif.), G Brittany Boyd
(Berkeley, Calif.). Texas A&M -
G Tori Scott (John Ehret, La.), G Alexia Standish
(Colleyville Heritage, Texas), C Rachel Mitchell
(Atascocita, Texas). Mid-Atlantic correspondent Jon Buzby contributed to this report.