Ashley DeLeonibus, Bullis forward, commits to William & Mary

Ashley DeLeonibus Bullis forward Ashley DeLeonibus (left), a rising senior, committed to William & Mary. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Bullis forward Ashley DeLeonibus, who committed this week to the William & Mary women’s basketball program, had a rare recruiting experience: As she was being shown around campus, so too were the Tribe’s new coaches.

So before making such a major decision, DeLeonibus got to see how her possible future teammates interacted with first-year Coach Ed Swanson and his staff.

“The coaches were learning as they were going because it was their first time seeing the grounds,” said DeLeonibus, a rising senior. “The players were really accepting and helping them get acclimated.”

That pleasant experience and several other factors helped DeLeonibus choose William & Mary over Massachusetts, a school she had visited during spring break.

The William & Mary business school, the “beautiful” campus and the surrounding attractions also were a lure. In Williamsburg, she will join 2013 Paul VI Catholic graduates Marlena Tremba and Kasey Curtis, who like DeLeonibus are products of the Germantown Panthers AAU program.

Swanson, who compiled a 406-264 record (280-145 since moving to Division I) in 23 years at Sacred Heart, departed the Fairfield, Conn., school as the Northeast Conference’s all-time winning coach. DeLeonibus took that as an indication that Williamsburg would be a worthy destination for her, too, even though the Tribe went 8-22 last year and have only five winning seasons since 1978-79, none since 2006-07.

“To see that he would go from that school to this school after 23 years, there has to be something special about this school that made him want to come,” she said.

Swanson is familiar with recruiting the Washington area. His final Sacred Heart team had three local players — Paul VI’s Blair Koniszewski, Holy Cross‘s Lerae Ettienne and Blair‘s Johanna Lopez.

The 6-foot-1 DeLeonibus did not start playing basketball until she was in sixth grade. She and her father, Mike, credit AAU Coach Milton Kimbrough and her former coach at Tuscarora (Md.) High, Barry Weiser, as integral to her becoming skilled enough to earn a Division I scholarship.

“Everything with Ashley is upside,” Bullis Coach Rod Hairston said. “She’s really just started to understand how good she could be.”



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Eric Detweiler · June 20, 2013