It didn’t take long for Paul VI forward Jonquanae Cole to fall in love with North Carolina State during her weekend trip to the school’s campus. She arrived in Raleigh on Thursday for her official visit, and on Friday she had a one-on-one session with Athletic Director Debbie Yow.
Cole said Yow, the younger sister of the late Kay Yow, a legendary coach for the Wolfpack and USA Basketball, was extremely down to earth and a proponent of the sport. Cole met several academic coordinators after she met Yow, but before she was done with the athletic director she knew N.C. State was the place for her. She gave her oral commitment Sunday before she trekked back to the Washington area.
“It was far enough from home that I could be independent and grow up a little bit,” Cole said of the Atlantic Coast Conference school located about 250 miles from the Washington area. “It was just close enough where I could go home in a day and be back. Being in the ACC that’s all on the East Coast, my parents loved coach [Wes] Moore and the whole staff. They can come to as many games as they want to.”
The 6-foot-4 standout is highly skilled in the post and relentless when it comes to rebounding. She was second on the team in scoring last season at just less than 11 points per game for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association champion Panthers.
And with the departure of All-Met Ariana Freeman (Louisville) and Lindsey Oblitey (Virginia Tech), the scoring onus will fall more heavily on Cole.
“I’ve been working on my conditioning, we’re trying to run the floor and the ball this year,” Cole said. “That’s what Coach [Scott] Allen does. I’ve also been trying to improve my outside game too.”
Despite the departures, the goal remains the same for the Panthers after they won their first WCAC tournament title in school history last winter.
“We definitely want to repeat this year with WCAC and states,” Cole said. “We also want to have a perfect season. Losing is not something we want to do this year.
Cole chose the Wolfpack over offers from the likes of Michigan, Penn State, Louisville, Florida, Kentucky and Rutgers. Her first official visit was to Michigan, a campus she enjoyed but believes is too far from home for her liking.
Cole took an unofficial visit to Penn State, but she was never able to get to the other schools after N.C. State wooed her over the weekend.
The honorable mention All-Met will join 2014 All-Met Player of the Year Chloe Jackson of Riverdale Baptist when she arrives on campus. Cole will also pair with Crusaders 6-foot-2 senior Lena Niang, who has also given an oral commitment to the Wolfpack.
“I can now focus on being the best I can be and getting in college shape,” Cole said. “I am focusing on school more and my senior year.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 3
With Cole’s commitment, the always talent-rich WCAC has had three girls’ basketball players give their commitments to Division I universities. St. John’s senior guard Amari Carter (Penn State), Paul VI junior guard Raven James (Villanova) and now Cole.
–District Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) has recommended new boundaries that may alter the athletic landscape of District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association student-athletes.
–Letters of Interest are back in full effect for the 2014-15 school year. Read the first post that recaps a whirlwind Week 1 of high school football.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
The first installment of our weekly Top Plays. Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the week of football in the D.C. area.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Volleyball: Stone Bridge at Loudoun County, 7 p.m. These two perennial Virginia state powers renew their rivalry tonight in Leesburg. The Raiders defeated Stone Bridge in straight sets when the two teams met a year ago, and both are loaded with a bunch of returning talent. If you need fast-paced action on your Wednesday night, Loudoun County is the place to be.