The plan is for Eleanor Roosevelt standout center Selena Nwude to narrow her choice of colleges to 10 by the end of the month and five before school starts, Raiders Coach Rod Hairston said. Of course, when the 6-foot-5 rising senior plays as she has this summer, that timetable might be easier discussed than kept.
A third-team All-Met despite being hampered by an ankle injury last season, Nwude has played well in camps and summer tournaments with Team Excel and "her stock has risen," Hairston said. More than 20 colleges have offered scholarships, Hairston said, including recent Final Four teams Notre Dame and Penn State, although Nwude has not come up with any favorites.
"As soon as you put those people in the paper, the ones that I didn't mention are going to be mad," Hairston said. "But she's really open."
Nwude made the all-star team at the Adidas all-American camp last week in Suwanee, Ga. It was there, Hairston said, that Nwude showed she can compete successfully against players her size. During the high school season, that often can be difficult to judge because Nwude almost always has a significant height advantage over her opponents.
"I remember trying to look for Selena [at the camp] and I'm usually able to find her easily but I couldn't because everyone was tall," Hairston said. "She showed she is able to run up and down the floor and change styles. She also showed she's a very coachable kid. All of those things helped her. A lot of people might have been recruiting her just because she's tall but at the camp I think she did a good job of competing and being a standout player even among players her size.
"She has to be one of the better centers coming out in the 2006 class."
Nwude will be the leader next season as the Raiders try to defend their Maryland 4A title, but she should have plenty of help from a back court that includes rising seniors Candra Scott and Davida Dodson, and rising junior Michaya Walker.
Nwude was not the only Team Excel player gaining recognition last week at the Adidas camp and the Tournament of Champions, where the team finished third. Riverdale Baptist rising senior Demauria Liles, a wing player who has committed to Maryland, also was named to the all-star team. While Liles performed well at the camp, she said it is tournament play that she enjoys more.
"Because we beat everybody and we want to show everybody what Maryland can do," Liles said.
Teams from Riverdale Baptist, Eleanor Roosevelt and several other county schools will compete in the U.S. Junior Nationals tournament that begins Friday at sites around the Washington area. Riverdale and Roosevelt are scheduled to play each other tonight in the Adidas Classic summer league at Riverdale, but Hairston expected the game to either be rescheduled or played with junior varsity players.
This weekend's tournament and the upcoming Best of Maryland tournament in Damascus will be a good chance to see Riverdale's lineup with its latest additions: transfers Vicki Collier (Largo), Alexis Abraham (Good Counsel), Rashonna Hobbs (Spalding) and Ciara Hayes (Suitland). Collier, a fourth-team All-Met last season, has scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and Rhode Island and will be a frontcourt leader for a team that also returns guard Lindsay Harris, whose scholarship offers include Stanford.
Adding Collier "will make a big difference," Liles said. "She runs the floor, she works hard, she can dribble and she's a slasher. She can do everything."