On Tuesday night, Paul Rowley opened the door of his Purcellville home and entered the street with a basketball in his hand and a weight on his mind.

Paul Rowley found the right fit with William & Mary. (Photo courtesy of Clarence Thomas/LoCo-Photo.com) Paul Rowley found the right fit with William & Mary. (Photo courtesy of Clarence Thomas/LoCo-Photo.com)

As he walked and dribbled, the Loudoun Valley rising senior forward contemplated his options for college basketball. He had 12 offers.

By the time Rowley returned home, he made his choice with a clear head and a lungful of fresh air. On Wednesday morning, Rowley called William & Mary to orally commit to the Tribe.

“I feel like they really, really want me, and I really, really want to be there,” Rowley said.

When he canvassed his neighborhood, Rowley played a game with himself. Hypothetically, he reacted to how he would feel if one of his top five schools garnered a commitment from a rival prospect at his position.

Rowley decided he would be most upset if he lost his chance to play for William & Mary, the school that pursued him with the most vigor from the beginning of the process.

“I had a small kind of blowing up on the AAU basketball circuit,” Rowley said. “My name started to get out there more. William & Mary had shown me love before that. They already believed in me. They already had been recruiting me heavily.

“If someone else committed to Wiliam & Mary, I would have been pretty upset with myself, and I think that said a lot.”

Academic powers including Harvard, Yale and Cornell offered Rowley, but he said he was comfortable picking what he called a “public Ivy.”

After calling his suitors to inform them of his decision, Rowley said now he can finally relax.

He said he will enjoy the rest of his summer as a normal 16-year old, rest his shins to ward off recurring shin splints and get back in the weight room to add more muscle to a 6-foot-7 and still growing frame.

After leading the Vikings with 16.6 points per game as a junior, Rowley will assume an expanded role in the offense as a senior due to the departures of big men Josh Grimard and Jovon Miller.

“I think he’s very successful at taking it to the basket,” Loudoun Valley Coach Chad Dawson said. “Last year he had great success with being an outside shooter. Now he’s going to get to the foul line a lot because he takes the ball so strong to the hole.”

Last season, the Vikings won their first 18 games, captured the Virginia AA Dulles District tournament championship and advanced to the Virginia AA Division 3 quarterfinals.

In a summer camp tournament in West Virginia, Dawson said his team went 6-2 and showcased how dangerous Rowley can be in a lead role.

“He was pretty much unstoppable, averaging probably 30 or 35 points a game,” Dawson said. “I would look for him to carry that kind of pace over to our season this year.”

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