The second-leading scorer in Prince George’s County had heavy interest from Division II schools throughout her senior year, but Division I teams hadn’t taken much notice of the 5-6 senior who dropped 46 points in one game this season and 37 in another. Arkansas-Pine Bluff did take an interest, though, seeing the combination of a nearly 23 points-per-game average and an as-yet unsigned player as a can’t-miss opportunity. Still, it was late in the recruiting process. So with scholarships limited and just two seniors graduating to open up slots, the Lions got creative.
“The coach said ‘we’re going to do everything we can to get [you] there,'” Fletcher said. “Academic, athletic, we’re going to make it happen.'”
Given the Lions’ athletic scholarship situation, the academic route was the most practical, and Fletcher had the resume to make that work just fine: she maintained a 3.5 GPA and was in the running for class valedictorian her senior year. So the school offered Fletcher a full academic scholarship, and the Lions offered her a spot on the team.
“It’s just crazy,” said Fletcher, who coaches told would potentially be able to switch to an athletic scholarship at some point in her career. “I didn’t expect it. I was like ‘wow, you can do it like that?'”
Fletcher will visit the school in the first week of June, then leaves to attend a school program and begin training July 7. Though she hasn’t been to the school yet, Fletcher says conversations with the coaching staff convinced her it was the right fit.
“They just made me feel so welcome,” Fletcher said. “And even though I didn’t come down to visit, I was talking to the girls on the team on a regular basis. Everything was comfortable.”
Fletcher, whose scoring jumped nearly 10 points per game between her junior and senior seasons at Potomac, says she’s just as happy about the opportunity to play Division I basketball as the opportunities afforded by her academic scholarship.
“Not only can I play Division I basketball, but I get the benefits academically, too,” said Fletcher, who is considering majoring in biology. “It’s all beneficial, and I’m getting the best of both worlds.”