Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brenner Commits to Vermont

Samantha Brenner has become the latest girls basketball player from New Hampshire to go on to play Division I college basketball. The 6'3" forward has verbally committed to the University of Vermont.

"I am going to a mid-major school with a high-major coach" Brenner told the NH Notebook. "I will have a chance to play, and my gut feeling is that we will win a lot of games."

This is a tremendous accomplishment for Brenner, a Nashua native who will be a senior at the New Hampton School this winter. She has always had the size, but over the last couple of years she has put in the work to take her game to the next level.

The UVM women's basketball team is coached by Lori McBride, who won a national championship with the University of North Carolina as a player in 1994.

"She knows how to win, and and she has been bringing in some amazing recruits" said Brenner.

Vermont was only one of many schools that was after the versatile forward, who can run the floor and shoot the basketball very well for a 6'3" player in addition to being an effective post player.

"I was looking at Princeton, Hartford, Vermont, Loyola, Albany, Brown, Delaware, Richmond and Rice" said Brenner. But ultimately it came down to Vermont and Delaware. In addition to the basketball part of it, what I like about Vermont is that it's close to home, has the best college town of Burlington. Academically it was right up my alley with small sized classes and teachers that actually want to be there. Also, the women's program is fully funded being that hockey and basketball are the two most popular sports and there is no football at Vermont."

Brenner has played the for the NH Rivals AAU program for each of the past two years, where she played against elite competition, gained valuable exposure and further developed her game.

"Sam has made great strides in the past two years" said Rivals coach Scott Hazelton. "She was mainly a back to the basket player but since then has grown into a player who can score from the inside and out. At 6'3 she has a great skill set that allows her to play both forward spots. I believe if Sam keeps improving she could be an immediate impact for Vermont. It's been a pleasure to coaching Sam over the past two AAU seasons. She is a hard worker who is extremely dedicated to making herself along with her teammates better."

The Catamounts only won 5 games last season, but it was the first season at the helm for Coach McBride. Their 2011 recruiting class is ranked #1 in the America East though, and bringing Brenner on board is a strong way to start off their 2012 incoming class.

Brenner never played in the NHIAA, playing her whole career at New Hampton. She is definitely a NH kid though, and clearly she has been happy with the coaching she's received not only from Hazelton but also from the New Hampton coaches as well.

"I could NOT have done this without my two coaches" said Brenner. "My amazing high school coach Darren Redman gave me the drive to win, and really helped me in the classroom and also to start getting my name out in the college world. And of course my AAU coach, Scott Hazelton. He is the one that believed in me more then I did a lot of the time. Scott gave me the confidence to try things I've been practicing and really assured me that I can do anything."

Brenner is part of a very talented Rivals team that includes Lexi Sells from Attleboro, MA (committed to Providence College), Melissa Frase (committed to Umass-Lowell, story on her coming soon) and Exeter native Madeline Blais.

"I couldn't have done this without my teammates" Brenner admitted. "I love them. They are my sisters."

Brenner plans on studying history and education at Vermont. She also hopes to continue playing basketball after college and possibly go back to New Hampton to coach.

Congratulations to Sam, and best of luck at UVM!

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