Monday, December 31, 2012

Sherburne Commits to Niagara

By: Jeremy Leveille

Thousands of kids play high school basketball every year. A very small percentage of tBy: Jeremy Ldvehem will win a state title. An even smaller percentage of them will accept a Division I scholarship offer. Bishop Guertin point guard Jamie Sherburne has now done both - and she's only a junior.

Sherburne (Hudson, NH) has committed to attend and play basketball for Niagara University, a Division I program which competes in the highly competitive MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). The BG girls now have two future D-I college players on their squad, as Sherburne's teammate Meghan Green committed to Boston University in July.

This may seem like an early commitment, but Sherburne felt like the timing was perfect.

"I visited the school and spent the weekend on campus" Sherburne told the NH Notebook. "Spending the time there and meeting many of the girls I would have the opportunity to play with, was definitely a big factor in my decision. As I continued to research the other opportunities I had, I came to the conclusion that the feeling I had about Niagara could not be matched. The coaches, the team, the education, the program, and ultimately the feeling I had when I left my last visit brought the Niagara opportunity to the top. Finally, when I looked in the stands at our home opener this year and I saw head coach Faustin, I knew that Niagara was where I wanted to go."

Sherburne is a 5-foot-7 point guard who is best known for her explosive quickness when pushing the ball on the break and her ability to make plays off the dribble. She excels at driving into the lane and if the defense collapses she can find the open teammate, and if not she will score at the rim. Sherburne has tremendous basketball instincts and is a tough defender. She also plays her best basketball when the pressure is on the most.

"Niagara was completely honest and straight forward in the recruiting process" explained Sherburne. "I was their only scholarship offer in the class of 2014, in the point guard position. They have a specific plan for me during the four years I would be there. I love their coaching staff and program. In many other schools, the recruiting process was different. I found that they offered other girls in my class the same position, and hoped that one of them would commit. I like the way Niagara went through the recruiting process with me."

In addition to basketball, academics also played a factor in Sherburne's decision to commit to Niagara.

"I would like to be a teacher" said Sherburne. "Niagara is a liberal arts university with a terrific Education program. I would love to also be a coach. I had the opportunity to coach town basketball and soccer for the past few years and I love working with kids. I am hoping to combine my desire to teach and my love of the game into a successful career."

It is not very often that two girls from the same high school team go on to play D-I college basketball, but that's what BG has with Sherburne and Green. This year both of them took their games to a new level by playing AAU with the Rivals Basketball Club.

"Joining the Rivals program this summer had a huge impact on my game" Sherburne went on. "I thought I worked hard in the past, but it was nothing compared to the level of play at the Rivals. In the Rivals program I have trained with top coaches; I have had the opportunity to play and practiced with some exceptional players; and I have competed in many high exposure tournaments."

Sherburne's coach with the Rivals, and also at Bishop Guertin is former McDonald's All-American Scott Hazelton.

"Coach Hazelton is the toughest coach I have ever played for" He has pushed me harder than I realized I had the ability to do. "I thought I worked hard in the past at practice, but it is nothing compared to the practices and training in the Rivals program. He had my team play in highly competitive tournaments against some of the top players and teams on the east coast. During that time I got a lot of exposure to college coaches. Coach Hazelton is a great coach and I am extremely lucky to play for him."

According to Hazelton, what impresses him most about Sherburne is her work ethic. He even said that Sherburne is one of the hardest workers he has ever coached.

"I am not sure where I get my work ethic and competitive drive from, but I have always had it" Sherburne said. "I hate losing, even more than I like winning. I am competitive in everything I do. I have played with and against terrific players. I have been extremely lucky to have the coaches I had that pushed me to be my best."

Hazelton isn't the only coach that has played a vital role in Sherburne's success on the basketball court.

"Another person that has helped me develop my game is Scott Purcell" said Sherburne, who grew up playing alongside Purcell's daughter Sandi (starting point guard for Alvirne High). "Mr. Purcell was one of my first coaches and taught me all the fundamentals I needed to become a better player. I still sometimes call him for his opinion about a game, a play, or a call made to help me better understand the game."

Now that she has made her college decision, Sherburne's focus now shifts strictly to helping BG win another championship.

"Last year winning the state title was very exciting" Sherburne concluded. "We would love to repeat this year. Our main focus is to take one game at a time and play as a team. There are some very strong teams in our division, which means we only need to work harder."

Congratulations to Sherburne on this terrific accomplishment.

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