Friday, August 22, 2014

Believe it or Not - Ripley is the Next Big Thing in NH Basketball

New Hampton School's Rebecca Ripley already has 6 scholarship offers - and she hasn't even started her sophomore year of high school. Ripley, a versatile 5-foot-11 wing player, was voted to the NEPSAC all-star game as a freshman. She has continued her strong play this spring / summer AAU season with the Rivals Basketball Club.

"URI was the first school that offered me this spring" Ripley told the NH Notebook. "The coaching staff saw me play at the NEPSAC all star game and was impressed by my play. I was so excited because URI is a great school. Other schools that have offered me are Clemson, Providence College, Fordham, Bryant University and UMass Amherst. I attended the Clemson basketball camp over the summer and they offered me right after camp. I have also have been talking to coaches from Boston College, University of Kentucky, LSU, Syracuse and Michigan."

Ripley can do it all on the basketball court. She can bring the ball up the floor, she can score in the post, she can battle inside for rebounds, hit shots from 3-point or the mid-range area, she can defend. The first time I saw Ripley play was last winter when her New Hampton team took on Tabor, one of the top prep school squads in New England. Ripley brought the ball up the court in transition, she was met by a defender, then she she put the ball through her legs and buried a step-back 3-pointer, nothing but net. Not bad for a 5'11" freshman!

"Over the past few months my recruitment has been amazing!" explained Ripley. "Playing with the Rivals has definitely benefited me to get the exposure that I needed to get noticed by these great schools. I played up two grades this summer, on the junior team and traveled to North Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania. We played against the best players in the country, who will soon play for UConn, UNC, Louisville, Michigan, etc."

Ripley has emerged as one of the top recruits for the Class of 2017 for not only NH but all of New England.

"Coach Scott Hazelton, Coach Maureen Laroche and other coaches from the Rivals supported me all summer, and they pushed me to my full potential" Ripley stated. "After the live period was over Coach Laroche, Coach Hazelton and my high school coach at New Hampton Freddy Petkus gave me numbers of some coaches and told me to reach out to them. It has been a great experience talking to college coaches such as UK, BC, Providence, LSU, Virginia Tech and University of Michigan and the schools that offered me too. All the coaches were positive and supportive in my recruiting process. I think it was a great idea to visit schools. I enjoyed the camps and learning about what the schools have to offer."

The Rivals' coaches have been very pleased with the effort and performance Ripley has put forth over the past few months.

"Rebecca had a breakout AAU season" said Scott Hazelton, head coach and Director of the Rivals Basketball Club. "Her play during the spring viewing period really opened a lot of eyes! She played the brunt of the AAU season for Coach Maureen LaRoche who did a phenomenal job of coaching / mentoring Rebecca throughout the season. For the summer viewing period we made the decision to bring her up to our top 17U team. This was a new challenge for Rebecca but one she accepted with open arms. She struggled at times and at other times she played great!"

While Ripley has been dominant on the basketball court for awhile now, she is a new resident to the Granite State. Over the winter she moved from Ipswich, MA to Stratham, NH.

"I lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts since I was a kid" Ripley pointed out. "It was really cool living down the street to Michael Carter-Williams, the NBA star. I would go over his house and workout with his step-dad Zach on his outdoor court in the summer. It was a great experience. Ipswich was great. It had a lot of facilities that I was able to use to improve my game and a lot of close friends that motivated me every day to become the best I could be. My decision to go to a prep school was a hard one, but I feel I am more challenged there. In January, our family decided to move to Stratham, New Hampshire. It's a great location, only 35 minutes from my old house, about 75 minutes from New Hampton and 10 minutes from Hampton Beach and Jenness Beach where I enjoy surfing during my free time. There is also a basketball facility called The Rim near my new house that I can work out at. I am still exploring the location and discovering new things to do."

Ripley's main focus though is on basketball and academics. And now that her big AAU season is behind her she is preparing for her sophomore year at New Hampton.

"My goal is to play for a Division 1 basketball program that is also strong in academics" said Ripley. "I would like the school to prepare me for playing overseas or for the WNBA too. I am excited to continue playing for the Rivals for the next two to three years!"

It is nice to see a young kid with so much talent and ability, yet at the same time is staying humble with a good head on her shoulders. Ripley is definitely a player to watch in the coming years.

"What makes Rebecca so intriguing as a player is her size, athleticism and knack for putting the ball in the hoop" concluded Coach Hazelton. "She loves the game of basketball and is in the gym daily - she wants to be great! I believe she still hasn't scratched the surface of how good she could be. If she continues to work and stay level-headed she has a chance to be one of the most recruited kids from our area in a long time."

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