All it took was one visit to Orono for Becca Knight to realize the University of Maine would be the best fit for her basketball future.
Knight, a junior at Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, has verbally committed to attend UMaine beginning in 2011.
The 5-foot-9 combination guard said she was impressed with Black Bears head coach Cindy Blodgett and her staff.
“The coaching staff was so sincere,” Knight said Tuesday while taking a break from her workout program at Parisi Speed School in Saco. “I loved coach Blodgett and her philosophies on the team and her goals.”
Knight, who lives in Alfred, near Sanford, was sold on UMaine after she and her father enjoyed an hour-long visit with Blodgett.
“I was like, ‘dad, this is where I want to go,’” said Knight, who previously had taken an unofficial NCAA recruiting visit to the University of New Hampshire.
Blodgett is prohibited from commenting about prospective student-athletes until they have signed a National Letter of Intent, which for Knight is expect to occur in November 2010.
Knight, who plays for the same New England Crusaders AAU program that produced current Black Bears Tanna Ross of Newburgh and Samantha Wheeler, had some specific requirements in terms of playing college ball.
“My family’s really important, so I want to be able to play in front of them,” Knight said. “And I want to be able to play for Division I. I didn’t want to settle for anything else.”
Knight has been a versatile performer for coach Wil Smith at McAuley. As a freshman, she played in the power forward position.
Last season, with the Lions needing a point guard, Knight was asked to make the switch.
“I wasn’t expecting to get turned into the point guard,” Knight said. “Before he [Smith] moved me, I was in the post.
“He’s awesome. I respect him a lot,” she said of Smith.
Despite coming off summer back surgery, Knight averaged about 14 points and six rebounds as McAuley went 11-9, losing in the Western Maine Class A quarterfinals.
She is projected more as a guard/forward at UMaine.
“I don’t shoot a lot of 3’s [3-pointers], but off the dribble I’ll shoot a pull-up jumper,” Knight said.
Knight, who is concentrating on basketball at McAuley, said she her back is feeling much better since the surgery more than a year ago.
“I had a disc removed in my back,” she explained. “I’m a lot better and I can move better on the court.”
Knight’s participation as a student-athlete at UMaine is contingent upon her acceptance to the university and compliance with NCAA initial-eligibility guidelines.