The steady parade of Maple Ridge Ramblers basketball stars taking their place in the prestigious NCAA continues this year, as Jane Grisley announced a full-ride scholarship with Seattle Pacific University.
Seattle Pacific is a Division 2 school, and although there were first division hoops teams interested in Grisley, she said the smaller campus, so close to home, is a great fit for her.
She visited the campus, and scrimmaged with her athletic and slick passing new teammates before making the decision. They made it an easy choice for her.
Grisley said she’s already watching the Falcons games, and texting with her teammates for next season.
“I’ve already made lots of great connections,” she said.
What Grisley will bring is immediately obvious – height. At six-foot-three, she will be the tallest woman on the roster next year.
But she has been working hard on her skills since making Team B.C. as an under-15 player, and winning the bronze medal at the national championships in Fredericton. It was then that she decided to become the best player possible.
“I became more basketball smart and aware of what was going on around me,” she said.
She has been selected for Team B..C. in grades eight to 11.
She said the highlights of her career so far have been winning a silver medal at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., while playing up with an under-17 team as an under-15 player, and also winning the Fraser Valley Championships with the Ramblers in her Grade 10 year.
She has averaged 14 to 15 points per game, but wants to see that increase in this, her senior season.
“I expect more of myself,” she said. “I’ve gained skills – not so much in one area, but all around.”
Hitting the weights has improved her vertical. She’s at the rim, and now wants to go higher.
“I can now touch the rim,” she said. “I want to be able to dunk at the end of university.”
She is a classic post player, who can face up and play one-on-one, and who is an accomplished passer.
“I need to be more tenacious, play to my strengths and work on my weaknesses,” she said.
This year’s Ramblers should be competitive she said. Kate Head will be another key player – a point guard who has committed to play with the UFV Cascades in the CIS next season.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of girls who want to play basketball, and we have fun.”
Coach Don Herman is back at the senior level, after taking a year to coach the Grade 8 girls team.
“I love him. I’m so happy to have him back,” she said. “He just couldn’t stay away.”
Herman runs a Ramblers program that always competes, and churns out elite players.
Grisley is the latest in a string of his players who has gone on to compete in the NCAA.
Grisley’s former teammate Kolbie Orum, a six-foot-three forward, is a sophomore with the Oregon State Beavers.
Her comparatively quiet rookie campaign had its moments, including a game against Sacramento State where she put up 16 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes of playing time.
Felicia Wijenberg went to the San Diego Toreros, and the six-foot-tw post averaged 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in her senior year.
Mae Woods, a six-foot-four centre, went to the University of Houston Cougars. She developed into an important defensive player in her sophomore season, and has now graduated.
Grisley gives “Herm” a lot of credit for her success.
“He was the first one who introduced me to the idea of really being good, and how to be a great athlete,” she said.
His own dedication – opening the gym every day at 7 a.m. to so players can shoot around – rubs off on his players, she said.
Seattle Pacific has about 3,600 students, whereas Grisley was courted by schools with as many as 50,000. She preferred the “community feel,” in Seattle.
It’s also great that it is just a two-and-a-half hour drive away.
“And I’m just happy and privileged to be able to play post secondary basketball.”