North: North Catholic's Wolosik picks Central Connecticut
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Lauren Wolosik believes that sooner is better than later.
So rather than be distracted by deciding where to play college basketball, Wolosik, a senior at North Catholic High School, verbally committed this month to Central Connecticut.
The Blue Devils play in the Northeast Conference. Both Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) universities are members.
Wolosik, 17, is scheduled to sign a letter-of-intent during the early signing period for women's basketball in November.
"I had an opportunity [for a scholarship], and I didn't want to lose that," said Wolosik, a second-team Class A all-state selection and Post-Gazette All-WPIAL Class A pick last spring.
Wolosik, a 5-foot-10 resident of Brighton Heights, has been busy for the Trojanettes, who lost to Steelton-Highspire in the 2012 PIAA Class A state championship game, 66-59. She averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4 steals a game for North Catholic, which finished with a record of 24-7.
Central Connecticut first became aware of Wolosik when she and her Drill 4 Skill AAU girls basketball team were playing in a Philadelphia-area tournament last fall. The school maintained regular contact with her after April 1.
"I was pleased that I was able to visit," she said of a May visit to the campus in New Britain, Conn. "Now I'll be able to focus on my school work and work hard during the season. I verbally committed to Central on Aug. 4."
North Catholic coach Molly Rottmann was pleased that Wolosik, the only starter returning from last season's team, could make such an important decision before her senior year.
"The recruiting process is nerve-racking," said Rottmann, who went through the same process while playing for North Catholic in the 1980s. Eventually, she decided to play her college basketball at the University of Delaware.
"[Wolosik] didn't want this hanging over her head, and she wants to do well in her senior year," Rottmann said.
The decision culminated a lengthy process that began as Wolosik was completing her sophomore year at North Catholic.
"Lauren is extremely motivated and goal-oriented," Rottmann said. "She asked the [Trojanettes] coaching staff after her sophomore year what she needed to do to play basketball at a Division I school. We always felt she had the drive and the athletic ability to play, but we felt she needed greater challenges during the AAU season."
With that in mind, Wolosik was urged to join the Drill 4 Skill basketball team that featured Celina DiPietro, Johnie Olkosky and Carly Forse of WPIAL Class AA girls basketball runner-up Bishop Canevin; Maddie Rowan of Central Valley; Alex Deep of Riverside; Maddie Nellis of North Allegheny; Kassidy O'Keefe of Chartiers Valley; Jordan Holmes of Mt. Lebanon; and Paige Bianchin of Oakland Catholic
Ranked No. 1 academically going into her senior year at North Catholic, Wolosik is undecided about her major at Central Connecticut, but she is interested in a mathematics-oriented field.
Gaining valuable experience from playing with some of the best girls basketball players in Western Pennsylvania has helped Wolosik improve her game to merit attention from Division I schools. When she gets to Central Connecticut, she'll find a touch of home waiting for her: Three future teammates are from Mt. Lebanon.
The roster includes sisters Jaclyn and Jessica Babe and Lauren Arbogast. Jaclyn Babe, who transferred from Duquesne University in 2010, is a junior. Younger sister Jessica and Arbogast are both sophomores.
Wolosik's family and friends will be able to watch her play at least twice a season close to home. Conference foe Robert Morris is in Moon Township, and St. Francis is in Loretto, Cambria County.
"That definitely helped [with the decision process]," Wolosik said. "Mt. Lebanon is a great school, and knowing that three of their players go [to Central Connecticut] made me believe this has to be a great program. Knowing they are coming from the same [geographic location] that I am made [the decision] a little easier."
Her verbal commitment was paved with hours of basketball that went far beyond the games Wolosik played with her North Catholic and AAU teams.
"She worked for hours on her shooting and her ball-handling skills," Rottmann said. "She put a ton of hours in the gym on her own. We were not surprised when she was offered a scholarship. She has earned it."