To kick off the Fall, we are continuing our Friday Feature’s. These Friday Features showcase some of the Class of 2019 committed players. Our goal with these is to give a glimpse into committed senior’s basketball journeys and their thinking throughout the college recruiting process to share with other aspiring college basketball players.
In this week’s Friday Feature, we interviewed Olivia Summiel. She gives her perspective into her overall recruiting process with thoughtful responses and insight. We also got a chance to hear from her NE Crusaders Coach, Kara Leary, as well as her high school coach at Marianapolis, Lauren Moore.
Enjoy this week’s Friday Feature with Wake Forest commit, Olivia Summiel!
Olivia Summiel, Class of 2019, 6’2, Pos: F, Marianapolis/NE Crusaders – COMMITTED TO: WAKE FOREST
When did you first start playing basketball?
I first started playing basketball in the third grade. It wasn’t until middle school that I discovered my true passion for the game and decided to begin playing AAU. I started with the CT Phoenix, played with the CT Storm, and then finished my AAU career with the New England Crusaders.
What was your overall recruiting process like and what were some of the schools that showed interest in you?
My recruiting process was a very humbling and eye-opening experience. I was recruited by over 70 colleges from all levels. In the spring of my sophomore year, I received my first offer and from that point on, everything happened very quickly. Before I knew it, I was narrowing down my list and making my decision. With my list narrowed down to Rutgers, Central Florida, George Washington, UMASS Amherst and Wake Forest, I began taking my official visits.
Did your family, friends, etc. play a role in your decision and how so?
My family, friends, coaches, and teammates played a vital role in my decision. My dad especially played a huge role in my process by being the most supportive throughout it all. Having gone through a similar process with football, having his input not only helped on the basketball side of things, but also created such a strong bond between us. I trusted the people that knew me best and truly valued their opinion. Playing above my grade level gave me the opportunity to learn from and get a sense of what to expect from those who are familiar with the decision process and playing at the highest level.
Tell us a little bit about your high school and AAU experience and how both played a role in your decision.
AAU basketball has done so much for me not only as player, but as a person as well. Playing for the New England Crusaders on the Nike Girls EYBL circuit gave me the chance to travel across the country to play in front of major colleges against the most talented players in the country. The experience is one that I will always remember.
For high school ball, choosing to attend Marianapolis, also gave me the chance to compete against great talent all throughout the NEPSAC regional conference. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to not only play against the best in New England, but also to have built relationships with those players as well, some of which I will be competing against at the next level.
In the end, why did you choose Wake Forest?
I chose Wake Forest because it was truly the best fit for me. I loved the campus and class sizes, the warm weather in North Carolina and most of all, the amazing coaching staff. Playing in the ACC, one of the strongest conferences in the country, will be a very exciting experience and it did not take me long to realize that at Wake Forest, I just knew that I was surrounding myself with like-minded people with common interests.
What are you most looking forward to at Wake Forest?
I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new coaches and teammates, which will basically be my new family away from home. I’m also excited about the entire college experience and playing basketball in the ACC. GO DEACS!!!!
What is your favorite memory playing basketball growing up?
I have a few favorite basketball memories.
In the fourth grade, I took the final shot in the Varsity Tournament Championship game. I missed that shot, but I remember not being afraid at that moment and it made me want to work hard to make those shots in future games.
In the sixth grade in a regular season game, my team was down by one point with 10 seconds left. I got the ball on the inbound, dribbled the length of floor and hit a three pointer to win the game. It was a great experience.
Finally, as a Sophomore at Marianapolis Prep, our team won the school’s first ever Class A championship. I was named the MVP of the game but truthfully, I was more excited to share the championship win with my team.
Any advice for players who are looking to play at the next level?
(About the recruiting process, on and off the court, etc.)
Stay focused, stay humble, and most of all, enjoy each moment – it goes by way too fast. Don’t let the craziness of the whole process take away from the experience.
How will your high school team be this upcoming season? What are your goals entering your final season?
This season, we welcome a new head coach who brings Division I experience. We expect to be a competitive team in the NEPSAC, so it should be a great season.
What are you most excited for in your senior year?
I’m really looking forward to just having fun and enjoying my last year of high school. With the pressure and relief of making my college decision, I am excited to experience all of the “lasts”, but also excited about getting ready for the new beginnings.
Check out what NE Crusaders Head Coach, Kara Leary, had to say about Olivia!
When did you first see Liv play?
Liv came to our program by way of one of our coaches & former Bentley star Lauren Moore (Lauren is also one of my former players). Lauren had a chance to get to know Liv as a prospective student to Marianapolis Prep, where Lauren was the head coach.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Liv?
Liv is such a competitor, she will do whatever it takes to be successful. Liv at 6’2 is so versatile -- she can defend all 5 positions defensively, and on the offensive side she can go inside and score as well as drill the perimeter shot and handle.
Tell me a little bit about Liv as a person off the court?
Off the court, Liv is just an enjoyable kid to be around. She is so smart, attentive and engaging, and so well grounded -- such a bright young lady who is one of our future leaders in whatever community she lands in. I feel blessed to have coached her this past year!
What are you most excited about seeing Liv do at the next level?
I am just so excited to see Liv continue to grow and improve. It’s about the journey -- the work that Liv and her high school coaches have put in, it is so fun to see her continued improvement. I am looking forward to the next jump she will make in college -- because the kid is always working to get better.
Any other thoughts?
Liv’s journey just highlights the journey that many youngsters have through their youth athletic career -- a youngster with a lot of promise, and some good physical skill sets at a young age, who was put in a good environment to grow and to push her. She decided to do the work and push herself to continually improve and add to her game. Kudos to Liv for making a goal and working to get there. It is so fun to see her growth both as a person and as a player over the last few years. We are very excited for what the future holds for Liv as she finishes up her senior year and then heads off to Wake Forest. Liv and her family are such classy people and we were very fortunate to have them apart of the Crusader family.
Now hear from Olivia’s former Marianapolis coach, Lauren Moore, and her thoughts on Olivia!
Where did you first see Olivia play?
I first saw Olivia play on her middle school team at St. Joseph’s School. Even then she was a special player with a lot of potential. From there she played with the New England Crusaders all summer before attending Marianapolis in the fall of her freshmen year.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Olivia?
Olivia is someone who has the intangibles. Outside of her incredible basketball skills she is the glue kid that ever coach dreams of coaching. She is always talking on the court, directing her teammates and cheering them on. No matter what the circumstance is, Olivia is a true vocal leader.
Tell me a little bit about Olivia as a person off the court?
Off the court she is also a rockstar! She is a high achieving student as well as a role model to others. She holds various leadership positions on campus and is someone that faculty and peer alike look to and trust with a lot of responsibility.
What are you most excited about seeing Olivia do at the next level?
I am most excited to see Olivia continue to grow at the next level -- she is a player and person who is never satisfied and always wants to improve. As talented as she is right now I know she will continue to improve her game each year she is at Wake Forest.