NEGR - Northeast Girls Recruiting

Friday Feature: Annabelle Larnard

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 Annabelle Larnard. She gives her perspective into her overall recruiting process and her decision to do a post-graduate year at Northfield Mount Hermon this year. After having played at Fontbonne Academy for the past four years, we got a chance to catch up with Head Coach, Clare Murphy, as well as her NEXelite AAU Coach, Jeff Timberlake.
Enjoy this week’s Friday Feature with Boston University commit, Annabelle Larnard!
Annabelle Larnard, Class of 2019, 5’9, Pos: G, Fontbonne Academy/Northfield Mount Hermon/NEXelite – COMMITTED TO: BOSTON UNIVERSITY
When did you first start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball around first or second grade in Scituate Recreation League. My sister, who is a year older than me, played, so of course I wanted to join her!
What was your overall recruiting process like and what were some of the schools that showed interest in you?
I would say that my recruiting process was a bit up and down, but I am so happy with the end result. I have always played with amazing teammates that helped to generate interest, so I spent a lot of time taking visits, going to camps, and having conversations with coaches. A lot of the schools that I focused on were in New England, but I also had interest from some schools in the mid-Atlantic area.
Did your family, friends, etc. play a role in your decision and how so?
I come from a large family - I have 7 siblings and my mom is one of thirteen - so they definitely influenced my ultimate decision to stay pretty close to home. And there are so many people in our extended community that have been such an influential part of my basketball journey.  As I went through the recruiting process, I eventually came to realize how important it was to me to play for a program that would allow everyone to easily come to my games. 
Tell us a little bit about your high school and AAU experience and how both played a role in your decision.
My high school career at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, MA was one of the most rewarding experiences! Freshman year, my team finished the season 3-17. The next three years we went 18-5, 20-4, and 19-5, advancing deeper into the state tournament each year. I loved being part of a team that worked hard every day, improved dramatically, and turned everything around.  
From fifth grade through tenth grade I was blessed to play on an AAU team coached by my dad, who also happened to be a high school boys assistant. In 11th grade our team merged into the NEX Elite program and I joined a team of talented players and coaches that taught me so much about the game and always put me in the best mood. They really helped me fall in love with basketball. Both of my NEX coaches played in college, so their experience and wisdom helped me prepare to make my college decision and feel really confident about it. 
What impacted your decision to do a post-graduate year at Northfield Mount Hermon?
At the end of last summer, I was scrambling a bit trying to figure out my school situation. I knew that college is a lifetime decision—not just a four-year decision—and the opportunities that I had did not feel like the right fit. 
The PG year made sense for a number of reasons: First, I was a late bloomer physically, growing almost five inches since the beginning of sophomore year. The extra year gave college coaches a chance to evaluate me as a 6’1 versatile wing instead of the slightly undersized point guard I used to be. Second, the PG year would give me a chance to continue to develop my skills and really expand my game, playing every day with and against the very best. And finally, the extra year would also give me some time to explore a number of academic and personal interests at a school with a deeper set of resources than my last one.
In the end, why did you choose Boston University?
I chose Boston University because the academics, campus, location, program, and most importantly, people, felt like the perfect fit. The city of Boston is amazing, and the school is very diverse. It was so important to me to be in an environment that would challenge me every single day and help me grow as a person.
Coach Moseley and the new coaching staff were also a huge part of my decision. Truthfully, I had never looked very closely at BU before they arrived. From the first time we talked I felt an instant connection. I loved their passion, energy, and vision for the program.  They are definitely the type of people that I want to spend the next four years with, and I am excited to be a part of their program! 
What are you most looking forward to at BU?
There are so many things to look forward to at Boston University, but I think I am most excited to grow as a person in all aspects of my life. There is a culture of excellence at BU, so I know I will be surrounded by people of all different backgrounds that want to push themselves to be the best they can be. I think it will be really cool to interact with those people on a daily basis. I am also really excited to work with new coaches and teammates on the court. I know they will help me achieve my fullest potential as a player. 
What is your favorite memory playing basketball growing up?
Some of my favorite memories happen behind the scenes at practices or hotels of big AAU tournaments, but there have been some really cool ones that happened in games, too. The one that sticks out in my mind is the night I scored my 1000th point, and my uncle (NJ Devil Brian Boyle) simultaneously scored his 100th career NHL goal. It is not common for either of those things to happen, but to have them both within a few hours of each other made it really special. 
Any advice for players who are looking to play at the next level? (About the recruiting process, on and off the court, etc.)
My biggest piece of advice is not to be too narrow-minded and to keep your options open in the recruiting process - you may be surprised! A year or two ago, I had not even given a second thought to several of the schools that were in the final running of my decision. 
I would also encourage players to work hard every day to be a great teammate. Your basketball experience will be so much more rewarding if you do. Helping your teammates up, bringing energy to the gym, and giving it your all when you are at practice will go a long way in your development as a player and will make your teammates better. Basketball is so much more fun when everyone wants it to be, so be positive!
How will your high school team be this upcoming season? What are your goals entering your final season?
I’m in a bit of a unique situation where I have never played with any of the girls on my team going into my post-graduate year. The team at NMH has a good track record over the past few years, so I hope that we can continue that success! I’m so excited and humbled to be able to play with such a talented group of girls in a league with the top competition in New England. I think it will be a great experience to play with and against them on a daily basis. 
On a personal level, I’d say that my biggest goals are to develop my game to a higher level and to get stronger so that I am ready to go when I get to BU.
What are you most excited for in your senior year?
I am really excited to expand my knowledge of the game under a new coach with new, talented teammates. I think that there will be a lot of opportunities to meet some really interesting, intelligent people, and I’m looking forward to making a lot of great memories! 
Check out what NEXelite Head Coach, Jeff Timberlake, had to say about Annabelle!
When did you first see Annabelle play?
First time I saw AB was at our NEXelite tryout 2 years ago. My first thought was WOW she is going to make my job very easy. She was like a Swiss army knife - she could handle, she could run, she could score from all 3 levels, she could cover 1 thru 4, she could rebound. The possibilities for us were endless and I knew we would be forming our team around AB.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Annabelle?
AB shows up all the time and wants to compete. She plays hard, she is extremely coachable and will do what is best for the team. She is always up beat and has a smile - I first thought it could not be true someone this happy all the time, but she is. She wants to improve and truly is a great teammate 
Tell me a little bit about Annabelle as a person off the court?
I was in NC at a tournament and we were waiting to go to the airport. All the girls were hanging out and just talking. I saw AB by herself on her computer, I went over and asked her what she was doing? I was expecting Instagram, emails, my homework. No, not from AB. She explained that she was working on her non-profit organization to help cure world hunger. I should have been shocked but after getting to know AB nothing surprises me. One of eight kids, an awesome family, and an incredible work ethic and just a special young lady. She will be an asset to any program. BU is lucky to get someone like AB. You cannot help but be happier and more energetic when she is around.
What are the most excited about seeing Annabelle do at the next level?
I am excited to see how BU is going to use AB. She is very special because of her ability to play more than one position. I cannot wait to see her develop into the offensive player I know she can be - she has all the tools so when she really sets her mind to getting better watch out Patriot League. 
AB is one of my favorite players and people that I have had the pleasure to coach. She is fun, she is always smiling, she is always upbeat, she is just a fantastically well-rounded young lady - I cannot wait to see her succeed at the next level. 
Any other thoughts?
Again, BU has a great player, person, teammate, and family joining their program.
Now hear from Fontbonne Academy Head Coach, Clare Murphy and her thoughts on Annabelle!
When did you first see Annabelle play?
I first met Annabelle when she attended our accepted students clinic at Fontbonne Academy. It’s a day we invite all prospective students who are interested in basketball to come to the school and do drills and learn about the program. I could tell that AB had a strong skill set and a great work ethic because she moved at game speed as soon as she stepped on the court. When I saw she was attending Fontbonne I was thrilled. Over the summer of Annabelle entering Fontbonne I got to see her play for her AAU team. This made me very excited to know I would coach her because I could see that even as an 8th grader she had many positive attributes. 
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Annabelle?
The thing I have enjoyed most about coaching Annabelle is helping her to reach her goal of playing in college. As a 9th grader Annabelle told me she wanted to play basketball at the next level. She wanted to find a school that would match her not only for basketball but also academically. Over the four years I coached Annabelle she worked on and off the court to realize this dream. I loved helping her along the way because I knew that the next coach to have her would truly get a top-notch player and person who would do whatever they could for the team and institution. 
Tell me a little bit about Annabelle as a person off the court?
Annabelle is very driven and this can be seen on the court as well as off. She does what she says she will do and she does it to the best of her ability. There is no quit in her. 
What are the most excited about seeing Annabelle do at the next level?
I just love watching Annabelle play and I can’t wait to see her as a Terrier. I’m so excited she will play close to home because I will be able to attend many games. I see AB contributing right away because she will do all the little things needed to help her team win. I can’t wait to see her contribute to the BU program and leave her mark just like she did at Fontbonne. 
Any other thoughts?
Annabelle is a coaches’ dream. She is mature, hardworking, is a strong communicator, and put the time into her game to leave as one of the best players to have played at Fontbonne. She won’t only be missed by me - she will be missed by her teammates and the whole learning community at Fontbonne.