To kick off the Fall, we are continuing our Friday Features. 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 Jane McCauley. Jane talks about her overall recruiting process and the interest she received from all 3 Divisions. She talks about her main priority in finding a school with high academics as well as finding the right fit for her athletically, socially, etc. Additionally, we got a chance to hear from her Empire State coach, Nick Volchok.
Enjoy this week’s Friday Feature with University of Vermont commit, Jane McCauley!
Jane McCauley, Class of 2019, 5’9, Pos: PG/G, Ursuline/Empire State – COMMITTED TO UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
When did you first start playing basketball?
I have been playing basketball as long as I can remember. My dad plays basketball, and he started bringing to me gyms and his pick-up games when I was really young, around 2 years old. I fell in love with the game at such a young age, and I cannot remember a time in my life when basketball wasn’t a part of it.
What was your overall recruiting process like and what were some of the schools that showed interest in you?
I really learned a lot from the process, and I believe that I have personally grown as a result of the process. I had very early on set my sights on playing in college, and I knew that I not only needed to do my part to continue to develop as a player, but needed to learn how to best navigate the process to attain my goal. I am thankful for my AAU coach, Nick Volchok, and Tiny Green for helping me throughout this process, and over time I was forging relationships with schools that I had interest in. I really enjoyed getting to know the coaches and hopefully created relationships that I will have beyond my playing days. I was most interested in pursuing an environment that would allow me to develop as a person, student and an athlete, and feel fortunate that schools within Ivy Patriot, America East, MAAC, NESCAC and UAA expressed interest in me.
Did your family, friends, etc. play a role in your decision and how so?
My Mom and Dad were very helpful in shaping my criteria for selecting a school. As I was going through the process, I knew that I wanted to be at a place where my college experience would have the environment, community and sense of family within the team that would enable me to grow and reach my potential as a person, student and athlete. I also wanted to find a place where it would be close enough for my family to see me play.
Tell us a little bit about your high school and AAU experience and how both played a role in your decision.
I started HS at New Rochelle HS as a freshman and transferred to The Ursuline School in New Rochelle for my sophomore year. I feel fortunate to attend a school with such strong academics, community and culture. In addition, there is a strong history and tradition of basketball at Ursuline, under the leadership of my Coach Beth Wooters. She has coached many players that have played in college and is one of the most successful coaches in NY. I was also lucky to join a team that had great senior leadership who welcomed me in, and have teammates that are very good players, pushing for the same goals.
My AAU experience with Empire State has been very good and one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I have spent so much time over the years with the team and Nick, and I feel very fortunate that he believed in me and pushed me to attain my goals. The system we ran enabled the entire team to showcase their skills, and I am fortunate that Nick is a fan of the 3 and really encouraged me. He was there for me throughout 5 years playing for him, and he has been there for my family and I in ways that I will always remember.
In the end, why did you choose Vermont?
I was so excited heading into my visit. High academics has always been my main priority when selecting a school, and I had heard nothing but great things about the University of Vermont. I visited the school and I immediately fell in love with the coaches, players, the location and town. I knew it the moment I walked on campus and could not wait to give Coach Kresge my commitment. I visited so many schools throughout my recruiting process, and I never got the feeling at any other school like the feeling I got when I walked on campus at Vermont. Coach Kresge, and her staff of Coach Dom, TJ and Eileen really welcomed me and made me feel like I will be joining a very special family and community.
I also knew 2 players on the team from training, Rose Caverly and Josie Larkins, and they were nothing but enthusiastic about the school. I feel that the style of play that Coach will be implementing suits my style of play, and I am excited to be joining a program where there is so much enthusiasm and optimism.
What are you most looking forward to at Vermont?
I am most excited to be a college student-athlete at the DI level and be part of team. I have worked very hard to get the opportunity, and I am very much looking forward to the overall experience. I also look forward to challenging myself in the classroom. There is so much to be excited about, and I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my life!
What is your favorite memory playing basketball growing up?
I love the game and my favorite memories are shooting in my driveway with my Dad and my brother Drew and travelling all over the country to AAU tournaments. If there is one personal memory, I would say hitting a buzzer beater versus Ossining to send a game in OT – which we eventually lost – but it gave me a lot of confidence in what I could accomplish.
Any advice for players who are looking to play at the next level?
(About the recruiting process, on and off the court, etc.)
I would say try and stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish and try not to get too distracted with the process. At the end of the day, I tried to just focus on becoming a better player and constantly working on my skills. I would also say that seeking advice on navigating the process is important, and I am thankful for all the help and advice I have gotten from my parents and Coach Nick.
How will your high school team be this upcoming season? What are your goals entering your final season?
We play in a competitive section, Section 1 AA, and this year, we are playing in a new very competitive conference with Ossining, Lourdes, and Albertus Magnus. We have 4 starters returning, and we should have a lot of depth this year. We are very excited about what this season has in store for us. I would very much like to help our team win our Section, it has been a while since Ursuline has won – and it would be great to be part of that championship!
What are you most excited for in your senior year?
It is exciting to be entering senior year knowing that my college decision is set. I am very excited to make sure that I enjoy this time in my life, working hard on my game, continuing to challenge myself in the classroom, and creating memories with my friends. I feel very fortunate and blessed with the opportunities I have been given, and I am so excited to be a Catamount next year!!
Now hear from Empire State Head Coach, Nick Volchok, on what he had to say about Jane!
Where did you first see Jane play?
I first saw Jane when she was in 6th grade as she was playing for another local team. We played against her a handful of times that season and after losing to us in every game she decided to try out for us the following year. So, she joined us in 7th grade and we never looked back.
What have you enjoyed most about coaching Jane?
I’ve always enjoyed how serious and dedicated Jane was to improving her game. She approached every practice as if she had something to prove and she never backed down from a challenge. She's always been a student of the game and is usually the first kid in the gym and the last to leave.
Tell me a little bit about Jane as a person off the court?
Jane is a tremendous competitor but off the court she is extremely kind and caring. She understands how to manage her time as academics are always her priority. Some of the younger players in our program look up to her and appreciate how hard she works on a daily basis. She's always been a good teammate and a person who I will always appreciate for representing our program with such respect and class.
What are you most excited about seeing Jane do at the next level?
I am just super excited to continue to watch her growth. Her attention to detail and commitment to developing her game will only continue to transcend at the next level. The system Vermont runs is one that fits Jane's style of play very well, so I think she will have opportunity to make an impact early on.
Any other thoughts?
Jane is one of the best shooters I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach. I’ve seen her in games knock down 7 threes in a row. When she gets in a rhythm she can score it with the best of them. Jane is a great kid with such a bright future. I am beyond proud of her and I can't wait to sit court side at her first game.