Cedar Creek High School senior Kristine Miller has verbally committed to play NCAA Division I basketball at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Miller, the reigning Press Girls Basketball Player of the Year, will receive a full athletic scholarship. As a junior, Miller led the Pirates to a state Group I championship in the program's second season.
"Something about it, I just got that feeling," Miller said Friday in a phone interview. "I felt really comfortable. I fit in."
She cannot sign a binding national letter of intent until the early signing period for basketball, from Nov. 14-21.
A 6-foot forward from the Laureldale section of Mays Landing, Miller averaged 18.0 points per game and was one of the Cape-Atlantic League's best players underneath the basket.
But it was in the postseason that Miller truly shined. She averaged 23.3 points and 9.3 rebounds during a historic playoff run that resulted in the Pirates becoming the first CAL girls basketball team to win a state title since Absegami won Group IV titles in 2005 and '06.
Miller is the first basketball player, boy or girl, at Cedar Creek to earn a Division I scholarship. She will be part of the school's first senior class.
"She weighed her options, visited a good amount of schools and talked to coaches often," Pirates coach Francine Raph said. "She just loves Fairfield."
Miller looks forward to enjoying her senior year with the pressures of college recruiting behind her. Cedar Creek returns its entire team and should contend for a second state championship.
"I feel like a weight has been lifted," she said. "I can just go and have fun and get better."
Fairfield, led by fifth-year coach Joe Frager, went 24-9 last winter. The Stags finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and earned a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
When it came time to making a selection, narrowing down the list of interested schools proved to be the toughest part for Miller. She also considered Drexel University, Fordham University, Lafayette College, Loyola University (Md.) and Rider University.
"It's an interesting process when you're 17," Raph said.
Eventually, Miller narrowed it down to Drexel and Fairfield. In the end, Fairfield was the school that gave her the right feeling.
"This is where I'm supposed to be," Miller said. "I'm supposed to be a Stag."
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