Ocean City High School junior Julia Duggan, a two-time Press First Team All-Star in girls basketball, made her college decision Tuesday.
The Red Raiders’ 6-foot-2 center verbally committed to Rider University in Lawrenceville (Mercer County) and will receive a full athletic scholarship.
Duggan, 16, averaged 16.9 points and 10.2 rebounds and led Ocean City to the Cape-Atlantic League title game and South Jersey Group III semifinals. She plans to major in business.
“I just like it there. I feel comfortable there. It’s a good distance from my home,” Duggan, who lives in the Marmora section of Upper Township, said Wednesday.
Duggan made an early decision despite numerous offers. Ocean City coach Paul Baruffi estimated nearly 30 schools, mostly on the East Coast, expressed interest in Duggan.
The Red Raiders hold a team camp at Rider each summer. Baruffi said the Broncs’ coaching staff, led by coach Lynn Milligan, made an offer to Duggan during her sophomore season. She took a year to weigh her options.
“They’ve been keeping an eye on her for awhile. She feels real comfortable with the coaching staff,” Baruffi said. “The whole time I think she had (Rider) in the back of her mind.”
Duggan can’t sign a national letter of intent for Rider until next fall.
The recruiting process can be overwhelming, especially for a player such as Duggan. She is a tremendous post player who also can handle the ball. She has garnered lots of attention.
“It’s been a little crazy. ... It’s been a great process for me,” Duggan said. “All the schools interested in me have been great and I’ve appreciated them all.”
Among the many schools who expressed interest, Duggan listed Rider at the top along with Quinnapiac, Mount St. Mary’s and Fairfield.
Rider, which plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, was 11-19 last season.
“They really want her. She’ll get a good amount of playing time there,” Baruffi said.
Meanwhile, Duggan is pleased to have her decision out of the way so she can enjoy her senior year. Her friends and teammates also deal with similar issues selecting colleges.
“I’m happy I made (a decision) early. It’s a big pressure off my shoulders to know I found a school that I like,” she said.
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