Apologies to Nashville, but Lauren Webb will pass.
There she goes, displaying her point-guard tendencies again.
Before heading to Tennessee this week to play basketball with her Illinois Elite AAU team in a tournament called Music City Madness, the Vernon Hills incoming senior sang the praises of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. A 6-footer in a power forward’s body who successfully transitioned temporarily to point guard for her high school team last winter, Webb verbally committed to the Falcons, who are a Mid-American Conference power.
“I’m very excited,” Webb said. “It was a huge relief.”
When it comes to music, it doesn’t get much more huge than Nashville. This is not a country gal, however.
“I think it’s a pretty city, but I’m not into country and all that,” Webb said with a laugh. “So it’s not really my scene.”
Bowling Green struck a harmonious chord with her almost immediately during the recruiting process. In the end, she chose BGSU, which she visited early last winter, over Loyola and Kent State.
“(Bowling Green) has always been up there,” said Webb, who allowed Illinois Elite coach and founder Tom Hohenadel to handle the recruiting process for her. “I wasn’t really interested in looking at more schools.
“It’s just very open and it’s big,” Webb added of BGSU’s campus. “I like bigger campuses, but it’s not so enormous. ... And I love that they have a football team.”
So after waiting more than a couple of weeks to announce her decision, Webb talked to Bowling Green head coach Jennifer Roos and told her she wanted to be a Falcon in 2014. A highly reputable assistant coach at the Ohio school for years, Roos guided Bowling Green to a 24-11 record (11-5 MAC) in her first season last winter. The Falcons advanced to the third round of the NIT.
“She has a five-year contract so that means I’ll have her all four years,” Webb said of Roos. “I wouldn’t want to get stuck with some coach that I don’t like or don’t get along with or something.”
That Roos likes her teams to run the floor appealed to Webb, whose athleticism is one of her strongest traits.
“They said I’d be like a 4 or a wing player, but they do a lot more five out running and plays like that,” Webb said. “They said the biggest difference between posts and guards is who you guard on defense.”
For Vernon Hills last season, Webb transitioned from forward, which she played her first two seasons on varsity, to point guard. It was a move made mainly out of necessity since the talent-deep Cougars were without a veteran to play the position. She said this winter, however, Haley Lieberman, who was a part-time starter on varsity as a sophomore last season, likely will take over at point guard.
Webb will still help bring the ball up the floor for coach Paul Brettner’s squad, particularly when teams press.
Vernon Hills, which advanced to the Class 3A state championship game for the second year in a row, graduated 6-2 center Meri Bennett-Swanson (DePaul).
“Defensively, I’ll take Meri’s role. (Brettner) called it the basket protector,” Webb said. “Offensively, I think we’re going to do a lot more motion, where there’s not really like a set post.”
Webb earned honorable mention all-state honors last season. She along with her classmate Sydney Smith, who verbally committed to Vermont late last winter, and Bennett-Swanson led the Cougars to a school-record 31 wins. Vernon Hills won its first North Suburban Conference championship.
Downstate, Webb’s clutch play secured her selection as captain of the Daily Herald’s Lake County all-area team. She averaged a team-best 13 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game.
“Lauren is such a versatile talent that Bowling Green is lucky to have her,” Brettner said. “She will excel in their offense, putting her variety of skills to use in their system. As a student she will have no problem adjusting to college life with her intelligence and work ethic.”
Music to Bowling Green’s ears.
Ÿ Follow Joe Aguilar on Twitter: @JoeAguilar64Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.