Girls basketball signing
GNA great says Xavier’s the one
Byorick makes early decision to attend Ohio school, plans to sign with them in fall.
By vrose@leader.net

When Aly Byorick made her decision on where she would attend college, she didn’t waste any time.
Just three blocks into a trip home from a weekend recruiting visit, she asked her father to stop the car.
She had made up her mind.
Her father turned the car around and Byorick returned to the campus she just left to declare she would play college basketball at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Byorick’s sudden decision ended what had been a spirited recruiting battle involving an estimated 45 Division I schools throughout the country who sought the services of the multi-talented Greater Nanticoke Area basketball star.
“I liked Xavier the best,” said Byorick, a 5-foot-11 junior guard. “I just knew right then that it’s where I wanted to go. It’s a smaller school with a big-time program.”
Byorick made a verbal commitment to Xavier. She plans to sign a letter of intent in November, which is the early signing date for D1 recruits.
For Byorick, it was also a sigh of relief. She was starting to get stressed out by the constant phone calls from college recruiters.
“Every day when I got home from the gym, I would have five or six phone calls, and I would have to call them all back,” Byorick said. “It’s good to be relieved. I have the rest of July to go out and play and enjoy myself, and not to have to worry about recruiters.”
Byorick is one of the top basketball players in the history of the Wyoming Valley Conference. She is a two-year Street & Smith All-American, and was a first-team All-State selection last season. She also was named the Times Leader girls basketball Player of the Year.
She is the first WVC girls player to go Division I since Bishop Hoban’s Meredith Alexis was recruited by James Madison University three years ago.
Byorick averaged 21 points per game while leading Nanticoke to a 29-1 record and the second round of the state playoffs. Byorick has 1,657 career points—just 15 points shy of breaking Ruth Maley’s record set in 1983.
Byorick, 17, is a phenomenal shooter. She finished the season with 67 three-pointers, tying the school record for treys in a single season.
Several national powers tried to recruit Byorick, including Penn State, Stanford and Syracuse. However, she narrowed her choices to Xavier, West Virginia and Bucknell.
One reason she picked Xavier, which is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, was head coach Kevin McGuff and his staff.
“I felt very comfortable around him,” Byorick said. “He really looks out for you and he was easy to talk to. I think that makes a coach.”
Byorick said she was impressed by McGuff’s style of play.
“It’s almost like our style here at Nanticoke. Xavier likes to run the ball, push it up the middle, and then kick it out for threes.”
Also heavily swaying Byorick was that Xavier just landed the top high school recruit in the country—Amber Harris, a 6-6 guard from Indianapolis who can dunk the ball.
“She was actually committed to Purdue since she was a freshman, but Purdue’s coach ended up going to Texas Tech,” Byorick said. “She reopened herself up to recruiting, and chose Xavier over UConn and Tennessee.”
Harris will be a sophomore when Byorick joins the Lady Musketeers next year for the 2007-08 season.
“It’s going to be good having a player of her caliber on the team,” said Byorick. “Coach McGuff said when other teams double down on Amber, it will leave me open on the wing.”
Byorick expects to start as a freshman. Xavier graduated five seniors this year, including three starters. “By the time I get there, they will have seven sophomores, five freshmen and three upperclassmen.”
She liked the city of Cincinnati. “It’s an amazing place, especially for a big city.”
Byorick is the daughter of Dan and Trish Byorick, of Nanticoke. She has a 3.8 grade point average. She plans to major in chemistry at Xavier and might pursue a career in forensics.
She currently plays AAU basketball in Philadelphia two nights a week, and on weekends. She is a member of the Philadelphia Belles. Byorick said she might pursue a pro basketball career after she finishes college.
“I’ve thought a lot about it. A lot of players go overseas first. At least I would get to do some traveling.”

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