<
>

Huber picks Rutgers after visit

The Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, fresh off an outstanding recruiting class for 2008, have added their first 2009 piece to the championship puzzle as Christine Huber (West Islip, N.Y./St. John The Baptist) verbally committed Tuesday evening after an unofficial visit.

"I have always liked (Rutgers)," Huber said, "then yesterday I went on a visit and absolutely fell in love with it."

Huber, ranked No. 53 in the ESPN HoopGurlz 100, picked Rutgers from a final list including Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Maryland. Because of the distance to those other schools Huber was not able to make visits. That weighed on her decision-making process, but the euphoria from the visit to Rutgers left her knowing exactly what she wanted to do.

"(Committing early) does take some pressure off," Huber said. "But really I just fell in love with the school."

Huber felt comfortable not only with the coaching staff but also with the current players, many of whom are from the New York-New Jersey area which was a plus for Huber.

In basketball terms she is a great complement to the class Coach Stringer signed last year. Huber gives the Scarlet Knights a very versatile big who can face up as well as play with her back to the basket. According to Huber the coaching staff sees her as a 4 in college. The versatility comes from her ability to defend the center position as well. Huber is 6-foot-4 with great length and also has very good timing when it comes to blocking shots, something that will complement the aggressive perimeter defense Rutgers has played historically.

"I'm so excited because I know they're one of the top teams in the country," Huber said. "It's going to be a lot of hard work."

Huber plays her club ball with Exodus NYC and has been a staple for New York All-Area and All-State teams since her sophomore year. To continue that success in the Big East she is working on her lateral quickness to be able to defend out on the perimeter some. She also needs to get stronger, but she is one of the more skilled bigs in the country.

Rutgers' 2008 class was ranked No. 3 in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz. The class included April Sykes (No. 2), Brooklyn Pope (No. 9), Jasmine Dixon (No. 26), Nikki Speed (No. 27) and Chelsea Lee (No. 37).

Chris Hansen covers girls' high school basketball nationally for ESPN.com and leads the panel that ranks and evaluates players for the network. He can be reached at chris.hansen@espn3.com.