Waite senior Natasha Howard, one of the top-rated girls basketball players in the nation, has verbally committed to a scholarship offer from Florida State University of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Howard, a first-team All-City League, all-district and All-Blade selection for three years running, also was first-team Division I All-Ohio in 2008 as a sophomore and second-team last season.
"I picked Florida State because I knew it was a good school for me that can help me out as a player and as a student," Howard said, "and help me be successful in life.
"They first started contacting me the summer after my junior year. The weather is nice down there, the campus was real nice and I think I'll get along with the players real good. I want to try to make something happen when I'm down there my freshman year."
The 6-3 guard-forward enters her senior season for the Indians having already scored 1,097 career points. As a junior she averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.
According to Scouts, Inc. on ESPN.com, Howard is the top rated small forward in the nation for the high school class of 2010, and is the No. 2 rated senior player overall.
Over the past two years Howard received scholarship offers from, among others; Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Toledo, Bowling Green, Oklahoma, Auburn, South Carolina, Xavier, Louisville, Southern California, Kentucky, California, and Miami (Fla.).
Florida State was 26-8 last season and tied for first place in the ACC standings at 12-2.
The Seminoles, coached by Sue Semrau, were ranked No. 12 in the final Associated Press national poll and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
"I think it's a good opportunity for Natasha," Waite coach Manny May said. "Knowing the coaching staff at Florida State, she's in good hands.
"She felt a common bond with the people there, and a real family atmosphere. They've been in her corner since day one [of recruiting], and making sure she had things in place academically."
With her college choice out of the way, Howard, arguably the top girls
basketball talent in Toledo area history, said now she can better concentrate on her final high school
"It was fun but I was kind of tired of it at the same time," she said. "I got to experience a lot of things that I had never seen before at colleges [on visits].
"I feel better now. All the pressure's off my shoulders. I don't have to worry about college coaches calling me anymore."
Waite won its third straight City League championship in 2007 when Howard burst on the scene as a freshman starter. But the past two years the Indians failed to win the league title, and were eliminated from tournament play in the Division I district finals by two eventual state final-four qualifiers - Central Catholic in 2008, and state runner-up Start last year.
"I was disappointed last season," Howard said. "We were humbled, but that's our motivation right now for this season. We want to get our City title back
and district, and go to the state."
Howard has yet to qualify academically, but is set to take her ACT exam today.
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