*UPDATE: Batts has changed her commitment to play at Boston College after former Albany head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee accepted the head coaching position for the Division I Eagles*
South Riding, Va. — Freedom High School junior Jaelyn Batts has made an early verbal commitment to the University of Albany to continue her basketball career starting in the 2019-2020 school year.
The early commitment does not come as a surprise, given that Batts has been attracting the attention of college coaches due to her high level of play over the past three seasons.
In fact, Batts was named to the All-LoCo first team following the past two seasons, while earning recognition as the All-LoCo Player of the Year following her dominant junior campaign.
Over the course of the 2017-2018 season, Batts averaged more than 18 points per game and led the Eagles to 27 wins. Batts’ combination of size and skill allowed her to become one of the county’s premier slashers and distributors. Her ability to get the basket can be best represented by the fact that she attempted almost six free throws per game this past season. Batts feel like her unique skill set is what made her an attractive prospect for the coaching staff at Albany.
“I think [the coaching staff]saw a very versatile player with a determination to get better,” Batts said. “Especially with the type of fast paced game they run, point forwards are very helpful because you can throw them anywhere on the floor and they still get the job done.”
Currently, Albany does not have anyone over 6-foot-3 on their roster, giving Batts an opportunity to earn significant playing time during her freshman year. Standing at 6 feet tall, Batts provides much needed size to the Division I Great Danes.
“I think my size and skill will help establish me on the team,” Batts said. “As long as there are gaps to be filled, hopefully, I can do whatever it takes to become a contributing factor for the team.”
Regardless of how much playing time she receives at the beginning of her time at Albany, Batts just hopes to be able to contribute as much as possible. As someone who has been one of the key factors in Freedom’s success over the past couple of seasons, Batts understands the importance of doing whatever it takes to win.
“I believe that my role [will be]to get done whatever they need at the time, whether that be a quick bucket or to play intense defense or to just be a leader vocally,” Batts said. “My goal is to be the go-to for whatever is needed of me.”
While the opportunity for early playing time was definitely a factor in Batts’ decision to commit to Albany, she was more influenced by her fit with the team as well as the stability that the program offers. Going 24-8 during the 2017-2018 season and qualifying for the WNIT, the Great Danes proved to be a formidable team that could compete in the America East Conference. At the end of the day, Batts felt as if her strengths and her desire to win aligned well with Albany.
“I chose to commit to Albany because I felt like I could fit very well into their program and fast style of play,” Batt said. “Their coaching staff looks like they are here to stay and continue their winning program, which I hope to help to continue when I get there. I committed so early into the process because I genuinely believe that their program will make me a better player, and by becoming a better player, I can help the program to get better.”
The early commitment to Albany allows Batts to focus solely on her senior season for the Eagles. After coming up short of the VHSL 5A State championship game during this past season, Batts will look to cap off her career at Freedom with a title. With only two seniors graduating from this year’s successful team, Batts and the Eagles look poised to maintain the top spot in the county.