People have been telling Jenay Faulkner since she was a youngster that she had the potential to be a Division I basketball player.
It wasn't until just a few years ago that the Greencastle-Antrim girls hoops superstar believed it herself, and this weekend, Faulkner finally made those dreams a reality.
She has made a verbal commitment to Holy Cross, a member of the Patriot League, located in Worchester, Mass. Faulkner, still in the midst of her junior season with the Blue Devils, was offered a full scholarship to become a Crusader.
"I'm excited," Faulkner said. "This has always been a dream of mine, so it feels really good to accomplish it."
Faulkner spent much of her free time this summer visiting a myriad of colleges, and while some say first is the worst, it wasn't for Holy Cross. Her first official visit was with the Crusaders, and she immediately fell in love with the campus. A few weeks ago, Faulkner made a second trip to Worchester to meet the team and make a final decision.
"I really like their style of play," Faulkner said. "They play a motion offense, and their coach (Bill Gibbons, now in his 31st season at Holy Cross) said I would fit in great there. They were really pressing to get me there, so I knew they wanted me. That was really important to me, and I really loved the team."
Faulkner, standing at 5-foot-11, has been the Blue Devils' leading scorer since she was a freshman. Although she plays forward for Greencastle, her future basketball plans are uncertain.
"I've always wondered why teams haven't been interested in recruiting her as a point guard," Greencastle coach Mike Rhine said. "What I'm saying is I'd want the ball in her hands, no question, but I don't think they've really discussed where she's going to play. The timing is that she's going to play right away, or she'll at least be in the mix at getting a chance to play."
Several Patriot League schools recruited Faulkner, and many of them had the same question.
"They always want to know if she plays hard in the big games," Rhine said. "When a lot of scouts have seen her against the competition we play, they wonder if she's coasting. But one coach asked me what level did I think she was, and I told him she's the highest level there can be. I've never once seen her compete in a game where she was in over her head. Wherever she's placed, she'll rise to that occasion."
Faulkner is the defending Public Opinion Player of the Year, and led Greencastle to the District 3 Class AAA championship a year ago.
But there's still a lot of work to do. With a season and a half left of high school hoops, Rhine said he wants to talk with the coaches at Holy Cross to make sure he prepares her as best as possible. Both Faulkner and Rhine cited the speed of the game as one of the biggest changes she will have to get used to.
"In college, everybody will be tall and fast, and everybody will be vying for playing time," Rhine said. "There's going to be no slacking off, because there's 10 more girls sitting there ready to go. But I think she'll thrive on that. She loves the competition, so the brighter the lights, the better she is."