By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Cecelia Collins, the late-blooming, emerging all-stater approaching the end of her high school career at Scranton Prep, assessed the three National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s basketball offers on the table and decided on Bucknell University.
Midway through her college career, the Cecelia Collins who entered the NCAA Transfer Portal as a Patriot League all-star sorted through interest from “about 70” schools seeking her services before deciding to continue her career in the Ivy League at Columbia University.
Training, hard work and more helped Collins develop into a prospect late in her high school career and improve her status as a Division I player once she got to college.
“I think a lot of that has to do with my growth spurt,” Collins said. “I just matured a lot later than girls usually do and I think all that work I put in up to then, it all reached a certain point.”
Collins revealed her decision Tuesday after working her way through a series of early phone calls and six recruiting visits.
“I think, compared to other people, I didn’t really know exactly where I wanted to go and that’s why it took me a little bit longer,” Collins said. “It was more like scoping out coaches and teams and then going on visits to where I could see myself fit.”
First, Collins had to review the dozens of contacts.
“I think I did a good job narrowing down what I wanted initially those first few days when I was on the phone with coaches,” Collins said. “It was a lot of schools and I was trying to look for certain things I wanted as far as relationships.”
From there, Collins selected Boston College, Columbia, Fairfield, Georgetown, Penn State and Richmond for visits.
Collins decided to head for the big city.
“The area of New York City is amazing and Columbia is a great school,” Collins said. “The coaches have a great reputation.”
Columbia is coming off a season in which it tied for first in the Ivy League regular season at 12-2 and finished 28-6 overall with an appearance in the Women’s NIT Championship Game where it lost to Kansas, 66-59.
“The decision was tough, but at the end of the day, I just had to go with my gut; weigh the pros and cons,” Collins said. “Columbia winds up being the best place for me.
Cecelia Collins earned Patriot League honors both seasons.
Collins was a Patriot League All-Tournament Team selection in her freshman season when she started all 34 games, averaging 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and playing a team-high 44.2 percent.
Despite missing some time with an injury, Collins started 21 games as a sophomore. The 6-foot guard averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game while earning second-team, All-Patriot League honors.
The 6-foot guard looks forward to fitting into a fast-paced team.
“I think they play pretty positionless,” Collins said. “With the players they had, they played really fast the last two years.
“ … They do have shooters, but they have players who can get out and go in transition and can get up in people’s faces defensively. A little faster pace than Bucknell, a little more free-flowing, so it will definitely be different.”
Collins was a two-time Class 4A all-state selection at Scranton Prep, which went 52-0 in Lackawanna League Division 1 during her career. She helped the NEPA Elite Clark 17U team win Hoop Group Showcase League 17U titles in the AAU program’s first two seasons.