Bastrop High center Danielle Greely became the second women's basketball signee in Bossier Parish Community College history Thursday afternoon.
Greely, a 6-2 center, was a two-year starter for the Lady Rams. She was named second-team All-District 2-4A after averaging 7 points and 9 rebounds per game as a senior.
Greely, whose mother Elinor Griffin Greely was an All-American center at Louisiana Tech during the early days of women's college basketball, is considered a work in progress. Though Greely has the size and athleticism to play at the next level, the consensus scouting report is that she needs to become more aggressive on the floor.
"I need to get a little meaner," Greely admitted. "Coach (John Rennie) said he is going to push me to the limit, so I probably won't have a problem getting meaner."
Added Bastrop coach Emma Brooks: "I'll go ahead and say it, I want her to work on becoming a meaner player in college. She has to have that dominant mentality that, 'nobody is going to come on this turf.'"
Rennie, who attended the signing ceremony, hopes to help Greely fulfill her potential.
"You can't teach size," Rennie said. "With her personality and attitude, I think she'll come in here and work hard. Hopefully, we can develop her post skills and make her into an even better player than her mother."
Though two inches shorter than Rennie, Greely has a longer wingspan than her future coach.
"I think Danielle's going to grow some more," Rennie predicted. "For her size, she moves well. She can get up and down the floor pretty well. She has a tremendous upside."
Competing against the likes of two-time defending national champion Trinity Valley (Texas) in the 10-team Region 14 league, Rennie says Greely will be challenged night in and night out.
"It's a solid conference, overall, in all sports. Our baseball coach calls our conference the SEC of junior college and that's a pretty good analogy," Rennie said. "In the league we play in, Danielle will get exposure. I was talking to a D-1 coach in the first round of the conference tournament and he told me there were over 100 D-1 coaches there that day. All of our girls will have the opportunity to get better just because of the people we play every night.
"If Danielle will come in and work hard, we'll get her ready for a D-1 program. And I think she has the passion and desire to get there."
Page 2 of 3 - Greely already knows where she wants to finish her college career.
"I want to go to Tech and play basketball and bring back my mom's name over there," Greely said.
Two years from now, Greely hopes to be a more well-rounded basketball player.
"I need to learn to handle the ball so I can be more of a threat when I get to a four-year college," Greely said.
Greely says she wasn't always committed to basketball. In fact, she was reluctant to play at all.
"My mom made me play in junior high. I didn't want to play," Greely recalled, smiling. "When I started playing AAU and got the fundamentals down, I started loving it. By the time I got to high school, I started loving it."
Greely, who played AAU ball for a pair of Monroe-based teams — the Lady Vols and Lady Tar Heels — has been a totally different player since shedding a considerable amount of weight between her sophomore and junior seasons.
"When I played AAU, all we did was run," Greely said. "Between high school practice and AAU, I lost a lot of weight and started to improve."
For Greely, taking the juco path was a choice. A 3.5 student who scored 20 on her ACT, Greely was academically qualified to sign with a D-1 school.
"I like the way coach wants to do something our first year," said Greely, who plans to major in psychology. "I like the campus and the environment at BPCC. I also like the fact that coach is not just about basketball. He's about education, too."
Greely narrowly missed being the first signee in BPCC history as Pickering guard Aaliyah Sheppard signed with the Lady Cavaliers on Wednesday.
"It's a new team, so I'm making history by being part of the first team at BPCC," Greely said. "Starting a program in such a competitive conference is going to be a challenge, but it should also be fun and I'm looking forward to it."
Brooks believes juco is the right avenue for Greely to take.
"I still say this is the best route for Danielle," Brooks said. "She's going to get a chance to play right away and be challenged because everybody has the same level of skills and she will be matched up with post players that are as tall or taller than she is."
Page 3 of 3 - Brooks still hopes to see Greely become a dominant inside player.
"I wanted her to be the player that people feared," Brooks said. "At this point right now, she's not where I wanted her to be as far as being ready to be a college player. But she's going to get a lot of playing time and a chance to get better and a chance to get ready to be a four-year college player."
It's easy to get caught up in Greely's potential and forget that she has made remarkable progress over the past two years.
"Looking back to where she was when she first got here, she has improved a heck of a lot," Brooks said. "I saw Danielle do things this year that she wasn't able to do when she first came here. She has worked hard and improved enough to get a college scholarship, so she has improved quite a bit."
Of course, Brooks always gets a thrill out of seeing one of her former players sign a college scholarship.
"Any time a young lady can work hard and earn a scholarship, it's not only a proud day for the athlete, but for the parents, the principal, the coach and the school itself," Brooks said.
Greely will join former Lady Rams Sharnice Brooks (ULM) and Rosa Bryant (Chattahoochee Tech Community College) at the college level.
Greely's classmate, senior power forward Michelle Hardin, is scheduled to sign with Baton Rouge Community College on Friday afternoon. Rennie said that BRCC is tentatively scheduled to visit BPCC on Nov. 22.