The first time Laurin Mincy thought basketball might lead her to College Park was during Maryland Madness last October.
The Newark, N.J., shooting guard met the team, chatted with other recruits and saw Terps coach Brenda Frese work the Comcast Center crowd into a frenzy.
Still, the 6-foot Mincy was deliberate with her recruitment and didn't want to make a hurried choice.
"I wanted to make sure [I was comfortable with] my decision," Mincy said. "I just wanted to make sure it was right because it's a lifelong decision."
Eight months later, Mincy followed through on that gut feeling, committing to Maryland on Monday. The New Jersey girls basketball Player of the Year picked the Terps over Georgia and Rutgers.
Maryland began recruiting Mincy during her freshman year and never ceased in its pursuit.
"I think with Coach Frese, she recruited me the hardest out of all the coaches," Mincy said. "She made the phone calls when she needed to. The coaches e-mailed frequently to keep me informed on how the team was doing [on the court] and outside of basketball. ... [Frese is] also close to my parents. Just the other day, she just wished my dad a happy birthday. My mom's a newlywed, so she e-mailed my mom, asking her how she felt having my stepfather [experience] his first Father's Day. A connection with my family is very important, so I took that into account in making my decision."
Mincy, a five-star player according to Rivals.com, averaged 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and two and a half blocks per game as a junior, leading University High to the North Jersey Section 2 quarterfinals. A three-year starter, Mincy has scored 1,843 career points.
University head coach Felicia Oliver called Mincy a "go-to player" and leader, but noted that her game goes beyond the box score.
"Her strengths are the intangibles that you don't see," Oliver said. "Her will to win, her drive, her unselfishness, and her willingness to make players around her better; those attributes make the kid a coach's dream. She's not worried about making herself better; she's worried about making her teammates better. And you don't find that in every kid, especially those kids that are considered future great players.
Oliver first saw Mincy play as an eighth grader. She recalled walking into the gym and seeing four girls draped all over Mincy, who then proceeded to lose the quartet with a crossover dribble, drive just inside the 3-point line and bury a long-range jumper. Oliver has seen more of the same during Mincy's three years at University.
"The kid just rises to the occasion," Oliver said. "There's no quit in her. She can erase a 10-point deficit by herself in a matter of seconds. ... What can you say? She's like a mini Candace Parker."
Mincy hurt her knee last weekend and is awaiting the MRI results. While the rest of her summer depends largely upon those results, Mincy said she's excited for her 2010 arrival in College Park, when she'll try and live up to Frese's expectations.
"She told me that she wants me to come in, potentially start and help them win a national championship," Mincy said. "We have [point guard] Dara Taylor, that's coming in now as a freshman. We have all the pieces, so she just told me that she's putting the pieces together to win a national championship, and I can help them do that."