Long before Briana Hutchen became one of Baltimore's best high school basketball players, the St. Frances forward dreamed of someday playing for a national-title contender.
"It's funny because I was talking to my godmother about schools in ninth or 10th grade," Hutchen said Thursday. "She just threw some names of schools out there that I'd be interested in. She said Rutgers, and I said, 'No way! I can't go to Rutgers. That's Vivian Stringer's team.' ... Not in my wildest dreams" did she think she'd end up there.
Hutchen's wildest dreams have become a reality. On Thursday, the Baltimore Sun All-Metro girls basketball Player of the Year signed a national letter of intent with Rutgers.
"Briana is an all-around player with the ability to score and to rebound," Stringer, the longtime Scarlet Knights coach, said in a news release. "She is very hardworking and will do whatever it takes to win. Briana is an affable young lady with an amazing personality, and we are excited to welcome her to our Rutgers family."
Hutchen, 5 feet 11, was initially ticketed to American University in Washington, having committed to the Eagles before her senior year. Before the season started, however, Hutchen said she began to have doubts about her choice. She withdrew her commitment, let the early signing period pass and turned her focus entirely toward her final high school season.
As the season progressed, Hutchen started fielding interest from a whole new set of programs. Alabama, Massachusetts, Michigan and Richmond all came calling, but the allure of Rutgers was too much to pass up.
Hutchen, who averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and two assists for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion Panthers, committed orally to the Scarlet Knights about two months ago, but finally made her pledge official Thursday.
"I had a big smile on my face when I opened up the letter of intent," Hutchen said. "It was just a dream come true. It's an amazing feeling you get knowing you're a part of Vivian Stringer's legacy. Knowing that I'm going to be a part of that and stepping forward into something that a lot of people don't have the opportunity of doing is just amazing."