Women basketball Marauders land a blue chip

Linnaea Harper will play for the Marauders. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Linnaea Harper will play for the Marauders. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

The holiday season is just getting underway but McMaster women’s basketball coach Theresa Burns got an early gift – forward Linnaea Harper from Newmarket recently committed to join the Marauders next season as the team’s first recruit.

“We are thrilled to welcome Linnaea to the Marauder family,” beamed Burns. “She has a unique skill set and athletic profile, and will provide tremendous versatility at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.”

Playing for Newmarket high school, the six-foot Harper helped her Raiders team qualify for the last two provincial high school Quad-A tournaments. She also competed for the Scarborough Blues club team in the Provincial JUEL league. Ranked by various recruiting services as a top-30 player coming out of the Ontario high school ranks, Harper attracted recruiting interest from schools across Canada and in the U.S.

Harper put heavy emphasis on her academic aspirations as well as finding a good fit for basketball. “I wanted to attend a university with a strong academic reputation, and Mac has an outstanding kinesiology program,” said the former provincial team member who helped her team win Gold at the 2012 Ontario Summer Games. “I loved the feel of the campus as well as the school spirit.”

Relieved at putting a close to the recruiting process, Harper says McMaster was able to provide everything she was looking for in a university.

“The athletic facilities are exceptional, and the supports at Mac, both athletically and academically, are unlike anything else I’ve seen,” said Harper, who has also competed in volleyball and soccer. “From strength and conditioning to athletic support, I know that Mac will provide me everything I need as a student athlete.”

As a player with size that can handle the ball and shoot from three-point range, Burns expects Harper to have a major impact as a freshman.

“Linnaea brings the work ethic, leadership qualities and commitment to the team that are trademarks of our program. “She’s an outstanding student and brings the same intelligence to the basketball court. We are definitely excited about the next few years of having Linnaea in our lineup.”

Now with one Blue-Chip player in the fold, Burns is hoping several other recruits will take notice and decide to join Harper as new Marauders in time for the 2014-15 season.