New UM women’s basketball commitment a legacy
Maryland fans aren’t exactly plentiful in Beaverton, Ore., a suburb of Portland roughly 2,800 miles away from College Park.
Westview High School girls basketball player Jackie Nared was always a rare exception. Her father, Greg Nared, was a four-year letter-winner for the UM men's basketball team in the late 80s. Her mother, Reiko Williams, also graduated from Maryland. Growing up among Ducks and Beavers fans, Jackie Nared was a product of her parents’ college experiences.
“I’ve always had my little Maryland sweatshirts and sweatpants,” Nared said. “So I’ve always been a Terp fan.”
Nared never really expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps, but when presented with that chance last week, she jumped at it.
Nared, a senior, verbally committed to the Terps’ women’s basketball program on March 25, just before Maryland’s 76-64 win over Nebraska in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
While coach Brenda Frese and staff were obviously occupied by the task at hand, they took time to congratulate the newest Terp.
“They seemed pretty excited,” Nared said. “They just jumped up and said ‘welcome to the family,’ so it was really good to know that I’m going to be in an environment where I have people who accept me.”
Nared, a 6-foot-1 small forward, averaged approximately 23 points, 14 rebounds and four assists per game for Westview, which finished 14-12.
In February, The Oregonian named Nared its Athlete of the Week after she scored a season-best 39 points in an overtime win. At the time, Nared was leading “large-school Oregon girls basketball in scoring,” according to The Oregonian.
So how did a player of Nared’s caliber remain unsigned, as a senior, until the spring?
“San Diego [had offered me] and I was talking to a couple schools around here and a couple Pac -10 schools,” Nared said. “Gonzaga, Arizona, a couple more schools. But I wanted to wait for my season to be over with so I had more options because I was hoping maybe people would see me during my season.”
Nared doesn’t know how Maryland discovered her, but she’s obviously glad they did. Thanks to Frese's pregnancy and doctor’s orders, she wasn’t allowed to fly across the country to scout Nared in person. So the Terps sent assistant coach Erica Floyd to Oregon for one of Westview’s games.
Floyd liked what she saw, so the recruiting developed from there. Nared sent game tapes to Frese, the communication between the two parties increased, and Nared was eventually invited to take an official visit to College Park. Nared and her father took that opportunity last week during her spring break.
Nared, who was born in Baltimore and lived in Maryland until she was six, had visited College Park many times before. Most of her mother’s family still lives in the area, so even after moving to Oregon, she regularly returned to Maryland for visits. Nared even remembered attending a men’s basketball game several years ago at Cole Field House.
But it was a whole different experience seeing the program up close this time. Nared said meeting the players, whom she had seen so many times on ESPN, was like “meeting celebrities.” What really impressed Nared, however, was a sit-down she and her father had in Frese’s office.
“Just talking [with Frese] and seeing all the national championship trophies, I was like ‘there’s no way I can turn this down.’”
Nared committed shortly thereafter, much to the elation of her father and mother. Now she just needs to learn the fight song.
“[My dad] told me he’s going to need to teach it to me.”
Nared plans to move to College Park in July. Until then, she’s doing everything in her power to allow her to get minutes for Maryland next season.
“I’ve been lifting weights every day, trying to get stronger, get bigger, eating healthy, and just playing basketball,” Nared said. “I have an AAU team (Team Concept), so I’m just practicing with them four times a week to stay in basketball shape.”
Nared will obviously miss her parents and two younger sisters being so far away from home. But after making her commitment to Maryland, Nared feels like she’s stepping into a situation that will make the transition easier to deal with.
“I’m sure [the team is] going to help me [adjust], knowing how far away [from home] I am. So I’m excited.”
Click on the You Tube player to see The Oregonian’s Athlete of the Week feature on Nared.