Tierney Pfirman talks Terps commitment
Long before Tierney Pfirman suited up for the South Williamsport (Pa.) varsity basketball team as a freshman, Mike Allison knew she was a future Division I player.
Just when exactly did the Mountaineers coach start believing that Pfirman would play high-major basketball one day?
“Probably since fourth grade, her coming up through the elementary program,” Allison said. “Even then, as an elementary player, you knew that she had the skill level compared to other kids that were coming through. At least in junior high she put a little more into the sport than some other kids. That development was already there, and then the talent, just her different skill level was something that was very noticeable. I remember some other coaches in junior high, and they would say, ‘When is she going to be playing for you?’ And I kept saying, ‘She’s still in elementary school or junior high. I don’t get her until she’s a freshman.’”
When Allison welcomed Pfirman to South Williamsport’s roster as a freshman, he immediately inserted her into the Mountaineers’ starting lineup – a spot the 6-foot-1 junior never relinquished. Throughout Pfirman’s three high school seasons, she consistently lived up to the elementary-school hype. And on Sunday, Pfirman proved Allison correct on his high-major prediction by committing to Maryland. Her pledge came after an unofficial visit last weekend to College Park.
“We got back home, [and I said], ‘Mom, I think I want to commit.’ I wanted to stay close to home, which was a big factor in the decision,” Pfirman said. “All the other schools where nine-plus hours away, and Maryland’s only 3.5 hours away from where we live. Family and friends can watch me play, [and I can] get home on the weekends if we have an early Saturday practice. It’s just the right time because to me, nothing else was going to change my mind. I’m 100 percent sure this was what I wanted to do.”
Pfirman picked the Terps over offers from Florida, Iowa State, North Carolina State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. She is averaging around 30 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals for the 17-3 Mountaineers.
While Pfirman was well known locally dating back to her elementary-school days, she didn’t emerge as a big-time recruit until last summer – thanks in large part to AAU.
“I started playing for the Philadelphia Running Rebels,” Pfirman said. “A whole new world opened, knowing what was out there with top competition. … Then throughout the [recruiting] process, I just got really close with [the Maryland coaches] and had a great relationship with them. They’re just great people.”
Pfirman said Terps coach Brenda Frese wrote her a handwritten note early in the process, which made a big impression. Putting the full-court press -- so to speak -- on Pfirman was a good move in Allison’s opinion. He counts on her to lead South Williamsport to championships, and he thinks she has the ability to do the same for Frese.
“As far as her role at the college level in talking to some of the Maryland coaches, just being able to use her” size as an advantage in her position is important, Allison said. “She’s been a point guard for us at the junior-high level and most of the time here for me at the high-school level, but [I’d like] to get her to work on being an off-guard or a small forward and being able to develop some of those roles on the basketball court in the team aspect of the game.”
Ending the recruiting process just a few months after it started surprised Pfirman, but the future Terp said she was happy to find a school that fits her so well.
“I can’t believe that it’s over and done with,” Pfirman said. “I just started the process September 1, and I already have a college I’m going to go to. I have two years of high school left, but I’m relieved right now because I know where I’m going. I don’t have to take time [for recruiting] anymore. Now I’m just focused on Maryland.”