Fall Signing Week '11: National Roundup
by Dallas Oliver, 8 November 2011
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Signing Week is underway, and tomorrow, senior tennis players will begin signing their National Letters of Intent with Division I and Division II schools. We have been tracking verbal commitments for several months (boys, girls), and throughout the remainder of the week, we will be featuring live commitment announcements from a number of highly-recruited boys and girls.
Today, we hear from seniors around the nation in our National Roundup. We recently talked with a number of senior boys and girls who plan to sign NLIs during the Fall signing period, which officially begins tomorrow. We asked them about their college choices - and how they reached their decisions.
Here are the seniors we talked with:
Take a look at what they had to say...
Eric Rubin (Lido Beach, N.Y.) to Columbia
Five-star senior Eric Rubin has had an excellent year. Over the past twelve months, this top recruit has posted a 26-11 record against 5- and 4-star opponents. He placed in the top four of several USTA/Eastern sectional tournaments, and he went 4-0 at the USTA National Team Championships. Next year, Rubin will take his game to the Ivy League at Columbia University.
What were the primary factors in your decision to choose Columbia?
The two most important factors in my decision were academics and level of tennis. I also wanted to go to a school with good coaching and a close team.
Columbia offered the academics I was looking for along with a great tennis team. I live near the city, and being able to attend college in the city is something I've always wanted to do. I also think the core curriculum that Columbia offers is very interesting.
Since Columbia is so close by, I am sure you visited the campus. Did you take an official visit?
I took both an unofficial and official visit. On my unofficial visit I basically just took a tour of the campus and met the team. I loved how you could still have the college campus feel while being in New York City.
On my official visit I got to hang out with the team and watch them practice. After watching them practice I was really sold on the school. Everyone was having a great time and working really hard, and I feel like that is the best way to get better. I took a lot of visits and not one school had a team that was as close as Columbia. Everyone on the team seemed like best friends, and they all supported each other a lot.
Tell me a bit about your interactions with the Columbia coaches.
Both of the coaches at Columbia were great to me during the whole recruiting process. They constantly reached out to me and really made me feel like they wanted me there. I've heard nothing but good things about [Head Coach Bidyut Goswami], and it seems like every kid that he coaches ends up being a great player. I also loved the way that [assistnat coach Howard Endelman] pushed everyone so hard during practice.
Coach Howie was actually the Eastern coach at the Junior Team Championships, so I got to know him very well. Prior to the tournament, I had not been playing well, but... Howie helped me pull out some tight matches, and I really felt like he was the reason I went undefeated at the tournament.
That's great. And you probably have lots of connections with the team as well?
For me the most appealing thing about Columbia was that I was already good friends with pretty much all of the freshman. Currently there are two Eastern freshmen on the team who I've been friends with since the 12s. From the day I started the recruiting process many of the freshman on the team were reaching out to me, and I thought that was awesome. When I got to know all of the guys really well I felt like they'd be my good friends for life even after college.
Tell me something about yourself outside of the tennis court.
My biggest academic highlight this year was being accepted into the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. I spend a lot of time working on a science research project, and it was amazing to be involved in the world's most prestigious science fair. Between science research and tennis, I never had a second of free time.
Bailey VanDyke (Montgomery, Tex.) to Louisiana
The Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana know that they are getting a strong singles player - and an even better doubles player - in 4-Star senior Bailey VanDyke. The 5'7" right-hander, who trains at the Houston Tennis Academy, has a pair of Texas Grand Slam doubles titles on her résumé. VanDyke was won over by the strong sense of belonging she saw in Lafayette, La.
What factors when into your decision to become a Ragin Cajun?
What really narrowed my decision down was the way the entire school has this crazy team spirit. Coach Greg [Harkins] has a very determined attitude - and he seems like he really wants the girls to be better on and off of the court.
The campus is absolutely gorgeous - covered with oak trees and older brick buildings. I am from a small town, and I felt that Lafayette was just a step up from that.
How was your visit to the school? Did you take an official visit?
Because of it being such a short distance to home - just under four hours - I took an unofficial visit.
The coaches and team showed around the every building on campus - including all of the athletic facilities and also the dorms. I hung out with the girls, and I joined them when we all went to a football game.
You mention the players at Louisiana. Could you talk more about them?
They all have unique and fun personalities that click very well together. They were a major factor in my decision, I'm already friends with majority of them on Facebook!
Anything else we should know?
Needless to say, I can not wait to be a Ragin Cajun - and to be apart of such an awesome family and team. I have worked hard all throughout juniors, and all of the hours I've put in have finally paid off.