Niya Beverley was looking for the right fit and she was willing to wait until she found it.
Beverley, a 5-foot-7 point guard for the national powerhouse St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., had numerous scholarship offers in hand for the November signing period. But she decided to hold off and keep looking for the perfect fit.
She finally found it over the weekend when she visited the University of Wisconsin and quickly decided to become the first member of Jonathan Tsipis’ 2017 recruiting class.
“Before I just didn’t feel like I had found the right fit yet,” Beverley said. “But when I got to Madison I knew I had found where I belonged. I wanted somewhere that was like my second home where I could bond with everyone and where I could see myself really fitting in.
“I was close before but I just wanted the absolutely best fit for me and I found that when I got to Wisconsin.”
Beverley brings with her an impressive resume as a four-year starter for St. John’s, which was 31-2 this season and was ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today and Max Preps and No. 3 by espnW.
“She’s a great kid, a great player,” St. John’s coach Jonathan Scribner said. “She really had a tremendous senior year and a great career. I think Coach Tsipis is getting a great steal here.
“She had good offers from some good schools in the fall, but something just wasn’t feeling right. She’s a smart kid and she wasn’t in a hurry. She wasn’t going take the first thing that happened.
“She believes in herself. She knew there would be some good opportunities. She knew she was going to have a great senior year and there would be schools that would be in need of her caliber of a player. I think her patience paid off.”
Beverley averaged 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals last season for St. John’s, which won the tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and city championships.
Scribner, a 1993 UW graduate, said Beverley possesses all the attributes of a topflight point guard.
“With Niya, you know you’re going to be in the comfort zone with the ball in her hands,” he said. “She’s so strong with the basketball, extremely athletic, great in transition, finishes around the rim, excellent court vision and is very fast. She’s pretty much un-guardable when she has the ball in her hands. You’re not going to be able to press her.
“And she’s an unbelievable defender. She had the task of putting pressure on each of our opposing point guards. She just has a great will to win.”
St. John’s plays a challenging schedule and faced many of the top teams in the nation. Its only losses were to fellow powers Paul VI of Fairfax, Virginia, and Clovis West from California, and St. John’s won two of its three meetings with Paul VI.
That kind of experience will have Beverley as prepared as possible to step in and compete right away in the Big Ten, Scribner said.
“She’ll have her freshman ups and downs,” he said, “but as far as being battle-tested and ready to compete on a Big Ten court, there’s no doubt in my mind she’ll be ready to go.”
Tsipis had been recruiting Beverley while he was coach at George Washington and he renewed contact during the season as he looked to bolster the Badgers’ point guard situation.
“We have a really good relationship,” Beverley said. “We’ve known each other for years and we’ve always talked a great amount. We started talking again in January and set up a visit.”“Then when I got to Madison and saw the beautiful campus and started meeting all the players, I just knew this was where I wanted to be.”