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One official visit was all it took for Bianca Lutley to decide where she wanted to spend her college career.
After narrowing her list to Florida and Louisiana State in early October, Lutley, ranked No. 25 in the ESPN HoopGurlz 100 for the class of 2009, gave LSU and coach Van Chancellor her verbal commitment Monday night.
"I wasn't thinking it (was already my choice) when I went," Lutley said Monday. "I liked the people and the coaches and I just felt they were being straight up with me about the academics and basketball."
Lutley took her lone official visit the weekend of Oct. 24, two weeks after Chancellor, who led the Lady Tigers to the 2008 Final Four in his first season, had made a home visit to meet with Lutley and her parents. Both her mother and father joined the Florida native on her official visit, where she said they both really liked the setting as well.
|Bianca Lutley is a powerful combo guard with lots of upside.|
"(My parents) mainly liked the home visit, where the coaches broke everything down for them," Lutley said. "(LSU has) a tutor and things set up for when you travel for games. The academics were a big part of it."
Team Breakdown coach Pat Gajardo, who coached Lutley during the summer, said Monday that while he was a bit disappointed that she didn't stay in state, LSU should be a good fit for her.
"Florida did a hell of a job recruiting her," Gajardo said. "I would have liked her to stay in state, but (Chancellor) does a wonderful job and, if you look at what he's done with Florida kids & he's done great things."
Nearly a month ago, Lutley, a senior at American Heritage after playing for Pensacola as a junior, narrowed her list to the two schools, dropping South Florida, Kentucky and Rutgers from her list.
"I just felt (Florida and LSU) were the only ones being straight up with me about everything, especially academics," Lutley said. "At LSU, I think I'll fit in well. The girls there have really good team chemistry and they're a young group."
With Lutley, Chancellor has nabbed a 5-foot-11 point guard with a knack for great passes and no hesitation about going inside to mix it up with the big girls. Lutley said the coaches talked to her about working on her mid-range jumper and getting into the action her freshman season to work hard.
Lutley's commitment leaves just eight players ranked between No. 13 and No. 100 uncommitted as of Monday night. There are also seven uncommitted players ranked in the top 12.
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Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and a barista at Starbucks, and grew up in Seattle, where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com.