When Joe McKeown left George Washington to take the head coaching position at Northwestern in June, it all but sealed the deal for one recruit.
Las Vegas' Dannielle Diamant, who planned to wait until after official visits to Northwestern, Harvard and Nebraska to commit, didn't miss the writing on the wall. After two opportunities to explore Northwestern's Evanston, Ill., campus in 2007, she knew she liked the campus and her future teammates, but the coaches at George Washington had put that program on her list as well, despite being unsure about the campus.
"When they moved to Northwestern, it all seemed to fall into place," Diamant said. "It seems like everything is perfect." The 6-4 forward's commitment gives McKeown his first 2009 recruit less than two months after Northwestern named him its new head coach June 9.
McKeown is a 22-year head coaching veteran, with an all-time record of 509-174. He started his head coaching career at New Mexico State, where he spent three seasons before moving on to George Washington in 1989. In 22 years, he racked up 19 20-win seasons.
He inherits a team that went 5-26 in the 2007-08 season, including a 16-game losing streak, under coach Beth Combs.
Diamant, the granddaughter of men's basketball coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian, is ranked No. 93 in the 2009 ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred and spent the summer playing for Brian Crichlow's West Coast Premier program, which advanced to the semifinals of Nike Nationals. She returns to Bishop Gorman High School this fall for her senior season. "My family is happy for me," Diamant said. "(Tarkanian) was excited. He told me 'I'm so proud of you'. I'd never heard him say that before."
Despite the distance between Las Vegas and Evanston, Diamant said she is excited to play in the Big Ten Conference, where she has two cousins attending Penn State that can cheer for her at least once a season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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