A new voice for Rutgers
Briyona Canty never has been the most talkative player on the court. She has chosen instead to lead by example. Though tabbed as the No. 6 prospect in the 2011 class by ESPN HoopGurlz, Canty's only big knock has been her lack of gab, especially for a player who is leaned on to play the point at times.
The silent assassin routine is changing for Canty and it was triggered 9,500 miles away from her home this summer while earning a bronze medal for the USA in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. As the ink dries on Canty's National Letter of Intent with Rutgers, coach C. Vivian Stringer can count on talk being a regular part of Canty's game for years to come.
"I think it's going to carry with me to the next big stage in my life," Canty said.
As Canty's star has grown in the past two years, she continued letting her game do the talking. Playing on super regional teams, like her NYC Gauchos club team, put her in an environment where that was enough given the talent around her. But her goals are changing.
Bring up recent high-profile Scarlet Knight stars such as Epiphanny Prince, Essence Carson or current junior April Sykes, and Canty knows her ranking and acclaim bring lofty expectations.
"I'm trying to go past those expectations," Canty said.
Part of being on that level is being a vocal leader and it came to Canty out of necessity in Singapore because, with just two teammates on the court, communication was paramount to the USA team grabbing a bronze medal.
Canty said she feels the same trust and closeness with her future teammates at Rutgers that she did with her USA teammates. The Scarlet Knights don't have any seniors on the roster this season, so the players with whom she has bonded will all be there as her teammates next season.
The college decision was tough for Canty, though she never let it overwhelm her. She had two of her finalists, Rutgers and Kentucky, really stood out. But ultimately being close to home and the chemistry built over several years was too much to overlook.
"It was just a love I felt from the coaching staff and the team," Canty said," and them being there in the beginning."
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.