COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Playing the role of the middle child can be difficult, especially when you are following in the athletic footsteps of your older sister and paving the way for your equally precocious younger one. But Karlie Samuelson isn't worried about being overshadowed by her siblings.
A 5-foot-11 wing from Huntington Beach, Calif., Samuelson committed to play at Stanford on Thursday.
Although she had never taken an official visit to Stanford on her own accord, Samuelson is pretty familiar with the campus. Her older sister, Bonnie, is a sharp-shooting freshman guard who helped the Cardinal reach the Final Four this past season as a freshman.
"I did go with Bonnie when she had her official visit to Stanford and enjoyed the experience," Karlie said after a practice session on Thursday at the U.S. Under-17 national team trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. The sisters played alongside one another for two years at Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) High.
But even with her sister playing there, Stanford was not always a lock for Karlie, who also strongly considered Connecticut.
"It was between Stanford and Connecticut," said Samuelson. "I went back and forth between the two, but decided Stanford was the better fit."
Being close to her family was a priority for Karlie, who doesn't fit the middle sibling stereotype of being selfish and stubborn when it comes to sharing the spotlight. She could be forgiven for wanting to focus on herself given that she's competing with an older sister coming off of a successful freshman year in college and a younger sister who is also highly touted. But Samuelson made her college decision with her family in mind.
"Our family has had some hard times recently," Samuelson said. "So, I felt it was best to keep the family together."
Karlie has joined forces with Bonnie -- who tweeted the news ("Karlie just committed to Stanford!!!!!!!! I'm super stoked and can't wait to play with my sister again!!! #sisteract") via her@bonaldean41 handle -- but will have to wait a couple of years to join her in Palo Alto. And the youngest sister, Katie Lou, is a highly regarded prospect in the class of 2015.
Karlie Samuelson said she was glad to get the weight lift off of her shoulders before the USA U17 basketball trials start. "I wanted to commit and make my decision," she said. "For my family Stanford just seemed like the better choice."
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Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz who played as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.