Makayla Waterman, half of the “Twin Towers” who played a pivotal role in Fairmont High School winning the 2013 Division I girls basketball state championship, verbally committed to Ohio State University on Wednesday.
A 6-foot-1 senior, she finally sided with one of the first programs to recruit her, in seventh grade. She said she chose OSU over Duke and Purdue.
“I was thinking to myself, I don’t know why I’m waiting,” said Waterman, the granddaughter of former OSU men’s assistant coach Ben Waterman. “Ohio State is home. Everyone here from Ohio will love to see me go there. It just came down to that, what my family wanted and what I wanted and how I would benefit from it.”
It’s no surprise that Waterman committed to the Buckeyes. She was a frequent visitor to OSU men’s and women’s games the past few seasons. Many recruiting services linked her, Princeton standout Kelsey Mitchell and Fairmont senior teammate Kathryn Westbeld as being a probable recruiting package. The trio played AAU ball together the past several summers.
Mitchell was among three Buckeyes in the Class of 2014 to commit to new OSU coach Kevin McGuff last month. With Waterman joining, that just leaves Westbeld, also a productive 6-1 inside presence.
“I texted (Westbeld) and said it’s your turn, now,” Waterman said. “She (texted), I know; I still have to think about it.”
Waterman is the second high-profile area player to commit to OSU to play basketball. Also promising to be a Buckeye earlier this month was Dunbar junior guard Amos “A.J.” Harris.
Waterman suffered an ACL knee tear prior to her sophomore season. That allowed Westbeld to blossom offensively.
With Waterman healthy last season and both girls at their rugged inside best, Fairmont (27-1) won its first state title and played in its third straight state championship game. Waterman tallied a team- and season-high 24 points in a 52-48 defeat of Twinsburg, which had beaten Fairmont in the previous two title games.
“It’s the biggest and best decision of my life,” Waterman said. “(Recruiting) was getting so stressful; coaches calling and texting me every day. Now, I can just worry about one school.”
College coaches are not allowed to speak about incoming recruits until they sign. The early signing date for basketball is Nov. 13-20.
School: Fairmont H.S.
Personal: 6-1, sr., F/C
Last season: Averaged 8.9 points, 7.0 rebounds.