By Henry Chisholm
@NHRHenryC on Twitter
The 2012 New Haven Register All-Area Most Valuable Player has picked a college. Career senior Tanaya Atkinson said she verbally committed to Temple University after being offered a full scholarship. She said Temple made her feel right at home.
“Everything is like a big family,” she said. “It’s the same at Career, I feel comfortable there. It’s like home to me. It can’t get any better than that.”
Career coach Steve Bethke said Atkinson will help bolster the Owls’ guard play on both ends of the court because of her work ethic.
“One of her greatest assets is she brings a lot of energy,” he said. “She brings a lot of energy to the games and practice.”
Last season, Atkinson played anywhere from shooting guard to center and averaged 20.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 1.5 blocks and an assist per game. She led the Panthers to a Southern Connecticut Conference crown, overcoming concussion-like symptons in the semifinals, and captured the Most Outstanding Player award.
She also took Career to the Class LL quarterfinals, where it fell to Trumbull. Atkinson was an All-SCC and All-Connecticut High School Coaches Association selection, in addition to making New Haven Register All-Area and All-State.
She said she was also being recruited by James Madison, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University, Hofstra and Providence, to name a few. Atkinson said she is happy to get the arduous recruiting process over with and she is pleased with her choice.
“It was kind of stressful,” she said. “There were schools calling me and calling me. Every (school) said the same thing to me and I didn’t want to go somewhere where I’d regret it and where I don’t want to go. For some reason, Temple just felt like home.”
According to Bethke, 2012 All-Area and All-State junior point guard Alyssa Alston transferred to Blair Academy (N.J.).
“It wasn’t so much of a basketball decision,” Bethke said. “She thought academically she needed to improve in certain areas and she thought it would be the best opportunity.”
Alston averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.8 rebounds per game. She was a New Haven Tap-Off Club selection and All-SCC.Bethke said her absence leaves a hole in the Panthers’ backcourt, but tranfer guards Brooklin Davis (North Haven) and Ellery Riccio (Branford) should fill in nicely. He said despite Alston’s departure, he’s confident in his personnel.
“There’s a lot of kids in the program,” he said. “We’ve had success for several years and there’s always people to step up.”