Barrington's Swanson chooses Purdue
On the same day she rewrote the Barrington girls record book, Sophie Swanson made a commitment to write her name on a National Letter of Intent when she becomes a senior.
The 5-foot-11 junior, who broke her own single-game school record with 40 points in a 62-47 win over Fremd on Tuesday night, earlier in the day committed to Purdue rookie women's basketball coach Katie Gearlds.
"It was really a fun day," said Swanson, who is averaging 21.9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals for the Fillies (17-5), who are a half-game out of first place behind Fremd in the Mid-Suburban West.
"It's a huge relief, I will say that," added Swanson, who had offers from close to 20 Division-I programs. "I'd say what made me choose (Purdue) was just the atmosphere and I definitely knew on my second visit that the program was changing and it was something I wanted to be a part of."
After eight years at Marian University in Indianapolis, Ind., where she was 120-22, Gearlds' first team in West Lafayette is currently 11-6 and 2-4 in the Big Ten.
"The staff and all the players were all so welcoming and it was just somewhere I wanted to be," said Swanson, who becomes the third player in coach Babbi Barreiro's hall of fame career who committed to a Big Ten school (1994 grad Ashley Berggren to Illinois and 2002 grad Lindsay Richards to Iowa).
Barreiro is an Indiana University grad.
"As I told her, it's hard for me to say 'boiler up' being a Hoosier but, for her, I am willing to do it," Barreiro said with a laugh. "I think the staff at Purdue has been just fabulous. This has been a really big process and I think it's an intimidating one to go through but it's a lucky problem to have. So I'm thrilled for her. She has worked very hard for it."
Swanson said playing in the Big Ten was definitely a goal.
"But it's kind of surreal now that it's actually happening," she said. "It's just nice that all my hard work is paying off."
Swanson credits her mother Sloan, Barreiro and her Wolverinas AAU coach Chris Kipley for making the journey possible.
"Those three were the biggest influences," Swanson said. "They stuck with me through the whole process and made it very bearable."
Swanson plays with two other Big Ten recruits (also juniors) on her Wolverinas team -- Hersey's Katy Eidle (Michigan) and Libertyville's Emily Fisher (Maryland).
Swanson said her favorite classes at Barrington are probably English and a medical class.
"So I'm kind of interested in physical therapy but I'm not sure yet," she said.
One thing for sure, Swanson has been one of the most electrifying players in the MSL the past three seasons.
She recently scored the 1,000th point in her career.
"Sophie is just the ultimate competitor," Barreiro said. "She loves to play the game, she loves to play hard and she loves to win. I think those things along with her with her skill set really make her something special."
Swanson sees Purdue as a special place. She attended a football game against Wisconsin on her first visit.
"The atmosphere was just amazing," she said.
"It's very exciting," Barreiro added. "I think it was really important for her to play at a university that was going to give her a great experience, great basketball and a great coaching staff. I think she (Gearlds, a 37-year-old former Purdue star who played in the WNBA) really has them playing well and I believe Sophie's style of basketball will fit well there.
"She had a few schools like that coming down to the end but I think ultimately she wanted to be close to home where her family and friends can come and watch her play. I just think Purdue ultimately checked all the right boxes for what was important for her. I'm really excited for her."