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Hopewell's Walker-Kimbrough commits to Maryland

| Monday, July 2, 2012, 10:38 a.m.
Christopher Horner
Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough drives to the basket past Blackhawk's Samantha Mayer during the fourth quarter of their game Thursday February 2, 2012 in Hopewell. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Hopewell rising senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, the 2012 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Girls Athlete of the Year, will continue her basketball career at Maryland. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Hopewell basketball star Shatori Walker-Kimbrough gave a verbal commitment to Maryland on Monday, July 2, 2012. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough didn't imagine she'd make a college decision this early. Then, Maryland went and exceeded all the Hopewell guard's expectations.

Following a visit to the Terrapins' College Park, Md., campus over the weekend, the rising senior said she was “wowed” and gave a verbal commitment to the traditionally talented ACC school.

“I knew it probably wouldn't get any better than this,” said Walker-Kimbrough, who was this past season's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year, and was named the Girls Athlete of the Year on Sunday.

Walker-Kimbrough, also a volleyball and track and field standout, averaged a Class AAA-leading 25.6 points last season and helped Hopewell to a WPIAL championship. In the final against South Park, she put up an all-time effort with 35 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.

The 6-foot star's high-energy style meshes well with the up-tempo philosophy at Maryland, which appeared in the Elite Eight last season and is expected to be among the best teams in the country next year.

“They're a top-20 school, academically, and top-four in basketball,” said Walker-Kimbrough, who will likely study business in college.

High among Walker-Kimbrough's priorities in her college search was finding an environment that she was comfortable with — not just on the court, but in the locker room. She found that in an accessible Maryland coaching staff led by Brenda Frese, who directed the team to a national championship in 2006.

The Terrapins offered Walker-Kimbrough a scholarship last summer following her first trip to Maryland for a camp.

“It's not far away, and my family had a connection with the coaches,” she said. “They told me they wouldn't try to replace my family, but they'd be an extended family. That really stuck out to me.”

Walker-Kimbrough also had offers from Pitt, Cincinnati, Villanova, Purdue and Xavier, among others.

“I was listing pros and cons for schools, and it was hard to find cons,” she said of Maryland. “Now that I know (the decision) is out of the way, I can go into my senior season with no worries.”

Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dstefano@tribweb.com or 412-380-5697.

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