When the time came for Valencia, PA native, and Mars girl’s basketball star Lauren Wasylson to choose a college, her top two choices were Xavier and Duquesne. Following some tough decision-making, Xavier won out. Now, a handful of years later, Wasylson speculated on what her next move should be after graduating from Xavier early, especially with two years of eligibility left.
She was faced with the decision of staying at Xavier or transferring to another school, with Duquesne being the top contender for the latter option. This time, it was the local university that won out. Wasylson credits her relationship with head coach Dan Burt and the rest of the team’s coaching staff for making her feel wanted, thus making her selection process that much easier.
“I had a very good connection with the coaching staff, still do,” Wasylson told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “During the recruiting process the second time around, when they had reached out, I knew it was going to be a perfect fit. Obviously, with COVID, you couldn’t really go to the campus and see all of the attributes they had, with other schools as well.”
Oddly enough, it was Wasylson’s desire to get away from the Pittsburgh area that led to her picking Xavier after her high school career. Broadening her horizons and going to a completely new state was a big deal to her when making the jump to college.
“Just getting away from home a little bit,” said Wasylson. “Rather than being 30 minutes from (home) and staying in the Pittsburgh area, expanding out to Cincinnati, that was really big for me.”
After maturing and getting away from her home area for a while, Wasylson can now focus on achieving another set of goals for her collegiate career. Highlighting those tasks is the opportunity to play for a hometown school in front of a familiar set of fans. The decision to come back to the area is the exact opposite of what she sought just four years ago.
“The idea was to come back home. I really wanted to play in front of my hometown and make an impact that way, because I haven’t been back in three years or so. So being able to come back home and accomplish that, that was one of the end goals.”
On top of her pursuing goals, Wasylson welcomes the chance to play in a new system with the Dukes’ coaching staff. She feels like what the team is doing from a gameplan standpoint could be incredibly beneficial to her game going forward.
“The style of play that they are switching to really, really benefits me, which is a run and jump kind of transition offense and up and pressing. I could really be playing the two, three and even the four spot too.”
Wasylson’s interactions with her future teammates have been quite brief. Although she knows some players due to local ties that resemble her own, some roadblocks have been set that make the transition to Duquesne slightly tedious. Namely, Wasylson is currently finishing her undergrad at Xavier, which means she will be a few weeks behind since the Dukes will have a few weeks of summer practice under their belt before she joins the team full-time. Aside from the limited number of interactions, Wasylson knows what they bring to the table.
“I’m very, very excited to play with them because they all have basketball IQ,” said Wasylson. “They just know the game and they love the game too.”
What Wasylson offers could be very beneficial both on and off the court. As a transfer, she knows that the atmosphere and culture of the team might differ from Xavier, but she knows she can help the team and be trusted by players and coaches alike.
“I think I can bring leadership being an upperclassman now and being able to play college basketball for three years. Yes, being a transfer and coming into a different league and a different school is going to be difficult, but leadership one. And two, my style of play, I think I can bring leadership on and off the court. Being able to know the game and being that fluent player that is looked upon.”
A fantastic freshman season at Xavier saw Wasylson make 24 starts and lead all first-year players in 3-pointers with 57. In total, she accumulated 64 starts for the Musketeers while retaining her position as a reliable 3-point shooter. Wasylson’s career-defining moment has not happened yet from her view and she has a certain kind of confidence when mentioning that.
“Definitely still to come. I don’t think I’ve gotten that far yet within my career. I have two more years of basketball left and I think that memory is definitely going to come at Duquesne.”