Derr commits to Kutztown

By on August 31, 2016
Warwick rising senior Rylee Derr (10), shown driving to the basket against Ephrata last season, gave a verbal commitment on Tuesday to continue her basketball career at Division-Two Kutztown University.

Warwick rising senior Rylee Derr (10), shown driving to the basket against Ephrata last season, gave a verbal commitment on Tuesday to continue her basketball career at Division-Two Kutztown University.

Kutztown head women’s basketball coach Janet Malouf got the telephone call she had been wanting on Tuesday afternoon.

Warwick rising senior Rylee Derr, a Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star who collected her 1,000th-career point last winter, gave Malouf the good news that she would be continuing her career with the Golden Bears.

“She was very excited,” Derr said. “She’s been waiting for me to call her for some time to make a decision, just because I was one of the last girls in my class to make a decision. So she was happy.”

You can hardly blame her.

Malouf is assembling an L-L League Dream Team, having earlier received commitments from fellow All-Stars Caroline Stauffer, of Ephrata, and Zoe Zerman, of Northern Lebanon, all from the Class of 2017. Stauffer, whose 910 career points has her on the doorstep of 1,000, and Derr have been long-time teammates in AAU ball.

“We’ve played together since sixth grade,” Derr said, “so I love playing with her. We’re a good fit for each other.”

Asked about the opportunity to play with Stauffer and Zerman, and how much of a factor it was in her decision, Derr said, “Definitely a lot. It’s nice knowing I’ll have girls that I know when I go there. Caroline and I have played for five-plus years together, and I’m so happy that we can continue this streak, she’s an amazing player, and I’ve heard so many good things about Zoe. So I’m very excited to play with them and see where it takes us.”

Kutztown’s gain was Bloomsburg’s loss. Derr’s final choice came down to those two PSAC schools. But the 5-foot-9 guard, who has 1,183 career points and 109 three-pointers. felt like the Golden Bears were the best fit.

Shippensburg and several Division-Three schools also contacted Derr.

“I’m super excited,” she said. “A weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, definitely. Now I don’t have to worry about it. I think Kutztown is definitely the right choice for me … I think my talent level is at a D-2 level, so I was really looking there. Right when I got there, I felt comfortable and I love the campus, the coaches (Malouf and assistant Justin Hallman) were definitely the main part of it. They were so good to me. They still contacted me, to this day. So I really like that. I visited there in October or November of last year, and I remember leaving Kutztown and being like, ‘This is going to be a hard one to beat,’ just because I loved it so much.”

Being close enough so her parents, Randy and Amy, could watch her games was another bonus.

“It’s only an hour away, so they can get to every game, if not a couple, so that’s awesome,” she said.

With classes scheduled to start at Warwick High School next Wednesday, Sept. 7, her goal was to have a college selection by that time.

“I didn’t want to keep anyone waiting,” she said. “Definitely for myself, I wanted to make a decision to know where I’m going.”

This past winter, the Kutztown women finished 10-16 overall (7-15 conference). Derr, Stauffer and Zerman will be looking to help the Golden Bears get over the hump, and KU’s style of play meshes well with the one to which Derr has played at Warwick.

“I’ve been to a bunch of their games and they love pushing the ball up the floor and that’s what we tend to do,” she said. “So I already feel like I can fit in there. And then just everything about Kutztown, I really feel like I could fit in well there — that’s what I’ve always thought and that’s what the coaches have said to me.”

Playing with a shot clock is one transition Derr will have to make at the college level.

“Probably the biggest thing, and it’s for most people when they go to college, is the shot clock,” Derr said. “I definitely have to adjust to that, but it should be a smooth adjustment. Definitely during pre-season, I’ll hopefully adjust well and then during game time and when the games start, it will be like nothing ever changed.”

This winter, it will seem like a lot has changed. With her college decision behind her, Derr is looking forward to playing the game pressure-free.

“I don’t have to try to impress anybody,” she said. “I can just play my game and I really have no pressure at this point. It’s very relieving that I did make my decision before basketball starts. That was definitely my goal.”

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