Tyra Buss admits the recruiting process has been an “awesome and sometimes overwhelming experience.” But now one of the nation’s most recruited athletes can rest easy. She’s made up her mind. And, that cheering you hear is coming from across the Wabash River. Buss on Wednesday ended months of speculation by verbally committing to play basketball in two years at Indiana University. The Mt. Carmel junior chose IU over hundreds of other schools from coast to coast, including most from the Big Ten, Missouri Valley, and Southeastern conferences.
“I have always dreamed of playing in the Big Ten, and I wanted to stay fairly close to home,” Buss said in a prepared statement issued after her announcement. “Coach (Curt) Miller has offered me the chance to do both.”
Buss called Miller first on Wednesday morning, and then released the news on Twitter, followed by a press release.
“Since Sept. 1st, I have received thousands of messages via mail, Facebook, Twitter, and email. I am so appreciative of the kind words and messages from all of the coaches who have been recruiting me,” she said. “I am also very appreciative of the coaches who took time out of their busy schedules to watch me play not only basketball, but tennis as well.”
Buss did not indicate in the release which schools had made her final cut, but that list is believed to have included Evansville, and Wisconsin. All the coaches and offers made it “so difficult to narrow down the college where I want to continue my basketball career.”
Lady Aces coach Tim Willis said Indiana will be a perfect fit for Buss.
“Her style of play, ball-handling skills and ability to attack the basket will be a great match with Coach Miller’s dribble drive, pick and roll offense,” Willis said. “Indiana University is getting not only an outstanding basketball player but also a tremendous student and individual. I know she will be in good hands with coach Miller and his staff at IU.”
Buss is averaging 33.5 points per game in her high school career. She has 2,241 career points, a school career record for both girls and boys. The Illinois high school girl’s career record is 4,031 points, and Buss is on pace to beat it in the first half of her senior season. She holds Hilltop records for most points in a game (53), most points in a season (1,121), most free throws made in a season (283, twice), most 3-point shots made in a season (110), most two-point shots made in a season (254), and most steals in a season (161). Buss, a two-time Class 2A all-stater, was listed on Wednesday as one of the top five Illinois Ms. Basketball candidates by the Chicago Tribune.
She has scored 95 points so far this year for the 3-0 Aces.
Since her sophomore year, Buss has been listed on the ESPN 100 watch list for the class of 2014.
It was her off-season play with the Evansville-based Indiana Elite AAU club in tournaments around the country that first drew the attention of college coaches. Buss led the team in scoring as it captured a national title in the spring season.
“Although Tyra is only a little over half way into what could be a historic high school career, I know her decision to join the Hoosiers in a few years is a great choice,” said Buss’ AAU Coach, Phil Kessler. “Coach Miller has spent his career recruiting great point guards into his system. IU’s academic track record speaks for itself, the new facility is second to none, and with the other recruits who are making commitments to IU, the women’s basketball team should rebound similar to the way the men’s team has. Tyra’s best basketball is yet to come in the Big Ten.”
Miller, the 16th winningest Division I coach in terms of percentage, was hired at IU on Mar. 28, after 11 seasons at Bowling Green State, where he compiled a record of 258-92 (.737) His Hoosiers are off to a 3-1 start after a 58-47 victory over Texas A & M on Monday night.
“Tyra’s years of dedication and hard work have provided her the opportunity to continue her basketball career at the highest collegiate level,” said Willis, no doubt pleased that all of the hoopla surrounding Buss’ collegiate plans will begin to subside. “Tyra is the complete package - not only an outstanding scorer, but also a premier defender. Her basketball IQ and a never ending desire to improve will allow her to continue to grow as a basketball player at the next level.”
Buss is also a two-time all-stater in tennis, leading to speculation by some that she might instead play that sport at the collegiate level. But, within the family, there was never any doubt as to which sport she would choose.
“We are very proud of her and all her hard work and dedication to the sport she truly loves to play,” parents Tim and Kelly Buss said in a joint statement. “The decision that she made was a very tough one.”