— Chantel Horvat (@ChantelHorvat) September 15, 2016
Chantel Horvat put an end to all speculation today with the announcement of her commitment to the UCLA Bruins for the 2017 season. A landmark moment for both player and country, Horvat’s arrival at the Pauley Pavillion will mark yet another Aussie playing in the deeply talented Pac-12 conference.
For those that haven’t been following her recruitment, let us bring you up to speed.
Horvat is no stranger to the spotlight. Having broken out on the national stage as one of the preeminent high school talents last year, the 6’1 wing out of Geelong slowly accumulated an unrivalled list of offers and interest from a bevy of high-Major colleges. UConn. Duke. Florida. Stanford. Oklahoma. Very few players capture the attention of such high-profile programs . Fewer still from the land down under.
— Jeeven Singh (@AUSAJeeevs) September 15, 2016
Fast forward to the present day. Ranked 15th overall by ESPN for the class of 2017 (highest-ranking Aussie out of both mens and womens sides), Horvat’s talent has well and truly been recognised overseas. Sifting through such a field of top-flight college options, her ensuing decision-making process was thorough and calculated.
“The recruiting process started for me in September last year when the window opened up for colleges to get in contact. Tony (Newnan, Assistant Coach) from UCLA reached out to me early in my recruiting process last year”
Fit, above all, is often (as it should be) the key consideration when choosing a landing spot in the college system. With this in mind, Horvat’s final decision rested heavily on the culture and developmental opportunities the UCLA program provides.
“As well as being a great school and basketball program I loved the family culture they’ve created and their holistic approach to the development of their players”
This last point on development holds particular significance for a player of Horvat’s mould. An athlete in every sense of the word, Horvat’s physical tools provide a near-perfect platform to build upon and point towards immense potential to develop into a veritable two-way force on the court.
Possessing the ability to guard 1 through 4 on the court, and with the handle, passing ability and developing offensive game to slot in nicely at the wing position, Horvat’s versatility is one of her chief calling cards. Playing in the uptempo, run-and-gun system employed by UCLA Head Coach Cori Close should see the proliferation of Horvat’s effectiveness on the court.
Combine all of these facets with a well-documented killer work ethic, and Horvat looks to have both the mindset and determination to dip into her pool of potential and make an impact.
“My short term goals at UCLA are to work hard day in and day out, improving on all aspects of my game. In the long term I would ultimately love to help them win a championship!”
At present, Horvat is focusing on readying herself for the rigours of college ball, crediting the Centre of Excellence as a well-suited environment to do so.
“I’m just trying to work on my game and be in good physical shape to best prepare myself for college basketball. Being up here at the Centre of Excellence is great preparation as there are a lot of similarities between living and playing up here and the college system”
All signs point towards Horvat forging a name for herself once she heads over midway through next year.
Framed against the Gold Medal-winning campaign by the Sapphires at the U17 World Champs, this signing further lends credence to the fact that Australian womens basketball is fast becoming one of our nations key sporting assets. The future is bright.