Fenwick senior guard Maya Garland used an Oak Park connection to help her land a college basketball full scholarship at Alabama-Birmingham.
Garland gave a verbal to UAB last month, becoming the second member of the Friars’ girls basketball team to commit to a Division I school. Senior guard Jade Owens said during the summer that she’s heading to Creighton. Both guards live in River Forest.
UAB began contacting Garland once former Oak Park-River Forest star Ashleen Bracey became the Blazers’ recruiting coordinator. Bracey, in her first season at UAB under head coach Randy Norton, played for Norton while he was an assistant coach at Illinois State.
“(Bracey) asked me a lot about hanging out on Lake Street,” Garland said. “If you know Oak Park, Lake Street is downtown Oak Park. She also knew (Fenwick coach Dave) Powers, who is a legend.”
Garland said she hopes to study medicine at UAB.
“We had a great connection with the coaches,” Garland said. “I got along very well with coach (Norton) and his staff, and so did my family.”
Garland chose UAB over Yale, Northwestern, Colorado, Wisconsin, Old Dominion and Weber State. She played for the Mac Irvin Fire during the summer.
Bracey was a three-year starter for OPRF and the team’s MVP as a junior and senior before heading off to lllinois State, where she graduated in 2010.