With close to 20 NCAA Division I scholarship offers including four from ACC schools, Northside senior Tracey Hueston has been on a short list of Timesland’s most sought-after girls basketball players.
Hueston ended the suspense Sunday when the 6-foot-2 forward committed to Pittsburgh.
Hueston, a two-time All-Timesland selection at Northside, said she chose Pitt over two other finalists — Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Her offer list also included Florida State and Boston College along with in-state schools such as Old Dominion, James Madison, William and Mary, Liberty and Richmond.
“I went down to three,” Hueston said. “I had West Virginia but I kind of ruled them out earlier, so it was just Pitt and Virginia Tech.”
Hueston took her official visit to Pittsburgh earlier this summer and came away impressed with second-year coach Lance White and the rest of the Panthers’ staff.
“It was really perfect for my [biology] major,” Hueston said. “I love the girls. The coaching staff seemed really invested in my future, so it just seemed perfect.”
Pitt finished in 14th place in the ACC with 2-14 league record, 11-20 overall. The Panthers, who posted back-to-back 0-16 records in their final two seasons in the Big East Conference in 2011-12 and 2012-13, placed 13th in the ACC in their final season under former coach Suzie McConnell-Serio in 2017-18.
“He’s turning the program around, recruiting higher-level girls,” Hueston said. “They’re building up.”
Hueston, who averaged 20 points per game as a junior including 45 in a Region 3D tournament loss to Patrick County, said Pitt’s coaches want her to be a face-the-basket power forward.
“I’ll be most likely a stretch-four in college,” she said. “I’ll be under the basket a lot less in college than I am in high school.”
Hueston, who is ranked No. 78 nationally in the 2020 graduating class by ESPN, said she has work to do to make the transition from high school to college.
“I’ve already started working on my body some, making sure my cardio is to where it should be,” she said. “Also getting more shots up and making sure I can dribble a lot better this year.”
Hueston also stars in volleyball for Northside, and she captured VHSL Class 3 outdoor track and field state championships in the shot put and discus last spring.
The Vikings athlete said she plans to compete in indoor and outdoor track as a senior.
Hueston said she received recruiting advice from her sister, Alexis, who is a junior on the women’s basketball team at Gardner-Webb University.
“She helped me weigh the things that matter and don’t matter,” Hueston said. “She was a big help in all of this.”
Hueston said Virginia Tech’s nearby location did not influence her enough to pick the Hokies over the Panthers.
“Of course my parents won’t be able to go to every single game at Pitt,” she said. “But most of the ACC is within two hours, so they’ll be able to come to a lot of my games.”
For now, Hueston is just glad the recruiting process is over and she can sign her scholarship papers in November.
“It was really hard,” she said. “I had to make some tough phone calls. Every day, getting mail and getting text messages and calls from different coaches.
“To some degree, I’m really glad it’s over, to finally be calm.”