The Hamilton star committed to Rider University in New Jersey. She will sign her letter of intent at some point this week.
“It means a lot,” Lightbourne told me today. “I’ve been through everything possible. My dad and my family were basically the only ones there for me. They helped me through everything. Physical therapy. My dad and my family, they didn’t give up on me like others may have. And I believed in myself.”
As you know, Lightbourne tore her ACL during her junior season. She missed the entire spring and summer tournament circuit with her AAU team, New Heights, before returning for a couple showcase tournaments this fall. It cost her the opportunity to be seen by colleges, and almost sacrificed her chance to land on a Division I roster.
Lightbourne committed to Rider last week after making an offical visit there. She canceled an official visit to St. Peter’s and an unofficial to Manhattan. Rider’s offer of a full scholarship was what she had hoped for.
Some coaches suggested she attend prep school, but Lightbourne viewed that move as a potential step back. She also applied to four schools — Seton Hall, VCU, Hartford and NJIT — in case something opened up there this spring.
I asked Shereen if she’s excited to prove herself in college, knowing she can flourish in the future once she’s 100 percent.
“I’m very excited to play and show the way I can play,” Lightbourne said. “Playing at a small school you don’t get the same exposure. … I really want to prove myself. Not to anyone else, but for my own benefit.”