Mariah Ruff is taking her talents to St. Bonaventure.
Ruff, an Oneonta High senior-to-be, has made a verbal commitment to play for Division I basketball for the Atlantic 10 school in western New York.
“I really liked the coaches,” Ruff said of the program headed by Windsor graduate Jim Crowley, who also also recruited Bainbridge-Guilford graduate Courtney Mattingly to play for the Bonnies in the late 1990s. “I was looking for a coach like Mr. (Matt) Miller and I think coach Crowley is like Mr. Miller. He has his own style, but I really liked the coaching staff and the players.
“I really liked the campus and the people around it,” she continued. “It’s a small-knit community, like Oneonta.”
Ruff was a First Team all-state selection in Class B following a junior season in which she averaged 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 3.7 steals in leading the Yellowjackets to a 20-2 season.
She had game highs of 26 points and eight assists in Oneonta’s season-ending, 55-53 state semifinal loss to an Irvington squad that went on to win its fourth straight state title, by 38 points.
“I know coach Crowley told her many times he sees her coming in as an impact player,” Oneonta High coach Miller said. “She’s not going to be a typical freshman. He plans to throw her right in there and he expects her to produce for him.”
Ruff said she got the same impression from Crowley, who guided the Bonnies to a spot into the round-of-16 in the NCAA tournament two seasons ago.
“That’s the way I took it,” Ruff said when asked if she expects to contribute right away. “I still have to work for my spot, but what will automatically help is he plays 10 players every game. All of his players are set to play every game.”