Washington Wins Race For 2021 Vista Ridge Hooper Marotte
If you've followed Austin area high school girls basketball since 2017, you are very familiar with Cedar Park Vista Ridge star A.J. Marotte. Fans and recruiting experts could only guess where the three-time first-team all-state talent would commit to for college basketball and the day that she would make the announcement. If you predicted the University of Washington on March 31st, 2020, you are awarded a ding, ding, ding. She wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning that she would continue her basketball career there after her 2021 high school graduation.
"I've been talking to UW for a little less then a year," Marotte said in an interview with VYPE. "They first saw me when I was playing in Spain with one of their  signees, Jayda Noble. [Head] coach Jody Wynn explained to me that she takes her time really evaluating the character of the girls she recruits, not just their skills on the court. So, she said it takes a while for them to offer, but they eventually offered around the beginning of this year."
Marotte knows her current school, Vista Ridge High School, is over 2,100 miles away from the university in Seattle, so she planned a campus visit. Unfortunately, like a lot of things over the last three weeks, it got cancelled because of COVID-19, which is also known as Coronavirus. She decided to go ahead and commit to the basketball program because she has important connections there.
"It is pretty far from Texas, but I didn't want distance to dictate my decision," she said. "UW's staff is just amazing. They recently came for a home visit and I got to sit down and chat with coach[es] Jody and Derek Wynn and I just loved them. They are amazing people, as are the assistants, Paul [Reed] and Michelle [Augustavo-Fisher]. And I just love the culture and environment they've created at Washington, with the girls they recruit and what not. Also playing in a Power Five conference was a goal of mine and, although I had offers from many other P5 schools, UW was just the perfect fit for me."
Marotte's recruiting resume includes 10 Division I offers, but she couldn't pass up the women's basketball program at Washington.
"I am very excited to get out to Seattle and experience the city and my soon to be home," she said. "Washington just fit everything I wanted in a school. Amazing coaches, [it] recruited great girls [and] had a playing style I knew I could fit into."
An out-of-state move may be on the horizon for Marotte, but she is currently preparing for another extravagant season in Texas and Cedar Park. She wants to add to her very accomplished high school career during the 2020-2021 school year and move her high school team closer to two goals it just fell short of in the 2019-2020 campaign: advancing to the UIL 6A state final four and winning a state title.
"Cedar Park is on the up and coming," she said. "There's definitely a lot of people who still sleep on girls here. I'm very thankful I got to play for Vista Ridge. I remember being in middle school [and] dreaming about wearing one of those red and black jerseys. My coaches at Vista have taught me so much, not just on the court. They've taught me how to be mentally strong through adversity and we have definitely faced a lot of adversity in my time there so far. They've taught me things I will remember throughout the rest of my career and I'm so thankful I get to play at Vista Ridge and be a Ranger."
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