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Sydney Nunley still has a full season of high school basketball left to play. But the Greenbrier East senior center knows where she’ll be headed when her prep career is complete.
On Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, Nunley signed with Radford University, completing a commitment that has been in the works for more than a year.
“It’s a really big relief, and I couldn’t have done it without my team,” said Nunley, smiling from ear to ear as she made her college plans official with family and friends by her side. “I’m just really excited. I just couldn’t wait. I wanted to get everything done so I know I’m part of that team.”
Nunley will be a big addition to the Highlanders, following in the footsteps of La-She’ Walker, another former Spartan who played at Radford and is now a student assistant coach after a knee injury cut her basketball career short.
Standing 6-foot-3, Nunley was almost an unstoppable force as a junior, averaging 15 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks per game for a GEHS team that finished 24-2.
“When we first saw Sydney two summers ago, we were impressed with her combination of size, skill and deceptive athleticism,” said Radford head coach Mike McGuire in a release on the school’s website. “Sydney is a legit 6-foot-3 and will bring immediate depth to our inside game. She can score consistently on the block and should be a tremendous rebounder for us.
“We loved her ability to rebound and outlet the ball to start the transition game. Like the others in this class, Sydney does not know how good she can be yet, and that excites us.”
Nunley — whose younger sister, Piper, is a sophomore on the Spartan team — said she chose Radford because it felt like home. She said she loved everything about the campus and the program, and knew that’s where she wanted her career to continue.
“I think it’s a great fit,” said GEHS head coach Jim Justice. “Radford is D-I and she’ll have the opportunity to excel there. She’s a great student, and what a player. She’s a dominating inside player. She’s going to have a great career not far away.
“Sydney will really surprise you. Everybody knows she’s dominant inside, but Sydney can really handle the ball very well. The other thing that is amazing his her speed. She can really run, and she’ll be a great college basketball player.”
Before she hits the court for the Highlanders, who finished 7-23 this past season, she’ll be working to try to get a young Spartan squad back to the state tournament, after they fell in the semifinals last season.
“We expect to do well, and that’s the way we’ve built our program,” said Justice. “They believe they’re going to do well, and I do too.”
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.