By Ray Hamill — The offseason recruiting drive at College of the Redwoods continues in spite of the coronavirus shutdown, with the news that another local standout has verbally committed to play women’s basketball for the Corsairs.
McKinleyville senior Rian Heenan will join the team after graduation, becoming the latest H-DNL all-star to take her game to a program that is fast establishing itself as a force within the Golden Valley Conference and a team that appears ready to compete for another conference title next winter.
“We’re really excited about her,” CR head coach said of Heenan, an all-Big 5 Honorable Mention.
Heenan, one of four new players already announced, is expected to give the Corsairs some versatility in the lineup.
The Mack senior will give the CR women an immediate boost with her physical presence inside the paint, but her new head coach is confident she can also be effective in other ways.
“I like her size,” Tuey said. “I think she’s got the potential to open up her outside game a little more, but obviously she’s confident inside. I think she can work well inside with Dennise (Horton).”
Heenan, who played a pivotal role in the Panthers’ late-season surge to make the playoffs this past season, is expected to fill an important role with her new team, one that has been a focus of Tuey’s recruiting.
“Players who are more combo guards with a little more height, other teams have difficulty guarding them,” the head coach said. “I think she’ll do very well for us playing that combo guard inside and outside.”
Heenan joins St. Bernard’s Shelby Jordan and Eureka’s Dorshaela Wesson as locals who will join the team for next year, the latter of whom redshirted this past winter.
Alexis Navarro, an Oregon native, also has committed to play.
And assistant coach Darren Turpin continues to play a pivotal role in the recruiting drive, including with the acquisition of Heenan.
“We kind of had our eye on her since last year,” Tuey said. “Darren watched her a little more. I saw her against Eureka in the Niclai and I really liked her.”
Tuey says the recruiting is not done yet and has spoken to additional players at both McKinleyville and St. Bernard’s.
“I would definitely like to get two or three more players committed,” she said.
Five or six of this past season’s roster are expected to move on, including Bree Northern, Darienne Kartes and Abiona Katri, each of whom contributed a lot of key minutes.
Heenan is the latest in a strong recent McKinleyville to CR connection, following in the footsteps of athletes like Olivia Alves, Theresa Dickey, Grace Rosebrook, Jaycee Morais and Owen Lien.