For most student athletes, there are few greater testaments to their talent than receiving scholarship offers from colleges. Most of the time, those offers come during a player’s junior or senior season, but one Louisa freshman has already received not one, but three.
Olivia McGhee, a freshman point guard on the Lions’ girls’ basketball team, received her first two offers after the Louisa Lions’ basketball game against the Albemarle Patriots on Jan. 14 – One from the University of Virginia and the other from Virginia Tech. McGhee said she was surprised to get the offers.
“I was speechless the whole ride home,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what happened.”
On Jan. 17, a third offer came, this one from James Madison University.
“This is special,” said Louisa head coach Nick Schreck said. “I know they’re recruiting [players] at younger and younger ages, but to get high-profile Division I offers halfway through [her] freshman year shows how much work she’s put in.”
McGhee began playing basketball in sixth grade, but it took a couple of years for her to begin to play to her full potential.
“I didn’t start taking it seriously until the end of seventh grade, and I noticed that I could go places [with this],” she recalled. “Then I started taking it seriously and putting in the work.”
It didn’t take long for that work to pay off. After McGhee played on the high school junior varsity team in her eighth grade season, Schreck pulled her up to the varsity team this year and made her one of his starting players.
“She’s probably the hardest worker we have,” he said. “She’s very passionate about this game, and you see that, not only in the way she carries herself in games, but how she is in practice.”
McGhee was glad to earn a spot on the varsity team beacuse she “wanted to go up to the next level.”
“I love the competition,” she said. “I love how everyone wants [to win]. No one’s going to let you take it from them. You have to go and earn it.”
McGhee has more than risen to the challenge, totalling nearly 250 points through the team’s Jan. 17 overtime win against Fluvanna for an average of 19 points per game. Since moving up to the varsity level, she feels several aspects of her game have improved.
“My pull up [jump shot] was off at the beginning of the season,” she said. “I had to get a feel for it, playing at this level. I started getting used to it and it’s been going [in].”
Even with the talent she possesses, Schreck noted that there are still areas where McGhee can improve, including becoming a more vocal leader on the team and being his “coach on the floor” as a point guard.
“That’s going to come with time,” he said. “By the time she’s in her junior and senior year, she’s going to have that down pat.
“She’s only going to get better,” he added. “You’re just seeing the tip of what she can accomplish.”