November 14, 2013 10:36:29 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
FOREST -- Victoria Vivians made it official Wednesday. She will write the next chapter in her legacy at Mississippi State.
In front of a packed gymnasium filled with family members, teammates, classmates, and teachers, the Scott Central High School senior signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Vic Schaefer and the Bulldogs next season.
Vivians, a 6-foot guard/forward, said she realizes all of the awards she has won and everything she has helped the program accomplish are big, but she doesn't think it consume her. She credits her family for helping keep her grounded throughout a career that saw her first earn All-District honors as an eighth-grader and throughout a long recruiting process in which she turned down scholarship offers from national powers like Tennessee, Baylor, and Louisville, just to name a few.
"I didn't realize (I was making history) until the recruiting process started," Vivians said. "I realized (the magnitude of everything) because of all of the schools that were recruiting me. ... It is going to be hard (going to MSU), but I know I can do it because if I can start from where I was in eighth grade and finish high school, it takes time. I know if go through all the processes everything is just going to be left on top for me to grab."
Mississippi's reigning Miss Basketball and the state's 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year, Vivians earned All-America honors from MaxPreps after leading Scott Central to the Class 2A state championship with a 39.7 points per game scoring average that rated second in the nation.
Vivians' signing was one of five on a day in which MSU landed the No. 18 signing class in the nation, according to ESPN/HoopGurlz and Dan Olson's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. In addition to Vivians, MSU received signed NLIs from Starkville High's Blair Schaefer, who is Vic's daughter, Florida forward Lakaris Salter, Texas All-State guard Kayla Nevitt, and Alabama standout guard Morgan William.
The five-star prospect, who has career 4,231 points, is rated No. 6 in Full Court's Fresh 50 and No. 24 nationally by ESPN/HoopGurlz and Dan Olson's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. She entered the season 887 points shy of passing former MSU standout Mary Kathryn Govero's state high school scoring record and 1,296 points from breaking the national high school mark. She is averaging 46.5 points in her first two games of the 2013-14 season.
"When I first took the job here, as I was going down the runway after my press conference to go to the Sweet Sixteen at Texas A&M, the first call I made as the Mississippi State head coach was to Victoria Vivians' high school coach Chad Harrison. To know the work we have put in as a staff, and to know the impact she is going to have on this program the next four years is exciting," Schaefer said. "She is such an explosive player, but is also a great young lady with a tremendous family. Her skill set is off the chart, and she has the ability to play multiple positions.
"Victoria is an impact player that all the young basketball players across the state can look up to knowing she stayed home to represent "Our State" here at Mississippi State. Victoria will not only have a chance to etch her name in Mississippi State history, but she will also have the chance to do it in the Southeastern Conference record books, which includes some of the best players this game has seen. She's that talented, and it's our job now to continue to develop her and put her in a position to do that. She will probably be the all-time leading scorer in high school girls' basketball history nationally, and I feel that her college career can be much the same. She has led her high school team to the state championship, so she knows only one thing, winning. Coach (Chad) Harrison has done an incredible job developing her as a leader as well as a great player. He too is to be commended. We are excited and feel very blessed that she is going to be at Mississippi State the next four years."
Harrison, who gave Vivians a rousing introduction that listed the laundry list of all of her accomplishments, said he is excited Vivians opted to stay in the state and to play close to home.
"She is a difference-maker, and I believe one of the best players in the country hands down," Harrison said. "You hear coaches talk all the time about kids being good kids, well Victoria is a special young lady from a special family. She will be a great ambassador for Mississippi State, and as a player, her motor runs from the word go."
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Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.