Coveted Carmel Valley basketball prospect Campisano picks Oregon
Sierra Campisano was already leaning heavily towards committing to the University of Oregon when she made an official recruiting visit to the campus earlier this month.
The weekend in Eugene, Ore., cinched it.
“Overall, it was just a perfect fit,” said Campisano, considered one of the nation’s most coveted prep girls’ basketball recruits.
“Everything pointed towards Oregon, and it was the right time. I just clicked with everything.”
The 6-foot-3 Torrey Pines High standout forward made an oral commitment to Oregon on Jan. 13, just days after visiting the Eugene campus.
Campisano had been recruited by nearly all Top 25 programs. She also had offers from Oregon State, Colorado, Stanford and Nebraska.
She cited playing for a coaching staff that includes former collegiate standout and WNBA star Nicole Powell and head coach Kelly Graves as key factors in her decision-making process.
But it was a certain feeling she had roaming the streets of Eugene and the picturesque campus that turned one of the most difficult decisions in her life into a slam-dunk.
“It was just the vibe of the town,” Campisano said. “It’s a super-big college town, and all the hotels had ‘Go Ducks’ painted into the windows.
“Oregon had always been my No. 1 choice, and this visit totally solidified my decision and made it very clear that that’s where I was meant to be,” she said.
And to say that Campisano, an Oregon Ducks fan since childhood, has no regrets about her decision would be an understatement.
“I’m unbelievably excited and honored and over the moon right now,” she said.
Campisano acknowledged that making the decision was a bit of a relief, noting that she could now focus all of her basketball energy on helping lead a Torrey Pines team with San Diego Section championship ambitions.
Campisano leads the team averaging 26.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 6.1 blocks.
The Falcons last season lost to Mt. Carmel in the San Diego Section Division I semifinals after going undefeated in a Palomar League championship campaign that Campisano counts among her career highlights.
Campisano led the Falcons in virtually all major statistical categories last season, too. She emerged as a dominant force her freshman year, despite missing most of the season after an emergency appendectomy.
She has recorded double-doubles (double digits in scoring and rebounding) in all but a handful of the 58 varsity games in which she’s appeared. She’s consistently put up monstrous numbers despite consistently being double- and triple-teamed by defenders.
Campisano credits Falcons coach Denise Bennett, who has pushed the team to play for a common purpose, as a key factor in her development.
“It’s a great overall experience, and it’s definitely going to help me at the next level,” she said.
Spatticus Harris, Campisano’s San Diego Sol club coach since she was in seventh grade, has played a pivotal role in her development too, she said.
Campisano has been on the Beaver State’s radar since her freshman year. One of the first to reach out to her was Mark Campbell, then an assistant at Oregon’s arch-rival, Oregon State. But when Campbell moved to Oregon last season after four years at Oregon State, he brought with him a relationship that helped the Ducks land one of their most prized recruits.
Campbell is now part of a program that Campisano believes is a perfect fit.
She considers Powell, a former collegiate All-American at Stanford who spent 11 years in the WNBA, to be a major asset for Oregon’s coaching staff.
“I’m just really excited to get coached by her and get feedback from such an amazing player,” Campisano said.
Powell joined Graves, who engineered a turnaround at a struggling Gonzaga program before coming to Oregon.
“I just totally believe in his mission and believe that he can totally rebuild Oregon to the top,” Campisano said. “I’m really excited and honored to be a part of that.”