Ipswich Basketball young star Susannah Rafiu has verbally committed to the admissions process at Columbia University. The class of 2022 athletic forward has been heavily recruited by a number of high performing D1 School’s and has chosen Columbia after a long recruitment process, having received multiple offers from big name D1 programmes.
Columbia University Lions play in the Ivy League Conference, which announced in November 2020 that their winter schedule would not take place due to health and safety concerns during the covid-19 pandemic. However, during their 2019/20 season they finished with a 17-10 record under Head Coach Megan Griffith which was good enough for the 4th in the conference, their best record since 2009-10.
The 6’1 versatile forward is the latest player in the Ipswich production line to make the step to move to a high-profile US College, following in the footsteps of the likes of Ashleigh Pink, Esther Little and Ethan Price. Rafiu, who is still just 17, has already enjoyed a decorated career with Ipswich having won the MVP of the Under 18 National Cup final in 2020 as well as helping Copleston to become co-WEABL championships in that same COVID shortened season, in which she was named South Conference Defensive Player of the Year. This season, Susannah was integral to Ipswich’s WNBL League and Playoff double, averaging ten points and seven rebounds – including a stand out performance against CoLA in the Playoff Final that was worthy of MVP consideration.
Susannah quote “I’m really excited to have committed to the admissions process with Columbia University, they are a great fit for me both academically and for the next step in my basketball journey. The recruitment process has been a great learning experience for me and I am grateful for all of the interest I have received, but the relationship I have developed with the staff at Columbia has been a major factor in my decision. I am excited to have a successful final season in the UK with Ipswich before heading over to the States.”.
Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane said “The recruitment process for Susannah has been incredibly unique, we were able to draw on the experience of working with other top-level prospects from our programme, but of course when you add in the COVID factor, it’s added another layer to consider. No visits, no face to face meetings, so a lot more late night phone calls and coversations with staff from the other side of the world. It is no surprise that Susannah has been in such high demand, she is one of the most exciting prospects not only in our programme, but in the whole country and Columbia are getting a player with genuine next level potential. I am incredibly proud of Susannah, as is everyone in Ipswich and we are all excited to see her perform in her final season with us before her next step”.
Susannah was part of the WNBL Playoff Final victory, with a huge performance off the bench (Photo: Pavel Kricka)
Susannah will play her final season with Ipswich in 2021/22 season, the programme that she has been a huge part of since she started playing the sport in Primary School. The youngster will be expected to play a much bigger role with both the academy and senior women in 21/22 with so many players moving on, either to play at University or professionally.
A personal message from Susannah:
“I would like to say a massive thank you for all the Universities that put their time and effort into recruiting me and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities presented to me. I would also like to thank all the coaches that have invested in my development over the years, in particular Coach Drane, Coach Robinson, Coach Welham and Coach Rigby. I am forever grateful for all your guidance and the countless hours sacrificed.
I would also like to thank Dan Bowmaker and everybody at Bluestar, who have given some fantastic opportunities and helped me prepare for this.
Lastly, I would like to thank my family, teammates and friends that have supported me throughout this process and for their endless belief in me”.