Waterman commits to Buckeyes, but will Westbeld follow?


Photo: Janie Ross

Makayla Waterman (left) has committed to play basketball at Ohio State, but Kathryn Westbeld still has a decision to make.

Makayla Waterman, one-half of Fairmont High School’s famed “Twin Towers,” knows where she’ll play college basketball next year. But Kathryn Westbeld, the other half, is still making up her mind.

Both girls are among the top high school basketball players in the nation. ESPN.com ranks Waterman at 69th and Westbeld at 21st. The seniors helped lead Fairmont to its first state title in 2013 after three years of heartbreak in Columbus, and their new head coach, Lacy Romine, will look to the pair for leadership as they defend their state title and try to add another one.

Both girls were highly recruited by some of the top programs in the country, and Waterman verbally committed to Ohio State on Aug. 21.  Now all eyes are on Westbeld, who says she has narrowed her choices to Ohio State and Notre Dame. “It’s a 50/50 decision right now,” said Westbeld, the leading rebounder a year ago. “I’ve made multiple visits to both.”

In fact, Westbeld has visited many schools, including UConn, Kentucky, Michigan State, Dayton, Xavier and Florida. She has offers from Connecticut, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan State, and a few others. If women’s college basketball isn’t your forte, those schools are a pretty big deal.

Most observers assume that Ohio State is chomping at the bit to land both girls, especially considering their great chemistry on the floor. ESPN writes that Westbeld brings a 6’2” frame with a great inside presence and a blue-collar attitude on the floor. As for Waterman, there seems to be no slowing down for the senior forward. ESPN describes Waterman, also 6’2”, as having great interior footwork and a non-stop defensive motor.

Waterman had visited Purdue, Duke, and Ohio State before settling on being a Buckeye. “I’m really excited to start my career,” said Waterman. “If anything, I’ll play in Europe for a few years after I finish at Ohio State.”

Waterman said family strongly influenced her decision to become a Buckeye. “Ohio State is close to home, and all my relatives can come to the games,” she said.

Waterman’s deceased grandfather even played a role in her choice. “My grandfather used to coach at Ohio State, and he always told me he wanted me to be a Buckeye,” she said. “I really took that into consideration.”

Naturally, Fairmont Head Coach Romine wants to keep Waterman and Westbeld focused on this year’s Firebird team, but she sees a bright future for them. “I think they both will do well at the next level,” said Romine. “They both have an incredible work ethic and know what it means to win.”