One year can make a world of difference; just ask Trinity High School girls basketball player Riley DeRubbo.
DeRubbo crashed to the floor in an AAU game in Kansas, tore her ACL and underwent surgery last July.
On Wednesday afternoon, the rising senior, who is fully recovered from what could have been a career-threatening injury, orally committed to play at Fordham University following her senior year.
“I did not think I would be where I am right now,” DeRubbo said. “I didn’t think I would be able to play at a school this great after tearing my knee. I’m going to a great program, a winning program. I couldn’t be happier.”
DeRubbo’s injury sidelined her for most of the 2018-19 season. She played in the final seven games for Trinity, which made the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
As a sophomore, DeRubbo averaged 17.1 points per game and just under five rebounds and five assists to be named to the Observer-Reporter All-District First Team. She played a big role as a starter her freshman season at Trinity when it became the first Washington County girls basketball team to play for a state championship.
Much of her junior year consisted of recovering and rehabbing, a process she admitted was “one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through.”
“I haven’t felt better,” DeRubbo said about her current health. “I feel like I’m even better than I was before my knee injury. The knee I hurt even feels better than the other one. I am stronger and faster. Everything feels great.”
Fordham first showed interest in the 5-9 guard in late May before she visited the Bronx, N.Y., campus in early June. The Rams, the defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion, went 25-9 last season.
DeRubbo said her mother, Jina, the women’s basketball coach at Washington & Jefferson, also helped her in the decision making.
“She has been great through all of this,” Riley DeRubbo said. “It makes it much easier on me. Recruiting is her job. She does it every day. She thought I would fit well into their system, which is to play fast and push the ball.”
DeRubbo also was considering Duquesne and Saint Francis.
“I fell in love with it when I visited,” she said. “It always was my top choice. I tried comparing other schools but they just couldn’t (compare).”