FAIRFIELD — Nia Irving, a rising senior on the Lawrence High girls basketball team, has verbally committed to Boston University on a full scholarship.

“I’m so excited,” Irving said by phone Monday. “It’s funny because this is a school since I was in sixth grade I fell in love with. It’s just funny six years later I’m going to be at this school.”

A 6-foot-1 center, Irving helped lead her high school team to a 50-43 victory over Thornton Academy in the Class A state championship last winter. She averaged 22.5 points and 14 rebounds per game, and was named the Maine 2014-15 Gatorade High School Player of the Year as a junior despite being less than a year removed from knee surgery.

“She’s as good as I’ve seen,” said Matt Hancock, Irving’s AAU Maine Maniacs coach. “She got a raw deal last year where we were just coming into the height of her AAU season and she had her knee injury in late May. It sidelined her but it didn’t sideline her spirit.

“What she did post recovery in a short period of time, leading her high school team to a championship — nothing she does surprises me. It’s just a testament to who she is.”

Irving also had scholarship offers from the University of Maine, Navy and the University of New Hampshire. She had also made visits to Fairfield and Vermont before deciding on becoming a Terrier.

Irving said her commitment to BU came together quickly. She received a scholarship offer either “Wednesday or Thursday” of last week, and was on campus Monday for a tour with head coach Katy Steding and assistant coaches Cindy Blodgett — a Lawrence graduate and Maine’s all-time leading scorer in high school basketball — and Stephanie Tobey. Irving said it was shortly after a slide-show presentation that she knew the school was right for her.

“I just fell in love with the campus. All the people we met were so welcoming,” said Irving. “I said, ‘this is it. I know this is where I want to go.'”

If this spring has been any indication, Irving’s best may still be yet to come, Hancock said.

“She’s been absolutely killing the AAU circuit this summer,” Hancock said. “She’s the best player we’ve seen.”

Hancock cited a recent game against the Mass Rivals in a tournament in Albany, New York in which she put up “28 points and over 20 rebounds” despite giving up a couple inches in height to her opposition.

“Great players don’t have a problem being undersized,” Hancock said. “She understands how to play off contact and she’s as strong as they come.”

Already well-known for her skills in the post and ability to knock down free throws, Irving has worked to polish her outside game as well to make her that much more of a threat at the offensive end. The Bulldogs will certainly need Irving to be at the top of her game this winter, as they look to replace three starters in Paige Belanger, Abby Weigang and Jordyn Towers.

“She alone can take it to the next level and hopefully she will,” Lawrence coach John Donato said of Irving. “She has for three years, why stop her now?”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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