Former Maryland center Jenna Staiti will transfer to Georgia, she announced in a Tweet Sunday.
— Jenna Staiti (@jenna_staiti) May 8, 2017
Staiti, along with guard Destiny Slocum and forward Kiah Gillespie, announced April that she is transferring out of the program. The Georgia native was part of head coach Brenda Frese’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class last season. She was the No. 15 overall player in the class of 2016 and the second-ranked center in her class.
“I just think Georgia fits everything that I was looking for in a school,” Staiti said. “The basketball is awesome, and representing my home state is something I can take pride in.”
The 6-foot-6 post presence appeared in 25 games for the Terps, but averaged only 5.6 minutes per game. She scored three points and two rebounds per game in her only season in College Park. However, Staiti’s original ranking out of high school and potential shown in practice and limited games gives confidence to her and those around her.
“Jenna Staiti is a tremendous teammate, who has barely cracked the surface for her potential,” Gillespie said. “She has all the tools and resources to become premier player at the college level. I am very excited as to what is ahead of her.”
Staiti, who attended West Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia, mentioned Maryland’s distance from home as one of her reasons for being one of the three players to leave the program this spring.
“I have made a decision, due to personal family issues, that being closer to home is in the best interests of our family,” Staiti said in an April 4 press release. Cumming is less than 60 miles from the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens.
The former Terps center will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but she will have three years of eligibility at Georgia starting in the 2018-19 season. Staiti will join a Georgia team that finished 16-15 overall and 7-9 in the SEC this season.
She will also become eligible for the Bulldogs at the perfect time. Forward Mackenzie Engram, who averaged 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season, will be graduating after the 2017-18 season, leaving a vacancy inside for Staiti to fill.
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