Even as a 3-year old Tierney Pfirman displayed great basketball skills. The first time this South Williamsport standout picked up a basketball she already was demonstrating proper shooting technique.
Ever since then, Pfirman has dreamed of playing college basketball.
A little less than two years from now that dream becomes reality. Sunday, Pfirman, one of the nation's most heavily-recruited juniors, verbally committed to play basketball at Maryland starting in late fall of 2012. The two-time all-state selection will join a national power that captured the 2006 NCAA championship and is currently the country's 10th-ranked team.
"Ever since I was little all I ever wanted to do was play college basketball," Pfirman said. "To have committed to Maryland is a dream come true and it's pretty amazing."
Pfirman visited Maryland's campus last weekend, spending Saturday with the players and watching the Terrapins thump North Carolina Sunday. Before she and her parents left, Pfirman let Frese know she would be playing there in 2012.
Pfirman selected Maryland after also strongly considering Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Florida and North Carolina State. Ultimately, it came down to Rutgers and Maryland. Pfirman said the blend of a family-like atmosphere, a beautiful campus and the ability for her friends and family to be able to watch her play were the deciding factors.
"After meeting with the coaching staff, I had a great rapport with them and felt comfortable with them and you can talk about anything with them," Pfirman said. "They are very organized and professional. They think highly of me and they think I have much more to come if they work with me the right way. They want to further my basketball career and knowing how the team is and what they can do with me, I feel it's a great program to be in."
The three-year starter already has scored more than 1,500 career points while leading South to a district title and two conference championships as well as a 62-7 record. South currently is 17-2 and Pfirman's 29.7 points per game is tied for 10th in the country, according to Maxpreps.com.
Still, it was what Pfirman did outside of South that especially made her one of the nation's premier recruits. Last summer, the 6-foot guard dazzled while playing with and against elite athletes in the Philadelphia AAU league. Pfirman frequently played in front of numerous Division I coaches and routinely had high-scoring games while also displaying the tremendous vision, passing and range that has made her one of the state's best players since 2008.
Pfirman's life had pretty much been a whirlwind since last summer. She has been bombarded by emails and calls since Sept. 1. A model student athlete who also has excelled in soccer, softball and track and field while being as polite off the court as she is talented on it, Pfirman responded to each of those inquiries before narrowing her choices to about 15 schools in November.
Now that Pfirman knows where her future lies, she can concentrate solely on enjoying her final two seasons.
"Tierney has always had a pretty level head, but I think it has to take a toll with all the people coming to watch you. It's always something in the back of your mind that maybe you have to do a little more than normal because of who's watching, but she's handled everything well," South coach Mike Allison said. "Knowing how she's developed from junior high and the last few years at the high school level and now knowing this is happening, it's something I'll look back on years down the road and know it was a special time here having her come through."
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese was one of many coaches who came to watch Pfirman play this season. Most times, it was assistants from big-time programs who came to South, but it meant a lot to Pfirman that Frese personally watched her play last December against Lewisburg.
Frese has revived three programs during a fantastic coaching career, was the 2002 National Coach of the Year and has led Maryland to three Elite 8 appearances in the last five seasons while also fielding one of the country's top 15 recruiting classes the last eight years. Even more impressive than that might be her timing.
That night, Frese watched Pfirman score a career-high 38 points while adding 13 rebounds and four steals as South won, 64-45. Pfirman called Frese later that night to thank her for coming to and it was then that Frese paid her the ultimate compliment.
"She told me that 'I had never seen you play and had only heard from my assistants about you, but now that I have seen you play I'm offering you a scholarship,'" Pfirman said. "I had never so happy in my life when she said that. My mom said I was so happy she thought I was going to commit right there."
Instead she waited two months. But now both Maryland and Pfirman have what they wanted. Maryland has a great player and person coming to play and Pfirman enters a terrific program and school, knowing that her tight-knit family is only three and a half hours away. It's an ideal fit too since Maryland consistently is one of the country's highest-scoring teams and plays a style that perfectly fits her.
The life-long dream is becoming a reality and Pfirman could not be happier.
"They play as a team and win as a team," she said. "They are very hard-working and dedicated and unselfish.
"I can't wait to be a part of the Maryland basketball family."