Marist women add 'relentless' rebounder for 2017

Junior Gabi Redden (25) will help lead Rutgers Prep against defending champ Manasquan in Friday's TOC semifinals

Junior Gabi Redden (25) will help lead Rutgers Prep against defending champ Manasquan in Friday’s TOC semifinals

Gabi Redden visited Marist College on Oct. 8.

It was the third time she had seen the Poughkeepsie campus for herself. And as the saying goes, the third time was the charm for the senior center from Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey.

The 18-year-old from Franklin Township, New Jersey, whose coach praises her nose for rebounding, confirmed on Saturday that she verbally committed to play basketball for the Marist College women’s basketball team.

“They were in my recruiting process from the get-go,” Redden said of the Red Foxes. “As a player, they watched me blossom and believed in me from the gate. And I love the campus. It’s beautiful. The Hudson (River). My gosh, I love it!”

Although she received other Division I offers, the 6-foot-1 Redden said she knew “Marist was the place for her” and it would become her “second home.”

Redden becomes the latest 6-footer confirmed to join the 2017-18 Red Foxes roster, including Alana Gilmer, a 6-foot transfer from Virginia Tech currently sitting out a year in accordance with the NCAA’s residency rules, and Willow Duffell, a 6-foot-2 senior forward from Monroe-Woodbury High School, who verbally committed in August.

Under NCAA regulations, schools cannot comment on recruits until he or she has signed a National Letter of Intent.

Redden helped Rutgers Prep win the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public B championship in March, beating Saddle River Day School 69-40.

In the final, Redden scored 17 points and added five rebounds. Rutgers Prep moved on to the state’s Tournament of Champions, but lost 59-50 to Manasquan.

“She’s a dominating force inside,” said Mary Klinger, the Rutgers Prep girls basketball coach. “In all my years coaching, I’ve never seen a kid rebound like her. She’s relentless on the boards.”

Klinger also lauded Redden’s college choice. The coach said she believes her pupil will adapt easily to the college game under the guidance of Marist coach Brian Giorgis.

“Under Brian’s tutelage,” Klinger said, “she’ll do really well. It’s a great choice for her. (Giorgis) will bring out the best in her.”

In addition to the three 6-footers slated to join the active roster in fall 2017, 6-foot-1 freshman Molly Smith joined the team this fall, helping to replenish a depleted frontcourt. Sixth-year center Tori Jarosz, the 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year, finished her career last spring, as did 6-foot wing Sydney Coffey, the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer. Three frontcourt players transferred out of the school in spring 2015.

Marist finished last season 16-16, losing to Iona in the MAAC semifinals to miss the postseason for the first time since 2005. The team begins its 2016-17 campaign on Nov. 11 at Hofstra.

A.J. Martelli:, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports