Haley Lorenzen is heading south after high school. The City High girls basketball standout picked Florida over Christmas break.
“It is somewhere I can be my own independent person,” Lorenzen said. “It’s so different. And I like the coaches and the people down there.”
She joins the 2014 class for coach Amanda Butler and the Gators, who are 11-4 this season.
Lorenzen said she was in Gainesville, Fla., to watch them beat Holy Cross 81-50 on Dec. 28 and told the coaches after the shootaround.
Lorenzen was spending part of Christmas break with family in Florida.
“It would’ve been hard with no family down there,” Lorenzen aid. “I’m a family-oriented person and need to have family somewhere nearby.”
Lorenzen, who also took unofficial visits to Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Northwestern, said she was very impressed by Florida’s interior design school, ranked No. 3 in the country.
“Some of the other schools had that option but were not rated that high,” Lorenzen said.
Lorenzen is averaging 17.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season for the Little Hawks. She also has 22 blocks, 33 assists and 11 steals in 12 games.
City coach Bill McTaggart is happy his junior has squared away her college choice.
“It’s kind of a relief off her shoulders,” McTaggart said. “She doesn’t have to be worrying about what she’s going to be doing next year.”
McTaggart has seen the stress of a college choice in the past with former Little Hawks Kelly Krei and Virginia Johnson.
“I’ve always noticed they play better once they make up their mind,” McTaggart said.
“It is a big relief,” Lorenzen said. “You can focus in on what they want you to get better on, focus in on school, and also getting better for preparing for state, hopefully.”
The 6-foot-3 junior said she would probably play power forward for the Gators. “But they want to work with me on doing more ballhandling, get in that small forward spot,” she said.
The daughter of a former Iowa basketball and a former Hawkeye field hockey player, Lorenzen said her parents didn’t push her.
“They were really open,” Lorenzen said. “They wanted me to be happy, to go where I could improve myself.”