The University of Vermont women’s basketball program continues to mine Maine for its best talent.

Kayla Burchill, the versatile senior guard/forward at Deering High in Portland, has verbally committed to play for the Catamounts and their first-year coach, Lori Gear McBride.

She joins Nicole Taylor of York – last year’s Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and Maine Sunday Telegram Most Valuable Player – who also verbally committed to Vermont.

“I went for my official visit last weekend and loved everything about it,” said Burchill, an All-State performer last year who averaged 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds. “I loved hanging out with the girls and the coaches. I loved the location. The campus is beautiful.”

Burchill was recruited by Maine, and also Rhode Island, Wichita State, Boston University and New Hampshire. All of them, said Deering Coach Mike Murphy, saw the same thing.

“She’s a kid who can fill the basket up, and there aren’t too many kids who can do that,” said Murphy. “They were all after her for the same reason – she can score. You look at what she does best, and that’s it.”

At 6 feet, Burchill is big enough to play inside but is extremely versatile. She handles the ball well and is a dead-eye 3-point shooter.

“Now I have to work on driving to the hoop and shooting off the dribble,” said Burchill.

She’s glad to join Taylor at Vermont. They are teammates on the New England Crusaders AAU team out of Nashua, N.H.

“Playing on the Crusaders helped me so much,” said Burchill. “I went against some of the top competition in the nation.”

Gear McBride was familiar with Burchill after recruiting Diana Manduca to play at Colby, where she was the coach until accepting the Vermont job. “She knows Kayla’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Murphy.

Burchill is just glad the decision was made before the high school season. Deering won the state Class A championship her freshman and sophomore seasons, then lost in the regional final last year.

“I don’t have to worry,” she said. “I now know where I’m going and I hope we can just go out and have some fun. Hopefully we’ll get another state championship.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: mlowe@pressherald.com