By Brian Bateman
Greenhill School has seen several future professional and college athletes walk through its doors, but this year, the Hornets witnessed a first on national signing day.
Hayley Isenberg committed to play for Harvard, making her the first female in school history to play basketball for a Division-I school.
“I always wanted to go to a good academic school,” Isenberg said. “Basketball is very important to me.”
She was just as important to Greenhill’s basketball team. The 6-foot-2 forward was named the school’s MVP for the past two seasons and earned first-team all-conference honors in the Southwest Preparatory Conference, as well as first-team status on the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ large private-school list. That’s after earning the TABC player of the year award in 2013-14.
“She’s a phenomenal talent, but what sets her apart from talented basketball players is that she is a phenomenal leader that always puts team before herself,” Greenhill coach Darryn Sandler said.
In her time as a Hornet, Isenberg set records in single-season blocks (111) and charges taken (36), and became the first Greenhill player to score more than 1,000 points and pull down 1,000 rebounds in a career, according to Sandler.
She finished with 1,253 points and 1,002 rebounds.
Isenberg, who attends Congregation Shearith Israel, led the Hornets to a 23-3 regular-season record and a top seed in the SPC Winter Championships. They finished 25-5 overall.
“We’ll definitely miss what she does on the court, but it’s the little things that will be difficult to replace,” Sandler said.
Harvard went 14-14 and 7-7 in the Ivy League last year, ending the season on a four-game winning streak. Isenberg hopes she’ll have a chance to help improve upon that record right away. Her 6-2 frame allows her to play in the post on occasion and her 3-point ability makes her a threat from outside.
With no other forwards recruited alongside her this season, Isenberg will have only the depth chart keeping her from playing time.
Isenberg said she liked the program — “It felt like a family,” she said — but was incredibly impressed with how honest coach Kathy Delaney-Smith was.
“She was extremely honest. A lot of times you don’t get an honest coach in college.”
Isenberg chose Harvard over Yale, Penn, Columbia and Division-III schools Washington, Amherst and Emory. Ivy League schools do not require athletes to sign national letters of intent.
Her last high school game will come May 21. She’s been invited to play in the TABC all-state game in San Antonio that day.