Howard rising senior Gabby Kennerly entered this AAU season without any college offers.
However, the 2021-22 Howard County Times girls basketball Player of the Year didn’t feel a sense of pressure. Playing for Team Thrill based out of Baltimore, Kennerly began receiving interest from college coaches as the AAU season progressed.
In late June, Kennerly attended a camp at Mount St. Mary’s. While there, she was invited by a member of the coaching staff to return to campus for a visit. There, Kennerly received an offer, and she remained in contact with the program as members of the Mountaineers staff attended her AAU games. On Monday, Kennerly announced her commitment to the program.
“I think the community of the school,” Kennerly said of what attracted her to the program. “Every person that I met at the school was extremely nice. I got a chance to meet the dean, the whole basketball team. The first time I met them, they were extremely nice and they treated me as if I was on the team. That was before I even had an offer from the school. I just feel like it fits me. It’s a nice place. It’s in the mountains and it’s very beautiful. My parents love it and I love it.”
The Mountaineers won back-to-back Northeast Conference Tournament titles, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons. Starting this season, Mount St. Mary’s is moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Kennerly played an integral part in the Lions’ undefeated regular season and Class 3A state runner-up finish. She was the team’s leading scorer averaging 14.8 points per game, and was efficient from behind the arc, shooting 37.7%.
“I think that I can bring a lot of energy first and foremost on the floor” Kennerly said. “I have a deep passion for the game. Also my passing ability I think is huge. I can score and when you can score, it brings defenses close to you, they help a little more and I feel like I can find the open person. I love to be creative playing basketball; I love flashy passes and all of that. I’m just bringing hopefully the hype to the court with them.”
Howard Coach Scott Robinson was well aware of Kennerly’s talent before she arrived at Howard. After receiving an email from Gabby’s father when she was in seventh grade, Robinson consistently watched her and teammate Samiyah Nasir play every weekend. Now six years later, she joins a strong group of recent Howard players that have committed to play at Division I programs, including her former teammate Gabby Scott who’s entering her freshman season at Towson.
“I was extremely happy for Gabby because she’s a tireless worker and she’s worked so hard,” Robinson said. “Her work ethic is impeccable. She’s always calling myself or my assistant Ryan to get into the gym to shoot. She’s a gym rat and I’m just happy for her that all of her hard work has paid off.
“It’s gone by quickly when you think about it. It’s been a six-year journey knowing her that culminates going into her senior year with her being able to get a Division I basketball scholarship. Her parents are wonderful people and knowing that their college is going to be paid for, for free, I’m just happy for the entire Kennerly family because they deserve this. They’re good people.”
Entering her senior season, Kennerly is looking to build on the Lions’ success from last season. With the pressure of choosing a college behind her, she enters her final high school season stress-free.
“I picked a great school,” Kennerly said. “They’re excited for me, I love the girls and I’m really excited to play there. I’m going into the season with absolutely no stress. All I have to do is register for school, but it’s my dreams coming true, actually playing Division I. People have told me my whole life that I have the Capability to be a Division I player and I can say I lived up to it. I’m extremely proud of myself.”