It has been nearly a year since Sydney Jaynes learned she was a genuine NCAA Division I basketball prospect, yet it took until Saturday for her to confirm her landing spot.
Jaynes, the 6-foot-3 Trinity Lutheran star, chose Butler University from among a dozen offers to continue her post-high school career after she and her teammates returning from a 24-4 team take another run at the state Class A title next winter.
“This was a huge decision for me,” said Jaynes, who finalized her commitment over the weekend. “I wanted to stay close to home so my family could watch me play. I feel great about it.”
Jaynes averaged 15.8 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists this past season as a junior.
Coach Mike Lang said Jaynes represents the first Division I player signed from Trinity.
“It’s a big day for her, a big day for me and a big day for the school,” he said. “We are really excited. It’s neat for us. It’s the first Division I basketball player we’ve had.”
Jaynes said last summer after an AAU tournament, she received her first offer, from Murray State of Kentucky.
“I’ll never forget,” Jaynes said. “It was a coach I had seen a million times in the stands.”
The reaction at Jaynes’ house after she got off the phone and realized her dream of going from the smallest Indiana basketball classification to the highest level of college ball could come true was emotional.
“We broke into tears,” she said. “The offer was such an honor.”
Within a week, Jaynes had additional opportunities open up from two other colleges.
“It was crazy exciting,” Jaynes said.
She just kept getting more popular, sifting through a dozen firm offers, including Bradley and Miami of Ohio, and other contacts from coaches who wanted to get to know her better.
The next closest-to-home school to make an offer was Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Originally, Jaynes was going to ponder longer in making her decision. But the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the normal recruiting process and Jaynes decided Saturday was the right time to commit.
“I’m happy to be a Bulldog,” Jaynes said. “I’m very proud.”
At Butler, where Jaynes plans to major in business, Lang thinks she may gravitate to being a “stretch forward” and not a center as many expect.
“She is the best passer for her size I’ve seen,” Lang said. “She’s kind of a do-it-all player. Syd is able to bring the ball downcourt.”
Most of Trinity Lutheran’s regional state tournament team returns for the 2020-21 season and there is a strong feeling of optimism about what that squad can accomplish.
“We’ve got another year,” Lang said.
A season Jaynes said could produce large dividends for the Cougars.
“I have higher expectations than last year,” Jaynes said.