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November 21, 2012Basketball didn't come naturally to Schuyler Rimmer. Unlike some of his fellow high-major signees, it took Rimmer, a member of Stanford's 2013 basketball recruiting class, a few years to get the hang of the sport.
"Before I started getting recruited I really didn't think I would actually be able to play college basketball," Rimmer said. "When I first started playing basketball in like sixth grade, that's when I started playing seriously, I was tall but I was really clumsy and I was kind of goofy. I wasn't very good at all. I played volleyball and soccer and I swam and I thought one of those sports was going to be really where I kind of excelled."
Once Rimmer's body began to mature, however, his basketball talents emerged.
"As I kind of grew into my size and got more coordinated, I got better and it seemed like it was more of an option," Rimmer said. "When I really kind of realized that I'd be able to play in college, it wasn't really until like ninth grade when I started playing against older guys and played really well against them."
Colleges took notice. Over the course of the recruiting process, Rimmer received dozens of offers, including an estimated 35 high-major offers, according to his AAU coach Reggie Tucker.
After narrowing down his extensive list of options, Rimmer initially made a verbal commitment to the home-state Florida Gators in August before re-opening his recruitment in September. According to multiple media reports Florida asked Rimmer to enter the program as a walk-on, which might have prompted him to reconsider his original decision.
"I think the whole Florida situation will be a learning process for me, just really thinking things through before I make big decisions, because that's really what happened," Rimmer said. "I made a decision before I really thought about everything that really would go into, all of the consequences from that decision. I think I'm really just going to take that as a learning process."
Florida's loss was Stanford's gain. The Cardinal was the first school Rimmer contacted after parting ways with the Gators, and was one of four schools (along with USC, Vanderbilt and Virginia) that he ultimately considered.
"It was always definitely one of my top choices," Rimmer said of the Cardinal. "The second time around I really wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. Stanford was actually the first school I called and let know that I was opening my recruiting process back up. But I only contacted four schools and they were the four schools once it got out there that I was back on the market a bunch of schools started contacting me, but I just stuck with the four schools I was looking at."
In a sense, even when he was solidly committed to Florida, the door was never closed on the possibility that Stanford would remain a viable option. Or perhaps more accurately, Rimmer's parents ensured that Stanford was still in the picture.
"I got a (Stanford) application over the summer and even after I committed to Florida I kept it around," Rimmer said. "Or I didn't keep it around, my parents kept it around, and just kind of had it pinned up on the board in my kitchen so I just kind of saw it every day. So when I re-opened my commitment I had most of the pieces to it. I started working on it, finished it in about a week-and-a-half, two weeks. And when I went on my official visit I brought it with me and we turned it in to the admissions office."
Rimmer found out he was admitted about a week after his official visit.
But before making a commitment, Rimmer wanted to be entirely sure of his decision. He followed through on plans to visit Vanderbilt and Virginia before signing day. In the hours before Rimmer announced his decision, speculation ran rampant on the Internet that the Commodores, not the Cardinal, were the team to beat.
"I didn't know that Vanderbilt was what everyone thought was the favorite until somebody was like, 'Oh, yeah on Twitter it says that you're going to commit to Vanderbilt,'" Rimmer said. "One of my friends told me that. And I was like well, I don't know who said that but through the process I really just tried to keep an open mind and especially to the media I didn't want to make it look like I was favoring one school or not so I really just tried to stay kind of neutral. But seeing that stuff online, it didn't really sway my decision at all. It was my decision to make, not anyone else's. "
And so on Thursday, Nov. 8, Rimmer called the Stanford coaches to deliver his verbal commitment. He signed his letter-of-intent with Stanford last Wednesday.
Rimmer said that his decision was motivated primarily by basketball factors.
"The reason I narrowed it down to four schools that I did was because so that way I could really just focus on the basketball aspect of the decision," Rimmer said. "Academically with Vanderbilt, Virginia, Southern Cal and Stanford, there's definitely some separation, but you're still going to go to a top-25 school either way. That really just helped make it a one-dimensional decision. Instead of having to think about am I going to sacrifice academics for basketball, with those four schools you're not going to have to do that."
Rimmer certainly didn't lack for other options.
"I contacted the four schools (after decommitting) and then I started hearing from schools like UCLA, Cal, Notre Dame, Texas, Duke, NC State, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, so I mean I started hearing from a bunch of schools," Rimmer said. "Towards the end I was really just set on Stanford, but hearing from Duke, for me, it was more of just kind of like the culmination of all the hard work I've put in the last four years, hearing from a school like Duke. When I heard from them my mind was kind of set on Stanford, but it was just nice to know that a school like that was recognizing me as a high-caliber player."
Rimmer has the versatility to help Stanford both in the post and on the perimeter.
"They see me playing as a four," Rimmer said. "(I will be) spending some time in the post but also spending some time on the perimeter. I'm really working just trying to expand my game so that way when I do finally get there I'll be ready to contribute."
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