The connection between the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Girls Basketball program and Manhattan College grew stronger last week.
Called “irreplaceable” by her coach, Ella Chandler ’24 signed her National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Division I Manhattan during a ceremony in the Athletic Center Nov. 10.
WMA Coach Durelle Brown played for the men’s program at Manhattan, graduating in 2001 before being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Ella, a point guard who helped the Titans reach the New England Class C final last season, plans to major in communications with a concentration in sports broadcasting. The Jaspers are a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Quotes from Ella
On why she chose Manhattan: “As soon as I met the coaching staff, I felt they were absolutely amazing. They were all super supportive. Coach (Heather Vulin) carries her team with such pride, so to go to a program like that for me was really special. And then when I saw the campus, I immediately fell in love with it. The educational opportunities that Manhattan offers…I was in.”
On the WMA program: “Being here definitely helped to get me where I am. The girls I’ve been with the past three years…the constant support, positivity and lovingness of this family and these sisters – there’s nothing like it.”
On signing her NLI: “The buildup was insane. Being here and it being real, seeing my dreams finally coming true, seeing the work pay off, and to have my friends and family here is super special.”
Quotes from Coach Brown
On what Ella means to the WMA program: “Who Ella is is our culture - buying into coaching, buying into doing the hard stuff because the hard stuff is going to help us be successful. Hopefully her legacy will be, ‘What would Ella do?’ Ella always bounces back. She looks us in the eye and takes the criticism. The growth in her is if that used to happen, she would collapse. Now it’s, “Tell me what I have to do to fix it.’”
On Ella signing with Manhattan: “I tried as hard as I could to not make it about me. Through the years Manhattan has recruited (some of our other players). They’ve had nicks at it. For it to be Ella? She was messing with me the other day that I had worn Manhattan stuff 10 days in a row. I never gave her the justification, but it was because she brought the memories back. She made it nostalgic. I always wanted one of my girls to go there.”
On Ella’s recruiting process: “Her recruiting process was crumbling. Every school was that recruiting her, the coach left that staff or they changed directions or a kid before her committed. We had a joke going where I’d ask her what did she do to the basketball gods? For it to be someone who at the (NEPSAC) showcase saw her in person and recruited Ella for Ella? I didn’t have to sell her; I didn’t have to chase anybody down. She earned it on her own.”