When I asked Diamond Johnson about Arella Guirantes returning for one more season at Rutgers, she couldn’t contain her excitement.
On the day of the deadline to declare for the WNBA Draft, Guirantes said it became clear that she had unfinished business and wanted to return for her last year of eligibility.
Big Ten @B1GWBBall media day: @RutgersWBB coach C. Vivian Stringer on Arella Guirantes, last season's Big Ten scoring leader: "She feels like she has unfinished business…she's coming back with a vengeance." Her mindset: "I want to be the best player that's ever been at Rutgers"
— Hoopfeed.com 🏀 (@hoopfeed) November 13, 2020
Diamond Johnson, the two-time Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year, was placed on the watch list for the Nancy Lieberman award this season which goes to the nation’s top point guard.
Guirantes, the conference’s leading scorer from last season (20 PPG), was named preseason Co-Big Ten Player of the Year.
“I don’t know about the co”, admitted Arella, but she knows how lethal things can be playing with Diamond:
— Martin S. (@marsoaries) November 14, 2020
“I see the whole floor opening up because you can’t double team two unguardable players…. I’m excited for Diamond. We played pick-up with each other a couple of times and we got a great flow. It’s just like I let you work, you let me work.”
Arella spent time talking about her returning teammates as well, saying she’s “blown away by the progression of Zippy Broughton. She had high praise for her fellow returning starters Tekia Mack and Mael Giles as well.
The word “dangerous” came up when I asked Diamond about getting to play with Arella this year. Arella used that same word in describing how things could be as this group continues to develop their chemistry.
Arella cited that Rutgers might have gotten together on campus later than anyone else in the Big Ten due to the pandemic. All programs have had to manage on their own timetables with teams trying to prepare for an altered season.
There seems to be genuine fun, excitement, and anticipation for this group internally. Certainly, this could be one of Coach Stringer’s most talented teams top to bottom.