On the basketball court, there is no hesitation from Anne Bair.
The Gettysburg junior sees the game unfold in her mind, anticipating passing lanes, rebound angles, narrow windows for open shots. From the opening tip to the final horn, she is in attack mode, fully confident in her decision-making abilities as plays materialize around her.
It comes as little surprise then, that Anne opted against delaying her decision in regard to what institution she would attend following high school. She assessed the information she and her family had gathered, considered relationships built with coaching staffs, and just like a game, was able to see how the pieces of her future would fit together.
And without hesitation, Anne has decided to attend Manhattan College in New York, where she will study and play NCAA Division I basketball on a full scholarship.
“I’ve talked so much with their coaching staff and team and I felt like this was a family I wanted to be a part of,” said Anne on Monday afternoon. “I weighed the options of waiting, but for me this is the right fit and I was ready to make the decision.”
In Bair, Manhattan is getting a dynamic point guard that relishes distributing the ball and playing lock-down defense as much, if not more, than scoring. She recently set the Gettysburg program record for career assists — breaking the mark held by her older sister, Ellen Bair — and is a constant threat to steal the ball from opposing guards.
Anne is plenty capable of scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game this season, second-most among Adams County players. She stands at 824 career points with a full season left to play following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.
“The game has dramatically changed over the last 15 years,” said Jeff Bair, Anne’s father and Gettysburg’s head coach. “Anne is kind of a throwback in terms of passing and defense being her most special skills.”
Anne’s heady play comes naturally as part of a basketball-crazed family that includes brother Sean, who is an assistant for the Penn State University women’s team, and Ellen, who is the head coach at Linden Hall School for Girls.
“This is very much a family celebration,” said Jeff of Anne receiving a Division I scholarship. “It’s been really good for all of us. Looking at family pictures and things like that, it’s hard to find many without a basketball.”
Part of the process for Anne was finding another basketball family she could join after high school. In Manhattan, she believes she’s done just that.
“The Manhattan staff did an incredible job getting to know me and my family,” she said. “We built great relationships with them and they helped me learn about their program, academics, the city and style of play – they did everything they could to help me learn.”
Collegiate recruiting during a pandemic has been challenging, with more Zoom calls than personal visits, but Anne was able to tour the campus in the fall. She was impressed with the school’s commitment to community service and wide-ranging internship possibilities. Although she hasn’t determined a major just yet, she has interest in fields that include political science, psychology and education.
“I’m all over the place,” she said, laughing. “I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I want to do something where I’m making a difference in the community and helping others. The school is in the Bronx, just a few train stops from Times Square, but when I stepped on campus I saw green grass, so it’s a great mix of both. I’ll have all the opportunities that are in the city and will be challenged in a different environment.”
Manhattan plays in the Metro Athletic Conference under the direction of head coach Heather Vulin, who is in her fifth season at the school. The Jaspers were 15-14 overall last year, 12-8 in conference play. Their roster is loaded with New York standouts but has an international flavor with players from Finland, Greece and Nigeria. A pair of 6-foot, 2-inch forwards from Croatia are part of this year’s recruiting class as well.
After making her decision public on Sunday, Anne spent most of the day on the telephone with coaches from schools who had been recruiting her. She had been in contact with a dozen additional Division 1 schools, including MAC member Siena which also offered a full ride.
“It was really important to me to reach out and talk to them, and thank them,” said Anne. “Everyone said they were excited for me and that I could reach out to them at any time. They said they’d be rooting for me, except if I was playing against them. That was my favorite part of recruiting – the relationships I’ve built. I’m super grateful to all the schools that took an interest in me.”
Anne said she’s been able to watch the Jaspers play and sees herself as an ideal fit with their style of play.
“It’s been awesome to watch some of their games, it’s so similar,” she said. “It’s been cool to imagine myself in their program. They get after it defensively and I’m focused on the defensive end to get stops. When they rebound their guards like to push tempo and get up and down the floor. I like playing in the open floor and playing fast.”
With one of the biggest decisions of her young life behind her, Anne can pour all of her attention and tireless work ethic into leading Gettysburg to another gold medal.
“Anne loves this game,” said Jeff. “She strives to continue to improve in all facets of the game. While there remains much to do and achieve at Gettysburg High, this decision provides clarity to her future and allows her to focus on her time remaining at Gettysburg. It also allows her to begin to communicate more regularly with her future teammates and coaches.”