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Marietta guard Chloe Sterling prepares to shoot a free throw during a game earlier this season in Georgia.

When Derrick DeWitt first saw video of Chloe Sterling playing basketball, he knew she was special right away.

On the tape, Sterling did something DeWitt had never seen a high school player do. The point guard passed the ball from the wide sideline to the opposite corner with ease. It shocked him, but he knew this was a player that could turn his team into a state championship contender.

Sterling’s film was from more than 6,000 miles away in Japan, where she lived for nine years while her father worked on a U.S. military base, before moving to Marietta, Georgia. When she moved back to the U.S in the summer of 2020, she joined DeWitt’s team at Marietta High School.

Before Sterling moved to Georgia, she and her new teammates had time to bond through Zoom. When she first stepped foot in the gym, she “torched” a couple of Marietta’s all-state caliber players, according to DeWitt.

“She’s a wizard with the basketball,” DeWitt said of Sterling, who committed to play at James Madison late Tuesday.

Sterling led the Blue Devils to the 2021 7A state title in her first season back in Georgia, averaging 16.3 points during the regular season and averaging 23 points during the playoffs. This season has been no different with Sterling recording multiple 30-plus point performances, including scoring 32 points in a 57-51 win on Tuesday.

“It’s personal every time I get on the court because all that hard work isn’t for nothing,” Sterling said of her approach on the court. “I need to show what I got and really play hard.”

It’s not just scoring that Sterling can do well, but she can also pass the ball extremely well. According to DeWitt, she prefers to share the ball.

“She prefers to make the flashy pass rather than make the flashy basket,” DeWitt said. “At times, on our team we need her to do both … I told her last year not to slow down for anybody, make the right basketball play, whether that’s for you or somebody else.”

Growing up, Sterling played all five positions on the court, which she said helped her become a better point guard since she understood the responsibilities of the other players on the floor.

In Japan, Sterling played on both girls basketball teams and boys basketball teams. When a girls team wasn’t available, she didn’t let that stop her, playing alongside the boys. She said that helped her grow as a player, especially with the physicality of the boys games.

She worked on her game with her father and siblings while living overseas and looked at living away from the U.S. as an advantage. She wanted to just pop up in high school basketball in the U.S. and shock people.

“Me and my brother would always talk about, ‘I don’t want to go to the states and be another average player.’ I want to go there and them be like ‘Yeah, who is she?’” Sterling recalled.

Well, she did open the eyes of JMU’s coaching staff. But it came by accident, according to Sterling. She said it wasn’t planned to have Dukes assistant coach Samantha Prahalis-Holmes at one of her games, but soon after Prahalis-Holmes saw her play, JMU began recruiting her.

After several texts and phone calls with head coach Sean O’Regan and Prahalis-Holmes, Sterling knew quickly that it would be a good fit.

“He was very transparent,” Sterling said of O’Regan. “I’ve talked to a lot of coaches, but he was one who gave it to me straight.”

O’Regan told Sterling that she was the only point guard he was recruiting in the class of 2022, which stood out to her. She also liked how O’Regan worked and treated his players. Soon enough, she picked the Dukes.

“He treated the players exactly how he told me he operated, so it just seemed like he was a very straight up dude,” Sterling said. “I knew I would be taken care of and that’s what I cared about when I was going to college.”

Dukes Active In Transfer Portal

Sources told the DN-R that Middle Tennessee State sophomore forward Kseniia Kozlova plans to transfer to JMU.

Kozlova, a Moscow, Russia, native played in 20 games last season with the Lady Raiders, including three starts. She averaged 2.1 points in 9.1 minutes per game last season.

Contact Noah Fleischman at nfleischman@dnronline.com | Follow Noah on Twitter: @fleischman_noah

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