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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 70 BY KYLE CHARTERS A s a 14-year-old eighth grader, Rickie Woltman walked in to her gym, coach by her side, think- ing she was preparing for a workout like it was any other day. It wasn't. Coach instead had a surprise, telling Woltman, who is now a 6-foot-2 junior forward at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis and a Purdue commitment, that ESPN had ranked her the No. 1 forward in the country among prospects in the 2019 class and fourth overall. Not only that, but a reporter was there to write her story, making it a big blowout about one of the best middle schoolers in the nation. "It caught me by complete surprise," Woltman said. "At the time, I don't think I even knew that players were ranked in general, even in high school." But they were, and Woltman was the best, per scouts at ESPN, who had come out to at least a couple of her AAU games. Then, they saw a long, tall athletic forward who could develop as a versatile face-up 4 or as a post-up 5. Even though it was a shock to be noticed at all, Woltman didn't shy away from the recognition. "It's a good feeling," she said. "It gives you validation, that you have worked really, really hard and it's paid off and you get recognition for it. But in a way, I wouldn't say, 'Oh, well I'm ranked this and someone is ranked this, so I'm better than them. Or this person isn't even ranked, so they can't be that good.' "There are so many people who play basketball and can be really, really, really good and they could just not be in the right place at the right time and a scout would never have seen them. No one would know they're ranked. A ranking says something, but at the same time, it doesn't say everything." Woltman's play speaks, as well. Although she's dropped One Of The Best St. Louis commitment is one of best forwards in the country Women's Basketball Recruiting It'll be a couple years, but Rickie Woltman could fill a big void for Purdue, which needs an impact power forward. She is averaging about 10 points and six rebounds this season.

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