McNary point guard Leah Doutt will be forgoing a chance to play her senior year with the Celtics and instead will be enrolling early at Southern Virginia University. She plans to join the school’s women’s basketball team next month (File).
After a successful three-year stint with the McNary girls’ basketball squad, Leah Doutt announced last week that she will be continuing her education and basketball career at Southern Virginia University, a Division III school in Buena Vista, Va.
Doutt had garnered interest from schools such as Northwest Nazarene, Linfield, George Fox, Pacific Lutheran and Arizona Christian, but ultimately decided on attending Southern Virginia. She plans to double major in business and politics
“I am so excited. I have wanted to compete at the next level for a long time. I am so stoked,” Doutt said.
Despite missing eight games last season, Doutt was still a first-team all-Mountain Valley Conference selection last season as a junior after leading her team in scoring and assists. She was a second-team all-conference selection the year prior.
“Leah has been a critical part of this team ever since her freshman year. She has amazing court vision and is a great passer. She shoots the ball really well and is one of our best defenders,” McNary girls’ basketball coach Elizabeth Doran said.
Doutt first heard about the school from Gretchen Olsen, a former South Salem player who is entering her freshman year at Southern Virginia. One of the reasons that Southern Virginia first appealed to Doutt was because the school is aligned with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Doutt is a devout Mormon.
“My religion is really important to me,” Doutt said.
When she first took her official visit to Southern Virginia last month, Doutt knew that this was the place she wanted to be.
“I could tell that the atmosphere and culture at the school was really special. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” Doutt said. “The team clicks together really well and the coaches are awesome.”
Doutt has been participating in workouts with the McNary girls’ basketball team over the offseason. However, with the season in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Doutt has elected to graduate this month, join the Southern Virginia team in December and begin her college studies in January.
“It was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Doutt said. “When the coaches encouraged me to enroll early and come for this season, I felt like I needed to go for it.”
If Southern Virginia has a modified season this winter, Doutt’s eligibility won’t be affected if she receives playing time. However, even though she will be considerably younger than her teammates, Doutt still plans on having an impact on the squad this season.
“I want to contribute as much as I can to the team. I’m going there to work as hard as I can,” Doutt said.
“Leah has a lot of upside. She is going to be very successful in college. I think she is going to step in and receive playing time right away,” Doran added.
Doutt is disappointed to be missing her senior season, but is looking forward to entering life as a collegiate student-athlete.
“It kind of sucks to end it this way but I am super grateful for my teammates who are my best friends and my coach who has really helped me grow as a player and a person,” Doutt said. “I am sad to leave but I am excited for the next chapter.”