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Williamsville South’s Gretchen Dolan commits to play basketball for Illinois

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gretchen Dolan, the high-scoring guard at Williamsville South, has announced her commitment to play college basketball for University of Illinois.

Dolan, who led Section VI in averaging 36.8 points and was an all-state selection in Class A as a junior, will be the second player from Western New York in as many years to join a Big 10 program, following Shay Czieski, a St. Mary’s graduate now at Penn State.

“It’s amazing that another kid from our area is going to the Big 10,” said Quintin Redfern, the coach at Central Christian Academy and a local skills trainer who works with Dolan. “It lets the rest of the country know there are players here who can compete at that level.”

There’s also Dolan’s former Williamsville South teammate Amari DeBerry entering her sophomore season at UConn, one of the premier programs in women’s college basketball, and a member of the Big East.

Dolan will play for Canisius College’s all-time leading scorer Shauna Green (née Geronzin) at Illinois. The three-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection was a Golden Griffin from 1998-2002.

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Gretchen Dolan is returning for her fifth varsity season at Williamsville South, coached by her mother Kristen Dolan, a former Canisius player. The Billies have won eight Section VI titles in nine seasons.

Older brother Greg Dolan, a former New York State Class A Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball finalist in 2018, is a senior captain for Cornell. He will have an additional season of eligibility to use at a different school following graduation from Cornell. Elder sister Hannah Dolan is a sophomore at Canisius. Oldest brother Graham Dolan played for Division III Babson after walking on the University at Buffalo team for the 2016-17 season.

Williamsville South’s Class A championship victory against Hamburg last fall was highlighted by a 52-point performance from Gretchen Dolan. She scored 56 in an early season win against Amherst.

In addition to her prolific scoring, Dolan averaged 8.6 rebounds, 4.8 steals, 4 assists and 2.9 made 3-pointers in her junior season.

“Gretchen is one of the most versatile players that I’ve worked with,” Redfern said. “She can score at all three levels. And she shoots so well on deep 3s, that it’s almost a fourth level.”

Dolan can sign her letter of intent to play for Illinois starting Nov. 9. She made her non-binding verbal commitment Sunday night on social media. Dolan narrowed her recruitment options from dozens of scholarship offers to Harvard, Syracuse, Clemson and Illinois in late August.

“I would like to thank all of the coaches that have recruited me over the past 4 years,” Dolan said in the post, which thanked her AAU program, Philadelphia Rise, along with family, friends, teammates, and trainers, “for pushing me to be my best and the unconditional love and support they continue to show me everyday. With that being said, I am excited to announce that I have committed to the University of Illinois to continue my academic and athletic career!!”

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Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.

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