The decision was hard for Cabrini basketball standout Rakell Spencer.
Keeping it a secret for two weeks was even harder.
Spencer signed with Texas A&M two weeks ago, just two hours before the deadline of the NCAA’s signing period.
But the 5-foot-11 forward but didn’t tell anyone, other than family members and her coach, who she signed with until Wednesday.
She waited until her principal returned from a trip to Rome.
Her final four choices were Texas A&M, Miami, Tulane and Southern Miss.
“It was tough keeping it a secret because everybody at school would ask me everyday,” said Spencer, one of the state’s top players.
She did her part to not give any clues.
She wore a Southern Miss shirt to school one day and had Miami on her computer screen.
But in the end, it was the Aggies that won it.
She revealed her choice in the Cabrini gym as her schoolmates watched, pulling off her jacket to reveal a Texas A&M Windbreaker.
“I thought Texas A&M was best for me,” Spencer said. “They have a great coaching major, and that’s what I want to be in the future. I just can’t see myself doing anything else other than coaching. If I can coach and impact kids lives, that’s what I want to do.”
She also liked Texas A & M’s location.
“It’s 6 hours and 27 minutes from home,” she said. “I just felt like it benefitted me, and I will be playing in a great conference.”
Spencer, a two-time All-Metro pick by The New Orleans Advocate, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game and helped lead Cabrini to the Class 4A semifinals as a junior.
“They are getting someone who is the complete package,” Cabrini coach Nancy Walsh said. “She can handle the ball under pressure, she can run the floor, she can shoot 3’s. She is a great on-ball defender. She can do many things. She’s special.”
So special, in fact, that her aunt gave her the nickname “Queen” when she was a toddler.
“She was just a special child, different from all the other grandkids so I started calling her ‘Queen,’ ” said Nicole Hartford.
The name stuck.
Hartford, along with Spencer’s mom (Joyce), father (Russell) and brother Rakem sat beside her Wednesday as she announced her decision.
They sat at a table on the same court where Spencer scored most of her 1,700 career points.
It’s also the court where Spencer has been a standout in volleyball. She will give up volleyball in college and concentrate on basketball.
“A year from now when she is just concentrating on basketball, she is going to come out of the gate on fire,” Walsh said. “Her best days are ahead of her.”
But first Spencer wants to focus on her senior season.
She’s the Crescents’ lone senior.
“My goal is to lead my team back to state and win,” she said. “Since I’m the only senior, I know I have to better my leadership skills.”