Central York High School rising junior earns her first NCAA Division I basketball offer

ROB ROSE
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Mackenzie Wright-Rawls had talked to college coaches before, but this call was very different. 

Central York's Mackenzie Wright-Rawls takes the ball to the basket while during girls' basketball action against Spring Grove at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Spring Grove would win the game 52-47. Dawn J. Sagert photo

When the Delaware State University women's basketball coaching staff reached out to her, she expected the program's first contact to be a discussion about the program, the university and other topics that would allow them to get to know each other.

Instead, the Central York rising junior received a scholarship offer from the NCAA Division I program shortly after they got on the phone. It shocked her so much that she had to repeat back to the coach that she had just offered Wright-Rawls her first chance to play college basketball.

"I was really surprised, so I just wanted to make sure I heard it properly," Wright-Rawls said.

Wright-Rawls was a York-Adams League Division I second-team all-star in 2021 and started for Central York since her freshman year. The 6-footer averaged 7.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game last season. She helped Central to a 17-4 season and a District 3 Class 6-A runner-up finish.

The Panthers' standout is the second sibling in her family to earn an offer to play high-level college sports. Her older brother, Central York graduate Taylor Wright-Rawls, will play football at NCAA D-I Football Championship Subdivision Bryant University this fall.

Taylor also played basketball for the Panthers and Mackenzie credited him, among other family members, as the reason she got into basketball. The siblings spent many days playing one-on-one on their driveway and their rivalry won't end with them playing different sports.

Mackenzie said she wants to top the three scholarship offers her older brother received. Although Taylor told her he was proud after she received her first offer, Mackenzie said she wants to beat him in recruiting like he did to her so many times on the driveway.

Central York's Taylor Wright-Rawls, right, is pushed out of the sideline by Central Dauphin's Juice Selby during District 3, Class 6A semifinal action at George Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Central York would win the game 42-15. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"We're very competitive, so even though he's going to play football, I still compete with him in basketball," Mackenzie said. "I'll still compete with him while he's away and let him know what's going on and tell him I'm doing better than you in this area, and stuff like that."

Other suitors: Despite it being the first school to offer her, Delaware State isn't the only NCAA D-I program chasing after Mackenzie. She said Drexel University, Bucknell University and Lafayette College have been in contact and she took an unofficial visit to Drexel in June.

Mackenzie added that her recruiting outlook has improved this summer since college coaches could come out and watch her play AAU basketball with her Spooky Nook Raiders squad.

Central York's Mackenzie Wright-Rawls takes the ball to the basket while Harrisburg defends during District III, Class 6-A girls' basketball quarterfinal action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Thursday, March 4, 2021. Central York would win the game 66-41. Dawn J. Sagert photo

As her summer season comes to a close and she prepares to try and lead the Panthers to a York-Adams Division I title, Mackenzie will no longer be surprised when college coaches come calling. The first offer may have caught her off guard, but now that she has a spot secured, Mackenzie said it could take her game to the next level.

"It feels really exciting," Wright-Rawls said. "It feels like a definite like a turning point. I can build on this and stuff like that, but it feels really exciting to officially receive an offer."

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.