MARTINSBURG – When evaluating her college choices, Musselman basketball star Janaia Fargo had two things she wanted.
First: she wanted to play Division I basketball. Second: she wanted to do it in the hotbed of college hoops, the Carolinas. And this week, Fargo signed with a school that checked both boxes, when she inked her letter of intent with the Big South’s Charleston Southern Buccaneers.
“I’ve been playing since I was in fourth or fifth grade, and you always talk about playing college basketball,” Fargo said. “It’s hard to get to the Division I level, and I’ve worked so hard. All the hard work is finally paying off, and it’s becoming so real.”
Fargo had been in contact with Charleston Southern since her sophomore year but hadn’t received an official offer from them since this past summer. By that point, Fargo had grown into one of the top players in the region, earning first team All-Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference honors last season.
She was also deep into her recruitment with other schools and felt that she was approaching a commitment point. But the Buccaneers’ offer threw her recruitment on its head, giving her the opportunity to achieve her dream of playing Division I basketball.
“As soon as they contacted me, I was researching the school, and it was what I wanted,” Fargo said. “The coaching staff when we went down there was amazing, the teammates were more than welcoming, and it’s a Christian school, which I loved.”
The school’s location, Charleston, South Carolina, was an additional attraction. Fargo had long wanted to play her college ball in the Carolinas, having fallen in love with the area while visiting family.
“My aunt lives in North Carolina and we go down a bit to visit her,” Fargo said. “I love the area, and it’s different from up here. Everyone is so nice and respectful. It’s good basketball down there. Everything is competitive, and I love the atmosphere.”
Fargo is so far undecided on her major but is leaning towards kinesiology or physical science. On the court, the 5-foot-8 point guard will look to bring her brand of strong two-way basketball to the Big South Conference, where the Buccaneers went 9-9 last season and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament.
But before she starts her college career in Charleston, Fargo hopes to close out her high school career with a trip to the one in West Virginia. Although last season was an extremely successful one individually for Fargo, her Applemen’s season ended in the first round of the sectional playoffs in a surprising four-point loss to Spring Mills.
Fargo feels that a lack of conditioning has been the major factor holding her team back from a run to the state tournament and plans on taking ownership of her team as a senior to ensure that isn’t an issue.
“We’ve been so close all my years of playing, and we’ve never made it,” Fargo said. “This year, I’m going to make sure everyone is prepared physically and mentally and that we have the energy to get stuff done, get wins and go down to Charleston.”