Benet basketball star Lenee Beaumont was in eighth grade when DePaul coach Doug Bruno offered her a scholarship.
Bruno was the first college coach to recognize Beaumont’s potential, but he won’t be the last.
Beaumont’s recruiting took off like a rocket in July as college coaches finally were able to get out on the AAU circuit and evaluate talent. She has nearly two dozen Division I offers, most of which came after a standout performance for her club team M14 Hoops at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Chicago.
“This past week I was talking to a bunch of new coaches,” Beaumont said. “It was just such a cool experience.
“This whole recruiting process has been very weird with COVID, so having the opportunity to talk to schools I would never think I would talk to is awesome.”
The most noteworthy offer Beaumont received came from Tennessee, Candace Parker’s alma mater. Beaumont, a 6-foot junior guard, is the first Benet player to be offered by the Volunteers.
“I was definitely surprised,” Beaumont said. “I guess they came to watch a game at the Nike Tournament of Champions. I had never spoken to them before. I had no idea it was coming.”
The offers are coming fast and furious for Beaumont. The list, which seemingly grows every day, includes Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Indiana, Alabama, Princeton, Providence and Marquette.
“I’m happy for Lenee but not that surprised,” Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. “The colleges haven’t been able to evaluate anybody live in over a year because of the pandemic, so I felt like once they got to see her live, she’d have plenty of opportunities and that’s proven to be true.”
Morgan Demos, a 6-2 senior center at Benet, committed to Navy on July 30.
“The same is true for Morgan Demos,” Kilbride said. “She doesn’t have the same number of high-profile offers, but she’s picked up five offers this week.”
Beaumont was the only freshman on Benet’s varsity in 2019-20. She saw limited action on a stacked team that had eight future college players and advanced to the state semifinals. She moved into the starting lineup for her sophomore season last winter. The season was shortened to 12 games because of the pandemic.
Playing primarily as a shooting guard, Beaumont averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds to go with a team-best 32 assists. She shot 47% from 3-point range and 53% overall in helping the Redwings to an 11-1 record and their fourth consecutive East Suburban Catholic Conference championship.
Those numbers only figure to grow.
“She’s a three-level scorer, so she can shoot from the arc, she’s got good midrange, she’s getting to the rim and finishing really well,” Kilbride said. “She rebounds and her length defensively is exceptional and she uses it well. She has an extraordinary skill set that I think coaches see and know will translate to the next level, which is why she’s so attractive to them.”
Benet fans will see Beaumont in a new role during the 2021-22 season. While she’s capable of playing and guarding several positions, Beaumont is slated to move to point guard, the position she plays for M14 Hoops.
“For high school, I will be the 1,” Beaumont said. “Kilbride uses the phrase, ‘Be a dog,’ so he just wants me to go out there and be very aggressive and not have to think about decisions, just go out there and react.”
Beaumont, who has always played up at least one year in club ball, has reacted well to every challenge so far. While a college commitment is not imminent, she is enjoying the process.
“It’s definitely very exciting,” Beaumont said. “I can’t wait to go on visits in the fall and the spring. I’m really excited to explore different campuses. Kilbride says to see different campuses, take the time to get my questions answered.”
There is no question Beaumont and Demos will be the unquestioned leaders of the Redwings this winter. But they are not the only players capable of playing at the next level.
Senior guards Margaret Temple, Olympia Kokkines and Emma Webb are being recruited by Division II and Division III schools and junior forward Sam Trimberger and sophomore twin guards Magdalena and Emilia Sularski also have drawn interest.
As for Beaumont, she knows better than to let all the scholarship offers go to her head.
“It’s really cool to know that very well-known programs are interested,” Beaumont said. “I’m very appreciative. I would definitely say I’m stronger but I have a long way to go.”