Georgia’s No. 1 sophomore reflects on picking the Tennessee Volunteers so early

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt (right) raided Georgia for another elite basketball player

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt (right) raided Georgia for another elite basketball player

You don’t see many sophomores in high school announce their college decision two years in advance of when they can officially sign the scholarship papers.

On the surface, it seemed a little rushed when Buford’s Andraya Carter, the AJC’s Class AA basketball player of the year after leading the Gwinnett school to the state championship, recently revealed that she intends to sign with Tennessee in November of 2011.

Then again, as strange as it sounds, Carter was already a veteran of the recruiting process. She got her first scholarship offer — from Georgia — while she was in middle school.

But why now? With Carter’s college enrollment nearly three years away, so many things can change. But she has her reasons.

“I am very easy to talk with and to get into a conversation with and … I didn’t want to really want to form relationships with any more coaches,” Carter said. “I knew Tennessee is where I wanted to be, and I didn’t want to lead anyone else on.

“And I want to play for Pat Summitt as long as she is there, and I don’t see that changing. Then I didn’t see any point in waiting. It wasn’t based on emotion. I’ve studied (recruiting) for a long time. I’ve looked into degrees, the campuses, and everything. I felt it in my heart, and I prayed about it.

“Now I don’t have to worry about my college decision. I can just focus on getting better.”

The 5-foot-8 point guard averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds this season while leading the Wolves to back-to-back state championships. Carter had 20 points and 9 rebounds in the 50-38 win over Vidalia in last month’s finals.

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“She is, in my opinion, the total package,” Buford coach Gene Durden said. “She has great athleticism, an unbelievable work ethic, and is a great student — ranked No. 2 in her class. As good of basketball player as she is, Andraya is a better person.”

Carter was a legend in youth leagues, with Georgia tendering a scholarship offer when she was in the eighth grade. She briefly considered committing to the Bulldogs.

“I did for awhile because one of my best friends is going there,” Carter said, referring to Chattahoochee’s Erika Ford, who committed to Georgia last year as a sophomore.

Carter was also high on UConn, which had yet to offer but was beginning to heavily recruit her. “What worked against UConn was something they couldn’t control and made my choice a lot easier — the distance. It’s just too far away.”

After a couple of unofficial visits to Tennessee and deep conversations with Summitt, Carter settled on her childhood favorite over Georgia. “I prayed about it for a long time. When I was seven years old, I told my parents that I would one day play for Tennessee, so it’s always kind of been there.”

24 comments Add your comment

tony

April 1st, 2010
7:11 am

UGA need to make a coaching change. Why they havn’t already is mind boggling. 30 years of coaching without a championship should tell you something……the man doesn’t have what it takes to get our girls to the big dance no matter how much talent he has. That said, I think Carter is making the right decision. She will be playing for a coach who knows how to win championships.

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

April 1st, 2010
7:47 am

[...] Is sophomore year to early for high-school athletes to commit to a university? [AJC] [...]

lagadawg

April 1st, 2010
7:57 am

Some people think UGA’s team with Teresa Edwards was the biggest choke job and best team to never win a championship.

UGA fans are so ....

April 1st, 2010
10:03 am

Maybe if Miss Landers would have hired her mama as an assistant coach, then he could have gotten her to Athens. Ditto for Maya Moore.

shyril

April 1st, 2010
10:25 am

I think she committed too early, however I do understand the desire to end the recruiting nightmare. UGA has allowed too many great and good players to leave this state. They will never win a national championship under Andy Landers. Never. If Tennessee, UConn, or even Baylor, Vanderbilt, and like call why would one go to Georgia?

Becky

April 1st, 2010
11:37 am

You make it sound like Buford is a Gwinnett County school. It is not. It is a school that is located in Gwinnett County but it is part of the Buford City School System.

Georgia/Georgia Tech fan all the way

April 1st, 2010
12:14 pm

I think any kids who live in the State of Georgia and don’t try and go to either Georgia or Georgia Tech if they are offered a chance is just plain stupid. How do you expect Georgia or Georgia Tech to ever have any good teams if Georgia kids go some where else. Where is you loyalty to your State. That is how U-Conn always have a good girl team they stay within their states. Hello parents you should convince your kids to support Georgia and Georgia Tech and then we may have some National Championship Teams. It’s not the coaches fault but the parent who do not encourage the kids to go to Georgia or Georgia Tech and if you are not happy then transfer but first give the State of Georgia a chance first. I wish Ms. Carter the best of lucy but she should have stayed with Georgia because Pat Summitt will not always be at Tenn because retirement is around the corner for her in the next few years as she has stated in the past you can’t coach forever.

Tdawg

April 1st, 2010
12:56 pm

all the way…….. You hit the nail right on the head. These kids leaving the state to play for other programs are nothing but a bunch of turn coats. I will not wish her luck and I sure as heck will not be rooting for her. Why would anyone root for a traitor? It’s not like she’s going to Standford or Yale, Harvard or John Hopkins, MIT or even Vanderbilt for crying out loud. She’s going to play ball for hill billy high for crying out loud. Got a unique idea young lady. Instead of helping some other program tear down the state that has been rooting for you, how about getting some pride in your own home and help defend it. If she were my daughter I would never speak to her again. I would leave the house whenever she came home for a visit. She could converse with her mother.

SWD Panther Paw

April 1st, 2010
12:59 pm

Georgia/Georgia Tech fan all the way : I disagree with one of your point’s that Connecticut recruit’s within the state they have one or two bench player’s from Connecticut. The rest especially the starter’s are almost always from out of state. Most of the big time D-1 college’s get their girl’s from other states.

loose nut

April 1st, 2010
1:03 pm

Georgia/Georgia Tech…….that’s a great post!! I’m absolutely amazed at some of the things that I read on these posts. Un-be-lievable!

Dawgfan

April 1st, 2010
1:39 pm

does anyone realiy care about girls basketball? at least the gym girls are hotties.

SISTER/WIFE

April 1st, 2010
1:40 pm

AL

April 1st, 2010
1:48 pm

I agree that if we could keep our players here Uga and Tech would have the talent to be in the mens and women final four every year. But you cant stop a kid from going to there dream school for our own selfish reasons.
On a side note we also need coaches who can win games when they get the talent. Cause Coach Hewit isnt helping us much.

Nana and Aunt Willie

April 1st, 2010
2:07 pm

Congratualations, Andraya. We love you and you will do well no matter where you are. You have always been a great person with great personality and manners. You are a super star and will always be our princess. We are so proud of you.

Monticello Dawg

April 1st, 2010
2:35 pm

Naval Orange, no one is saying UGA Lady Dogs basketball is equal to UT’s, but why trash Andy Landers? Most of Vol fans on the Summit have more class than that. UGA has over time, easily the second best women’s basketball program in the conference.

As for football, since Richt arrived, UT has not come close to matching his gridiron record overall- wins, SEC titles, top ten etc. Even after losing 3 of last 4, MR still has the upper hand on UT. You would not know it from some of the UGA bashers on here, but there is only one coach in the SEC with a winning record against Mark Richt.

Here is my challenge to UT and other SEC schools- has anyone won more national championships in different sports than UGA? Men: football, baseball, tennis, golf. Women: golf, tennis, swimming, gymnastics.

Gen Neyland

April 1st, 2010
2:47 pm

Pat Summitt doesn’t ‘RAID’ Georgia. She comes down to hear the words of wisdom from a few excellent female basketballers, “Coach, I want to play for you and the University of Tennessee. I want a fighting chance to win the SEC and the National Championship. I want to play for one of the nations best coaching staffs. Please take me. Please..!’

Monticello Dawg

April 1st, 2010
2:49 pm

I am constantly surprised at how little respect Andy Landers gets from some UGA supporters. I understand he has not won an NCAA title, and should have won at least two. In 1985, the Lady Dogs had Old Dominion basically beat, but lost late. In 1996, UGA owned the SEC, and had without a doubt a better team than UT. Give Pat Summit credit, they won the title game when it counted.

However, let’s look at other criteria. Outside of UK men, and UT women, the UGA Lady Dogs have the most dominant basketball program in the SEC, men or women, during Landers’s stay.

The guy wins over 24 games a year, has been to more Sweet Sixteens than any team outside of UT, has been to more NCAA tournaments than any school in the country outside of UT, has been to five final fours. Landers has a 100% graduation rate of players that play four years, and has never been in NCAA trouble. He has more wins over Pat Summit than any coach in the country (though Geno will probably catch him there).

The main gap between Georgia and UT/UConn is a recruiting gap, and hopefully Andy will close that somewhat, but every team in the country has that same gap. For example, this year’s UT team has 9 first or second team Parade All Americans on their roster (2006-2009). These are elite players. Georgia has one, Jasmine Hassell. UConn signed three consecutive national players of the year, though Delle Donne went elsewhere.

I doubt if Landers will ever get that national title, but in my opinion he deserves respect for what he has done over the years. If a men’s coach had his record at Georgia, the coliseum would be named for him.

Gator Bob

April 1st, 2010
6:37 pm

Landers run is over – he is stale – and the elite kids are flocking to other schools. He is becoming the Bobby Bowden of UGA. Dude needs to go. Nice game against Stanford!

Mr. T

April 1st, 2010
7:00 pm

‘Ole Lacey Earps STILL gettin’ it done!

Distant Observer

April 1st, 2010
7:23 pm

saying that someone born and / or living in the state of georgia must attend a university or college in georgia is like saying that someone born in the trunk of car must be a spare tire. an unspoken implication of recruiting is the freedom to choose. here’s a heads up: we live in the united states of america, the land of freedom and opportunity. furthermore, those lamenting draya’s college of choice are missing the point. draya has the maturity and presence of mind to make her decision now and not waste the time of other coaches and programs. that is to be commended and shows draya’s character and integrity.

p.s. g/gtfatw & tdawg: your ignorance is astounding.

jdawg

April 1st, 2010
9:28 pm

It is time for Andy Landers to hang it up. Great guy but terrible coach. Sort of a cross between Hugh Durham & Bobby Cremins. He recruits plenty of top talent but provides no real coaching. The ole “play great defense and run with the ball” philosophy has been passed by and the women’s game has changed in general. You can’t just put better athletes on the floor and expect to win anymore. It is pretty obvious as his record vs Summitt and UConn speaks for itself. Not a surprise that the best players choose elsewhere.

Chuck Uga

April 6th, 2010
11:52 pm

Naval Orange, UGA DESTROYED UT in Men’s Hoops this year in Athens. The game in Knoxville was much closer. Expect UGA to do the same again next year. And the blowout loss by UT in Sanford Stadium cannot come soon enough. UT will not defeat UGA in football for another five years.

Chuck Uga

April 6th, 2010
11:53 pm

P.S. I agree Landers’ time has passed.

dawghouse1011 -Athens

April 8th, 2010
8:12 am

I am a huge UGA fan and support all of our programs including womens basketball…Andy Landers is a terrific coach and has done wonderful things for the program…however if you get the chance to play for Pat Summit and you choose not to you have missed a great opportunity….she is the best and will go down in history as one of the greatest ever to coach womens basketball…Good Luck Andraya!!!