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.
“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.”