Friday, Jan. 9, 2009 | noon
After four years of playing varsity basketball together, three members of the Centennial's girls squad are not ready to part ways.
Guard Rashawnda Gray and forwards Johnna Brown, Deanna Daniels — the only three seniors on the Bulldogs' roster — all signed letters of intent last month at Dixie State College.
"It's so exciting because we've built that family bond here together and I love those girls to death," Gray said. "I'm so happy to get the chance to share my college experience with them."
Three players from the same high school team signing to play at the same college is rare, but the trio insist it happened more by coincidence than by plan.
Brown had been recruited by Colorado State and UNLV but she insisted on going to a school that would allow her to also play softball — she is a four-year varsity shortstop for the Bulldogs. Gray also visited San Diego and Pepperdine.
Earlier this fall, Gray and Daniels both visited the St. George, Utah, school together, decided it was the place for them and signed shortly thereafter. Brown visited a week later and signed the next day with the promise she would be able to play both basketball and softball.
"We talked about going to school together, but we never really knew it was going to happen," Daniels said. "It was a shock when we figured out all three of us were all going to the same school. We're dominating here at Centennial so I think the transition will be good and we will dominate at Dixie, too."
All three players said they felt comfortable at Dixie after taking their official visits.
"It felt like home up there," Brown said. "It was really small, but the people were very nice. When we were walking around they'd say 'Hi,' and show us where to go."
Centennial coach Karen Weitz takes her team to camps at the Dixie State every summer. Weitz said the Dixie State coaches being familiar with the trio eased the recruiting process.
"Since we built a relationship I think they feel comfortable there," Weitz said. "It's a comfort zone for any kid. We all say we want to get away from home but when we get there it's a little scary at first."
Weitz added the three have built a strong chemistry with each other the last four years and entering college with that experience together will be an advantage.
"In basketball, it isn't so much practicing, but the fact when you play a lot together you have the instincts of what people will do before they do it," Weitz said.
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.