By ROBERT CESSNA
Arlington Lamar senior Kristen Grant returned from Texas A&M's Elite Basketball Camp and made a verbal pledge to Aggie women's coach Gary Blair on Monday.
"It really was just not [only] the school and the coaches, it just seemed like a perfect fit for me and my personality," said Grant, a 5-foot-9 guard. "It was a home-type of environment, and that's really important to me."
She had also visited Oklahoma, Southern Methodist, Duke, Texas Tech, Northwestern and Texas Christian.
Grant, who started paying attention to A&M in the seventh grade, plans to major in the medical field, possibly veterinary science. And A&M's reputation in that curriculum was a plus.
"That was big for me," Grant said. "I know how well known they are for their veterinarian program."
Grant was picked for A&M's Elite Camp all-star game Sunday, but didn't compete because she had just returned from Nike Nationals.
"We chose to sit out," said her father, Tony Grant. "She was just worn down."
Kristen Grant did enough Saturday, though, to earn praise from Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, who attended the camp.
HoopGurlz has Grant, who plays for the Dallas-Fort Worth Elite, ranked 38th in the country.
"On a team of defensive juggernauts, Kristen Grant is one of the best," was ESPN's scouting evaluation after watching her in the Midwest Showdown in May. "She showed the quickness to defend any of the perimeter positions and the strength to defend on the interior as well. Offensively she has really progressed. She can exploit smaller defenders both from the wing and by posting on the block. She showed both power and finesse moves around the cup. She's shooting the ball better and finding the confidence to create her own shot in the halfcourt. She made some impressive, but difficult, shots. The challenge now is learning when to take those shots and when to get deeper into the lane."
Grant is friends with Aggie sophomore guard Sydney Carter, who is from De Soto, and senior post Damitria Buchanan.
"I knew them before they were at A&M," said Grant, who is in the orchestra at her school. "And that was a big plus, also."
Grant said she wants to work hard on everything during her senior year in high school, but especially getting better at dribbling with her left hand along with coming off screens harder and getting her shot, fine tuning her 3-pointers in the process. She also wants to lead Arlington Lamar to the playoffs after just missing postseason last year.