HAMPTON, Va. -- Andraya Carter can't pinpoint exactly when she became a Tennessee women's basketball fan, but by the time she was in the fourth grade, Carter was decked out in all Lady Vol gear, all the time.
Carter, a 5-foot-9 point guard for the Georgia Elite, is a rare top-tier player: Only a sophomore at Buford High in Buford, Ga., Carter already has committed to Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols. It's the perfect fit for the avid Tennessee fan who devoured Summitt's two best-selling books at a young age.
"When I was seven I told my parents I was gonna go play there," Carter said. "It's my dream school."
Now, Carter plays with a different weight on her shoulders. She has an orange jersey waiting for her when she graduates, but Carter still wants to make an impression on the Tennessee staff when they come to watch her play.
"I think it's a different kind of pressure," Carter said. "I want people to think, 'Oh that's why she's recruiting her.' I want to make her look good."
She's doing a pretty good job. A tenacious defender with a silky smooth jumper, Carter's distribution skills were on display during the spring viewing period at Boo Williams as she passed the ball around to teammates, conscious of the fact that she didn't need to showcase herself anymore.
"Now I can attack the basket and help my teammates out," she said. "Instead of it being, 'Hey, I can do this, hey I can do that,' I can focus on my team."
Carter is one of a handful of underclassmen who have already committed to the school of their choice, and she's not alone in her post-commitment thought process.
"It's weird still," said Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the No. 2 player in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60, who has already given a verbal commitment to Connecticut.
"Some people think that there's no more pressure but I'm still as nervous as I was before I committed to UConn. Now if I see [associate head coach] Chris Dailey there it's like, 'Oh my gosh my coach is here, I gotta play good, I gotta make sure I do things she likes to see.' "
But like Mosqueda-Lewis, Carter has no complaints about early commitment. The Tamika Catchings fan has been such a devout Tennessee follower for so long, she used to get in trouble for it.
"When I was reading [Summitt's book] 'Raise the Roof' I couldn't put it down," Carter laughed. "I was getting in trouble for having it at school and not paying attention."
That's probably the kind of student that Summitt, who is considered one of the best teachers in the women's game, will want in Knoxville.
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Lindsay Schnell is a staff writer for HoopGurlz.com. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has been involved in the Oregon girls' basketball community for most her life as a player, high school coach, writer and fan. She also has been regular contributor to The Oregonian and won several awards for her writing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.