When Coahulla Creek High School’s Katelyn Richards visited Rome’s Shorter University, she knew that it was where she wanted to play basketball after high school.
“I went down on a visit a few weeks ago, and I just fell in love with the campus,” said Richards. “I love how small it is. That’s what I was looking for in a school. The proximity to home has a lot to do with it too, because I knew I didn’t want to go far off.”
Richards made her commitment public on her Twitter account Friday night.
Richards has one more year left on the Creek before she travels about an hour south for college. She’s a senior this year, coming off a junior season in which she averaged 16.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. That play earned her a spot on the All-Region 6-3A team and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Class 3A North All-State Team. She was also named to the Daily Citizen-News All-Area first team.
She’ll join Ema Turner and Kenley Woods, two more seniors who were members of the All-Region 6-3A team, for a final season free of the burden of recruiting.
“As soon as I committed, it was just automatic relief,” Richards said. “I was already excited about the senior season, but it’s definitely a stressful burden that was lifted. I’m excited to just go out there and play and be me.”
Richards' head basketball coach at Coahulla Creek, Jody Bacchus, said he's glad to have her back for one more year.
"Shorter is getting the complete package with Katelyn," Bacchus said. "She is a great leader, great teammate, and high achieving in the classroom. I am looking forward to coaching her one more year."
Richards is set to join a Shorter program that has finished with just one win in each of the last two seasons. The Hawks finished with a 20-8 record in 2015-16. The ability to help be a part of a program rebuild was a draw for Richards, along with her relationship with head coach Jared Hughes, who is entering his second season at the helm of the program.
“I really like coach Hughes,” Richards said. “I think he’s really amping up the program, and I want to be a part of helping to turn it around.”
Shorter competes in the Gulf South Conference in NCAA’s Division II.
Richards said she wasn’t initially strongly considering Shorter until she attended a camp the program hosted.
“I had a couple of other schools that I was going to visit, but they weren’t that appealing,” she said. “I had always been told that I could go to a bigger school, and Shorter wasn’t on my radar. I went for the visit and fell in love.”