Prince makes it official – signs to be a Longhorn
By KEITH SPARKS
With dozens of friends and family members gathered in the foyer of the Liberty Hill High School gym, Lady Panthers’ senior center Sedona Prince made one of her longtime dreams come true on Wednesday as she signed her letter of intent to play Division I basketball at The University of Texas.
Joined by her parents, James and Tambra, and her brother, Diego, Prince made her commitment to the Longhorns official. By doing so, she cemented her place among a top-ranked recruiting class and a Longhorn women’s basketball team that is currently ranked second in the nation.
Prior to the signing, some of Sedona’s current and former coaches and personal trainers, including Liberty Hill Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Chris Lange, addressed the crowd to let everybody within earshot know what kind of person and player Prince has become.
“We can all talk about the basketball talent that Sedona has,” Lange said. “It’s out there. You see it every night when she steps on the court, and we see it in practice. At Liberty Hill, we’ve been blessed to have her. I’ve been blessed, as a coach, to be given the opportunity to spend time with her and coaching her on the court, but that’s not what I love most about her. It’s not about her talent. It’s about her heart. She is a warm-hearted, loving, giving person. Basketball aside, I challenge you to find somone else, I mean, she is that type of person. She is just out there for everybody.”
As an example of the type of person Prince is, Lange referenced her reaction to last year’s loss in the UIL State Championship.
“She can lighten the mood, which you saw last year in San Antonio after we got second place,” he said. “She’s out there dancing and celebrating. That’s a compliment to her and her family and the type of person she is. It’s all about the team, and that’s what I love about her.”
Also in attendance on Wednesday were Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Walker, Head Volleyball Coach Gretchen Peterson, and dozens upon dozens of Prince’s fellow students. The significance of their attendance wasn’t lost on Prince.
“It’s awesome. I mean, my family, my team, all the community really came together in this, and they helped me get here,” she said. “I think that everybody in the community should be proud of themselves. It’s kind of a relief now that it’s done, but it’s amazing to see all my friends and family here. It’s really fun.”
In addition to being surrounded by friends, family, coaches, and other community members, Prince’s signing was covered by a number of Austin news outlets, including KVUE, KXAN, and the Austin American-Statesman.
Although her commitment wasn’t considered official until today, Prince has long known that she would be a Longhorn, albeit with some hiccups along the way.
“I committed about a year and a half ago, but it’s a long story,” she said with a laugh. “I committed first in the eighth grade, then I decommitted sophomore year, then I recommitted about a year and a half ago.”
The reasoning behind Prince’s recommitment, she said, was the fact that the UT women’s basketball program simply felt more like home than other schools in contention for her services.
“I just realized that it’s my family,” she said. “For the other schools, I liked them. It was a mutual respect, but not like how I can talk about anything with Coach Aston or Coach Washington, or all of them. I really felt like I was at home there. That was the biggest factor.”
After decommitting from Texas her sophomore year, Prince considered Oregon State, Notre Dame, and UConn. She admitted that the decision was difficult, but knows she made the right one.
“It was definitely a hard choice, because those are three amazing schools,” she said, “but Texas just really stood out and it was the place I wanted to be.”
For now, Prince remains focused on avenging Liberty Hill’s loss in last year’s State Championship. From now until she steps on campus in Austin, her personal goals are to get stronger and to fine-tune some other aspects of her game, which she believes USA Basketball camp will allow her to do over the summer.
“Getting stronger, more physical, of course, is a big thing in the Big 12 Conference,” she said. “I think just growing and maturing as a player. I’ll go to USA Basketball this summer, which will help, as well, with the experience. Just improving my shot, doing things here or there that really pick up my game to make sure I’m a well-rounded, versatile player.”
Prince will arrive on the UT campus in June, after which she’ll train with the team during their offseason training program, which will include weight training, scrimmaging, and prototypical offseason practices. If she happens to make the USA Basketball roster, however, she’ll be off campus for a month and a half during the offseason.
Until then, the Lady Panthers are lucky enough to have the 6’7”, five-star recruit in purple and gold for one last State Championship run.