Lady Panthers standout sharpens over summer

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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When you’re 6-3, it’s not hard to stand out in a crowd or even on a basketball court. For Colleyville Heritage senior forward Artavia Ford, she’s making the most of the opportunity she has as a basketball player.

The starting post for the Lady Panthers enjoyed a busy summer with her team Texas Prep. The select squad traveled across the country and played at national tournaments in Frisco, Augusta, Ga., New Orleans and Murfreesboro, Tenn.

In some cases, the team did well. The squad won the consolation bracket in Frisco. In other cases, it was a tough weekend. They didn’t win a game in Georgia.

Nonetheless, the experience went a long way toward her development. She averaged about 12 points and 10 rebounds. And she was pretty good defensively, averaging six steals per game.

“It’s a much faster pace,” Ford said. “You have to be in good condition to play. You’re definitely move around more. But that’s what you want to have, to have so you will be ready for the next level.”

Ford is a coveted Division I recruit and could have gone anywhere she wanted for college. She had given a verbal commitment to Texas Tech earlier this year. But then-coach Kristy Curry left to take the job at Alabama. That left a little bit of doubt.

The Red Raiders named Oklahoma State associate head coach Candi Whitaker as their new coach. It wasn’t until Ford had a conversation with Whitaker that she knew where she stood. When it comes to offers and commitments, they are non-binding. Everything turned out fine and Ford is expected to sign her national letter of intent in November.

“They called me and told me that the offer was there if I still wanted it,” she said. “I went to Tech’s camp [on Saturday]. It was my second time to be out there since I committed. I had a good time meeting the coaches and getting to know them a lot more. I committed to Tech because it’s close to home, and my family can see me anytime. I also really liked their academic support.”

Since basketball has become a year-round sport, Ford knew she had the physical ability to play the game. As she has matured, she recognized it was time to add a little more to the cerebral side of her game.

Ford said she believes her overall game is more consistent, especially when it comes to making crisp and smart passes and other fundamentals. Teams are going to have to watch her not only around the basket but with her jumper. Ford said she feels more comfortable taking the 10-12 footers.

“Artavia has improved every year for the last three summers, so I’m excited to get her back on the court,” Colleyville Heritage coach Dianna Sager said. “I expect her to come back in shape and be a leader.”

Aside from the steals, she said she’s come further with her footwork in the paint so she won’t let the defender get in front of her.

Yet there is a bit of frustration that gnaws at her and her teammates. The 2012-13 team finally overcame the Irving MacArthur hurdle and won the District 6-5A championship. However, the Lady Panthers were upset by Lewisville in the bi-district round. This team wants redemption.

“I think the lesson is that you just have to be ready,” she said. “You always have to come ready to compete and stay focused no matter who you play.”

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