Mandy Withey wasn’t born and raised a Texan, but she always had Texan in her blood.
Living in the suburbs of Chicago – Hinsdale and Mount Prospect to be exact – Withey fell in love with basketball when she was six.
Nearly 10 years later and she's made the bittersweet move to Granbury where she’s one of the top prospects in the area heading into her senior season.
“I’ve had about 35 schools contact me,” the Pirates forward said. “This summer I have been invited to many prospect camps and I'm currently in the process of attending those.”
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But why Granbury?
“My mom has family here. She always wanted to move closer to them. We’ve come here every summer as long as I can remember,” Withey said. “Ever since I was little I loved the idea of living here in the country life. But when it came time to leave Illinois I was very nervous and sad about leaving some good friends behind – especially my coaches and teammates.”
Once she arrived, Withey had some adjustments to make.
Her school in Illinois was five minutes from home and most of her district opponents were right down the road.
“I didn’t quite realize how everything was spaced out,” she said. “I wasn’t used to seeing ranches every where I went, and it takes me 30 minutes to get to school.”
While it took her some time off the court, she flourished right away on it.
“They had visited in the spring before she got here and all I could think was how tall and athletic she was,” Granbury coach Steve Schmidt added. “I was excited about the possibilities.”
In her first game in Texas, Withey recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists against Brownwood.
She scored a season high 31 points against Arlington Seguin and recorded a season-best 32 rebounds against Cleburne.
Withey went on to average 17.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.6 blocks per game for the Pirates. She recorded 14 double-doubles in 26 games.
“She always moves. Other players will stop and wait for the ball, but Mandy is constantly moving, and with her size and length she’s hard to block out,” Schmidt said. “She’s quite the rebounder. It didn’t take her long to have a huge impact on our game.”
This summer Withey is playing AAU ball with DFW Hawks Elite.
It’s a lot different than Chicago, but Withey said it was the right move for her future.
“The game here is more of a guard game and it’s faster. The kids I play with in Chicago seem a lot taller and the focus is more on getting the ball into the post. A lot less kids played AAU in Chicago too,” Withey said. “I do feel this move has helped me in my recruitment. There seems to be more events here that allow us exposure to college recruiters.”
Withey also excelled in volleyball. She was third on the Pirates last season with 220 kills and first with 133 blocks – second in program history. Her goal is to get the record this fall.
“Mandy was very friendly and excited to be here,” Schmidt said. “She met with some of our volleyball and basketball players, and she took to them early on. She easily fit in.”
“They were so welcoming – it made the move a lot easier to deal with,” Withey added. “Several of my current teammates took the time to show me around school and took me to local places. Coach Schmidt went out of his way to make sure I felt comfortable with my new surroundings. He made me feel important and at home.”
Get to know Mandy Withey
Do you come from a basketball family?
Biggest asset to your game?
My ability to jump and rebound. I was a high jumper and long jumper in Chicago.
Jump shot or in the paint?
Definitely the paint. It’s where I naturally go.
Biggest room for improvement?
My patience on offensive put-backs. I’m trying to improve my ability to make contact too and get to the free-throw line more often. I also need to trust my outside shot more.
Best part of Texas?
The sweet tea at Chicken Express. I’m obsessed. I never tried sweet tea until I got to Texas.
Stumpy’s on Lake Granbury
I’m not really a fan. Chicken Express is the best of the best.
Are you a country music fan now?
I’ve always loved country music. I also play guitar and sing. Most of the songs I know are country songs.
Favorite pro team?
Golden State Warriors