Harris to continue hoops career at Toccoa Falls

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After Whitney Harris was involved in a car accident, Toccoa Falls head women's basketball coach Kevin Hall texted her for three consecutive days to check on her.

The Woodland senior hadn't even committed to play for the Screaming Eagles at the time. In fact, she had only just tried out for the team the day before the accident.

And yet, there was Hall, making sure she was doing well.

His actions helped seal Harris' decision to join the Christian-based school.

“How much he cared really inspired me to just go there," Harris said. "It was just the working of the Lord. [Hall] calling me and making sure I was OK, and that’s where I needed to be.”

Harris, who was named Daily Tribune News Player of the Year, suffered a facial laceration in the head-on collision. She needed several stitches in her nose, but despite fighting understandable soreness, managed to play a week later for the Woodland tennis team in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament.

“I was determined I was not going to miss the region tournament,” Harris said.

Her high school basketball coach, Kyle Morgan said it's just another example of what makes Harris a player anybody would be lucky to have on their side.

“She’s the ultimate teammate,” Morgan said. “She’s very selfless in everything she does. From a basketball perspective, she’s willing to do anything and everything to help others. 

“That’s a skill you can’t measure in a box score, particularly with how young we were with just her and one junior and the rest freshmen and sophomores. … She’s going to be successful for the innate qualities she has that you can’t measure in statistics in basketball.”

That's not to say she didn't fill up the box score.

Harris averaged 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game in her only season with the Wildcats. Her biggest attribute proved to be her shooting as she knocked down 59 3-pointers.

It's not difficult to see why Hall wanted Harris to join his program. For Harris, it was a chance to fulfill a virtually lifelong dream, which she achieved Friday when she signed with Toccoa Falls.

“Honestly, I’m so excited,” Harris said. “I worked really hard to make this happen. Just to see it all come true. It was a dream. People always told me, ‘You won’t play college basketball.’ I worked that much harder to make sure this day would come true. Since it has, it’s just a blessing to be here and to be able to sign.”

Harris said she also had an offer from Point University, so it was clear she valued a place where she could grow her faith as well as her basketball game.

“Talking to her and talking to the coach, it seems as if it will be a real good fit,” Morgan said. “She’ll continue to get a good foundation with education, it’s a faith-based college and, additionally, she’ll continue to get to play the game she loves.”

In a press release announcing the signing, Hall was quoted as saying, "Whitney is an awesome young lady that loves the Lord and happens to be a good basketball player too."

At the end of the day, it seemed Hall's genuine concern for someone who wasn't even on his team showed Harris where she was meant to play.

“I had a tryout, and the coach was just amazing,” Harris said of her March tryout. “I met the whole team, and the girls were so sweet and welcomed me in. The Lord just told me that’s where I needed to be.”