After missing almost the entirety of his sophomore season with an injury, Grayson Carter transferred to Guyer from Dallas Bishop Dunne and immediately filled a role the Wildcats were missing.
Carter averaged a team-high 7.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while scoring 11.2 points per game as a junior, earning first-team all-district honors on a team that went 25-6 and won the District 6-6A championship. He had 18 offers on the table before announcing his commitment to Georgetown in September, and made things official by signing a national letter of intent Wednesday.
"I think his biggest impact is as a person," Guyer coach Grant Long said. "He has great character, is an intelligent kid and he's great in the classroom — really the total package. On top of all that, he's a great basketball player. He makes it easy on you as a coach."
Carter pointed to Georgetown's academic prowess and traditional basketball success as a key factor in his commitment and reiterated those points after signing with the Hoyas. He entered the day as one of three Georgetown commits in the class of 2018, joining four-star power forward Josh LeBlanc and three-star point guard Mac McClung.
"The relationship with the coaches was another big thing," Carter said. "I just clicked with the whole staff and the team there. That had a huge impact on me."
Carter is the first of several players on the Wildcats' roster who will sign a national letter of intent over the next year. Junior De'Vion Harmon committed to Oklahoma last week, and junior Jalen Wilson has several big-time offers on the table.
As a senior, Carter takes pride in holding a leadership role for some of the team's younger talent.
"You hope you're lucky enough to have one of your top players be that type of leader," Long said. "The younger guys see how it's done and it continues to build your culture."
The Wildcats enter the year as the state's No. 2 team in Class 6A. After being bounced by Euless Trinity in the first round of the playoffs last season, Carter is focused on ending his high school career on a much higher note.
"Our main goal right now is obviously state," Carter said. "But really we just want to reach our full potential as a team, whether that's state or not. It's my last year, so I just want to have fun, win and get closer with my friends on the court."
Lady Wildcat trio goes Division I
After a year that included a return to the playoffs under new coach Heather Van Noy, the Guyer volleyball team had three seniors sign national letters of intent to play at the Division I level.
Kate Cowan (LSU), Angel Felan (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and Mallory Pittman (Texas State) played a vital role in guiding the Lady Wildcats back into the postseason and set the bar high in Van Noy's first season.
"It was a super dynamic group of seniors," Van Noy said. "All three said in seventh or eighth grade they wanted to play D-I volleyball, and now they're doing it. That just kind of shows the tenacity of this group of girls and their fight to get what they want. I'm just super proud of them."
Cowan was the first of the bunch to announce her commitment in March before going on to lead the team with 691 digs and 56 aces as the libero. She was named to the All-District 6-6A first team, and said LSU felt like the right fit from the beginning.
"It's kind of like everything is surreal now," Cowan said. "It's a breath of fresh air and now I get to focus on what lies ahead. When I got there, it just felt like home. I'm just so excited to get there."
Pittman committed to the Lady Bobcats shortly after the season began in August, while Felan made her initial pledge to the Islanders in October. Felan, who was second-team all-district this season, had 596 assists. Among other factors, it was the school's location that sealed the deal.
"I liked the atmosphere," Felan said. "The team is like one big family. But I like the beach, so that's definitely nice too. It had a big impact."
Pittman had 256 kills for Guyer as a senior and received all-district honorable mention. She said leaving a legacy for a strong group of underclassmen was one of the most rewarding parts of the signing day experience.
"We never realized that this day would come," Pittman said. "It's really nice to have the girls know we want the best for them when we leave."
Denton's Means signs with Louisiana-Monroe
Jamie Means fulfilled a lifelong dream when she signed her letter of intent to play basketball for Louisiana-Monroe surrounded by friends, teammates and family at Denton on Wednesday.
"I chose Louisiana-Monroe because it's big but not too big," Means said. "It felt like home and I know I won't be just another number on the roster.
"The coaching staff and team made me feel welcome and that I could make an immediate impact, which was the biggest selling point for me."
Means is a four-year starter for the Lady Broncos and led them to the playoffs the last two years after a 10-year absence. She was the District 5-5A newcomer of the year in 2015, first-team all-district the last two years and first-team all-area last season. She averaged 15 points and eight rebounds as a junior.
Coach Erin Taylor said she was invaluable to the program and the first Lady Bronco in over a decade to record 1,000 career points.
"I'm happy that I get to sign now before my senior season starts and I can focus on winning and having a great last season as a Lady Bronco," Means said.
Benton to play at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Lauren Heard (TCU) and Sydney Meador (Southwestern Assemblies of God) led the way for the Guyer girls basketball team last season, and A'Lexiss Benton will be relied upon heavily this year.
After scoring a team-high 19 points to lead Guyer to a win in its opener Tuesday, Benton took a huge weight off her shoulders when she decided to pursue a college career with Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor next season.
UMHB won 18 games last season and was picked to win the American Southwest Conference West Division this season.
Lady Raider duo on way to Henderson State
Brianna Leeds and Cecily Rodriguez have been a package deal for the Ryan softball team over the last few years, and they'll find themselves in a similar boat next year after both signed with Henderson State.
Leeds was 21-11-1 in the circle last year with 159 strikeouts in 172 innings. Rodriguez, a speedy shortstop, set a Ryan single-season record with 33 stolen bases while batting .447 with eight doubles, two triples, four home runs and 22 RBIs. Their play helped Ryan reach the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Guyer's Holder, Murillo off to next level
Two Guyer softball players — Maddy Holder and Sylvia Murillo — signed national letters of intent. Holder, who was a second-team all-district outfielder as a junior last year, hit .326 with 19 RBIs. She signed with Weatherford College.
Murillo, a second-team all-district first baseman, signed with Oklahoma Panhandle State. She hit .360 as a junior.
Canuteson to go JUCO route
Ryan pitcher Cole Canuteson has a chance to extend his playing career at Grayson College. As a junior, Canuteson was 4-6 with a 4.23 ERA. He finished with 70 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.
Sprabary to play volleyball at Lees-McRae
McKenzie Sprabary signed on the dotted line to extend her volleyball career at Lees-McRae in North Carolina. Sprabary was one of four seniors on an otherwise young Denton team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In her final season, the outside hitter recorded 143 kills, 19 blocks and 62 digs.
Staff writer Steve Gamel and contributing writer Jimmy Isbell contributed to this report.