Shelbie Davenport, granddaughter of Celina High School athletic great and Clay County Sports Hall of Fame member Danny Watson, committed to Clemson University of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) this past week becoming the second player from her Murfreesboro Riverdale High School basketball team to commit to a Division I basketball program.
“I can’t put into words what it means to commit,” Davenport said. “I’m not thinking about it all the time. I’m not waiting for a phone call, or opening letters. “Now I can just play ball.”
Commitments are non-binding for the athlete and the school. players cannot sign until November 13 when the one-week early signing period begins.
Davenport, a 6-foot shooting guard, averaged 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists this past season for Riverdale’s Lady Warriors which completed a 35-0 season to repeat as state champion. Riverdale was also named national champion by both ESPN and MaxPreps.
Davenport joins teammate Alexa Middleton as a Division I commitment on this year’s team. Middleton is committed to the University of Tennessee.
Clemson is coached by Audra Smith, who is in her first season. Clemson is coming off a 9-21 season, 5-13 in the ACC.
Davenport fits the mold of the players Coach Smith is looking for, players who are hard working and team orientated. During her time at Riverdale she played all positions on the floor usually drawing the defensive assignment of guarding a much taller post player.
As the first Clemson committed player for 2014, Davenport says she realizes the faith they are placing in her.
Davenport had offers from MTSU and Lipscomb among others. She said she had dreamed of going to Vanderbilt, but never received an offer.
“That’s where I wanted to be,” Davenport said. “When they finished their recruiting list and I wasn’t offered, I was devastated. I didn’t know where I wanted to be because I had always set my goals on going there.”
When Clemson came calling she knew this was where she wanted to be. Davenport Googled the program and coaching staff to get as much information on the program as possible. The recruitment was brief, only two to three days.
“My family said to do what you want,” she said. “If I wanted to go big, go big. If I wanted to go small, go small. They supported me with whatever I wanted to do.”
Shelbie’s uncle Troy Watson is especially excited about the news as this will allow him to see her play at least once each season when they visit Boston College.