NICEVILLE – On the heels of a standout two-year career at Northwest Florida State College, Maryland native Carla Batchelor has decided she wants to spend a little more time in the Sunshine State.
On Wednesday, Batchelor announced that she was verbally committing to play her final two years of collegiate basketball at The University of Florida, giving NWF State its third player to sign with a Southeastern Conference school in the past two years.
“When I visited, it just felt like home,” said Batchelor, a two-time All-Panhandle Conference performer for the Lady Raiders. “I totally forgot I was on a visit, that’s how comfortable I was over there.”
Batchelor, who helped the Lady Raiders win 53 games and make back-to-back NJCAA National Tournament appearances during her career, will join a Florida program that finishes 21-13 with a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament this season.
Originally from Germantown, Md., the 6-0 forward averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a freshman, and followed that with averages of 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds during her sophomore campaign.
“She is a young lady who worked her way into having an opportunity to attend the University of Florida,” said NWF State head coach Patrick Harrington. “As a player, she has great versatility. I like the way she passes, the way she cuts without the basketball…She has worked really hard to turn herself into a threat on the perimeter.
“And she still has room to grow.”
Batchelor chose Florida after visits to Pittsburgh and Memphis, among others.
Batchelor will sign with the Gators today.
“I am ecstatic, relieved,” said Batchelor. “I am thankful for this opportunity.”
For Harrington’s Lady Raiders, Batchelor is the third player to sign with a Division-I university this season. Forward Rudiane Eduardo signed with UTEP and center Brittany Howard is headed to Wichita State.
“When young ladies come to our program, winning is a byproduct of helping them achieve their dreams,” said Harrington. “Carla came in, she worked hard, she put forth incredible effort. And now she gets to continue her education and her basketball career.”