Monroe High School girls basketball star Davone Anduze, center, is surrounded by friends, family and her head coach, Cheryl Cheeks, back row, third from left, as she signs on the dotted line with Atlanta Metro College on Monday at the school. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — She always knew she wanted to play basketball, and by the time she was 14 she knew she wanted to play past high school.
That’s why Monroe’s Davone Anduze was smiling big-time Monday morning when she signed a letter-of-intent to accept a scholarship to Atlanta Metro.
“I always loved basketball,’’ said Anduze, who also played softball and was a track star at Monroe. “I started playing in fifth grade and loved the sport. It’s always been that way. I loved it (from the very beginning).’’
Anduze, who at 5-10, was fast enough and athletic enough to play guard or forward for Monroe, was a four-year starter for the Lady Tornadoes. She was a intricate part of Monroe’s rise as a girls basketball power.
“She started all four years and was a big part of what we do, pressing the basketball,’’ Monroe coach Cheryl Cheeks said. “She was especially good on defense. She was our best defensive player.’’
Anduze talked to three other schools but felt Atlanta Metro was the right place.
“I really liked it there when I visited the campus,’’ said Anduze, who has a 3.0 GPA and plans to major in sports medicine. “I loved the atmosphere. Everybody knows each other and they are real close. I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. I was a little worried about feeling overwhelmed, but I felt comfortable there.’’
Anduze led the Lady Tornadoes in rebounding, averaging 10.8 rebounds a game, and she averaged 5.6 points. Her speed and toughness on defense fit right in with Monroe’s aggressive style of play, which produced more turnovers than any girls team in Southwest Georgia. Cheeks’ brand of defense turned the program around. Monroe won just four games when Cheeks arrived but the next year when Anduze was a freshman her team made a run in the playoffs and has been a state power the last two seasons.
Anduze was always a part of it.
“When I was a freshman, I starting thinking about getting a basketball scholarship,’’ Anduze said. “I had an impact on the team as a freshman and wanted to get better.’’
She did. Anduze was also part of Monroe’s state champion track & field teams and went to the state meet two of her four years. She was one of the top 400-meter runners in the state and also ran on Monroe’s relay teams that captured state titles. She was injured her sophomore year and sat out the postseason this spring because of a nagging injury. But she always put basketball first.
“I’m proud of her and happy she is signing,’’ Cheeks said. “She has worked hard, and she will be a great asset to their program.’’