Ever since she first picked up a basketball as a young child, Emily Fox has aspired to play Division I basketball.
The 5-9 guard, now a Lincoln County High School senior who helped lead the Lady Patriots to a 12th Region title and Final Four state finish last season, has made that dream come true by signing her letter-of-intent to play basketball for Austin Peay University.
The Lincoln girls basketball team gathered in the school auditorium just before the Thanksgiving break to watch as Fox committed to the Lady Govs.
“I’ve been playing basketball since I was 5 years old and ever since then I have always wanted to play Division I basketball,” she said.
But Division I playing time, points scored and championships won were not a priority when Fox began her college search.
“No, it (playing Division I basketball) may have been a dream, but I was more concerned about my education and finding the perfect fit.”
And it didn’t take long for Fox to find that “perfect fit.” Georgetown College, Northern Kentucky University and Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., all came courting, however, it was Austin Peay that sized up just right – right from the first.
“My only visits were to Austin Peay,” Fox said. “Coach (Cassandra) McWhorter took me there for an unofficial visit, and I took my parents with me on my official visit. Once I knew that my parents liked it as much as I did, I knew that was where I was going.”
Fox said that the Clarksville, Tenn., school had everything she was looking for in her college search from athletics to community to, most importantly, academics.
“I¿visited the campus a couple of times earlier in the year and the coaching staff and players were all very nice,” said Fox. “The campus was just the right size, not too big and not too small, and they also have a pre-physical therapy program. I just felt like it was the perfect fit for me”
Coincidentally, Austin Peay is the alma mater of Fox’s high school coach Cassandra McWhorter. However, Fox said that did not factor in her decision.
“No, it just sort of happened that way,”¿said Fox, who first knew of Austin Peay’s interest during last year’s Lexington Catholic Christmas tournament.
Once her college decision was made, Fox wanted to sign on the dotted line of her letter-of-intent as soon as possible.
“I really liked the school and I wanted to get it over with before my senior season started so I could focus more on my high school team,” she said.
Fox and her Lady Patriot teammates are looking to defend their 12th Region title and a return trip to the girls Sweet 16. Fox, who was named second team All-State by the Associated Press and The Courier-Journal and all-tournament at the district, region and state levels, averaged 17.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game as a junior. She shot 46 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range (90 of 227) and 76 percent at the foul line.
The Lady Govs, coached by Carrie Daniels, finished 9-22 last season, falling in the second round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
Fox, who was recruited as a shooting guard, says she is uncertain as to her role on the team as an incoming freshman.
“I will play a shooting guard, but can handle the ball at times as well,” she said “They haven’t indicated on playing time, but I’m sure it will depend on who works the hardest.”
The decisions and signing may be over but the adventure is just beginning. Fox can now enjoy her senior basketball season and anticipate her new collegiate career at Austin Peay.
“Yes, I don’t have to worry about it any more. It’s done and a very big relief,” she said.
But is the Lady Patriot senior prepared for the changes that the jump to the collegiate level will bring?
“It will be a big transition,” Fox said. “But Coach McWhorter has been preparing me for it and telling me what to expect.”
Fox is the daughter of Tammy and Stanley Fox of McKinney.