Aug 6, 2014
Every time Millbrook High School point guard Kai Crutchfield spoke to her parents about college, she kept coming back to the same conclusion: North Carolina State University was the place for her.
"It really felt like home. I really love the staff," Crutchfield said. "I love the way I interact with the staff, the people, the area."
Millbrook coach Chris East says he thinks it is a good fit for her too.
"I think she picked a great situation with NC State," East said. "Coach [Wes] Moore and his staff did an excellent job recruiting her. Obviously they've seen something they like. They told her that she was their number one priority in that class.
"That class" is the Class of 2017. Crutchfield is just a rising sophomore, but she had no reservations about committing early."
I really wanted to go ahead, finish it, and get it over with ... I was ready. I already knew where I wanted to go, so I just went ahead and did it," she said. "It feels really good. I'm able to establish relationships with the coaches and it's kind of a relief. I can just go out, play, and have fun."
With three years left at Millbrook, there's still a lot of playing to be done, but there's also a lot of work.
Crutchfield said she wants to improve her overall game over the next three seasons at Millbrook, including her 3-point shooting and her aggressiveness.
"Being more aggressive is the main thing that people have said, so I just want to be more aggressive and show them what I can do," said Crutchfield.
East has no doubt that her ceiling is very high.
"I think she can be pretty good. She may be one of the best that has come through here, in this area, in a long time," he said. "The best thing about her is her work ethic. She is always improving. She lives in the gym, and those are the kids that I want in my program – kids that will do whatever it takes to get better."
"The work's never done. No days off," Crutchfield said with a smile.
One of the reasons she will continue to work hard is the fact that she will be playing college basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference, what she calls the best women's basketball conference in the country.
"My impact isn't going to be immediate because of the different type of competition, it's not like I'm going to be a stud and just be able to be the fastest one of the court," she said. "There are going to be some guards who are faster than me, so that's stuff that I have to work on."
Being close to home means Crutchfield will have a lot of support along the way too.
"I have great background support. My parents are very supportive of me; they follow me through the process, they support me, and I love that. I love them being around," she said.
Crutchfield, who stands at 5-foot-9, averaged 12.5 points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season for the Wildcats. Millbrook finished with a 24-4 overall record, clinching a share of the Cap 8 Conference championship, and advancing to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-AA Eastern Regional semifinals.
With numerous underclassmen on last season's team, Crutchfield said she can now focus all of her attention on winning in high school – something she thinks they can do a lot of.
Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT
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