Montini's Whitney Adams plows past Springfield's Demi VanDerWal in the second half of play in the girls Class 3A semifinals at Redbird Arena in Normal on Friday.
Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer
Whitney Adams came home from visits to North Carolina in seventh and eighth grades with dreams of being a Tar Heel.
She returned in April and made that dream reality.
Adams, a 6-foot-2 junior forward for Class 3A champion Montini, verbally committed to North Carolina on Friday. Adams becomes the fifth Division I recruit from that team.
"I'm so shocked and speechless," Adams said. "It used to be my dream school when I played at the Deep South Classic (in North Carolina) in seventh and eighth grade. I kind of gave it up, because I didn't think I could play at this level. I knew I could play DI, but not at this level."
Adams had received interest from mid-majors such as Bowling Green and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with Marquette and DePaul among larger schools in the mix. The Naperville resident saw her stock soar at the Deep South Classic AAU tournament held April 16-18 at North Carolina and North Carolina State.
"She's a classic example of a girl who worked and waited out the process," Montini coach Jason Nichols said. "A lot of people want instant success; it doesn't happen all the time. She put the work in and is reaping the benefits. She's come a long, long way."
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell offered Adams on April 20 and she committed in a visit Friday.
North Carolina finished 19-12 last year under 24-year coach Hatchell. Hatchell's Tar Heels won the 1994 national championship and have claimed eight ACC titles. Adams will also find herself playing against this year's Illinois Ms. Basketball Tricia Liston, committed to Duke.
"They live and breathe basketball," Adams said.
Adams, a third-year varsity player, averaged 9.3 points and 6 rebounds last season and was a Daily Herald All-Area selection. She scored 17 points in Montini's sectional final win, then had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the state final against Hillcrest.
An outstanding shooter for her size, Adams hit 4 of Montini's state finals record 12 3-pointers against Hillcrest. She hit 42 3-pointers prior to state at a 38.5 percent clip and shot free throws at an 86 percent rate.
"She's a 6-2 kid that can play inside and shoot 3s," Nichols said. "I still think she has unlimited potential."
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