On her way to Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., Kaylen Dickson didn't need to hop on a plane to reach the skies.
She was already on Cloud Nine.
The Warren junior basketball player had just spent two sun-splashed days in historic Winston-Salem on an official visit to Wake Forest University.
"They were driving me back to the airport," said Dickson, who flew back from her fun-filled weekend on Easter morning. "They asked, 'So, Kaylen, are you ready to commit?' ... And I said yes."
Well, of course, she did, giving a verbal commitment to Demon Deacons head coach Jen Hoover. When she wasn't smiling last weekend, Dickson was eating well and enjoying beautiful downtown Winston-Salem.
"I was so taken with the place, I had to commit," Dickson said. "They knew that I was leaning toward them. They were my No. 1 choice. It's so beautiful. The campus is so nice.
"And they have a 24-hour Subway," she added, laughing. "So what else do you need?"
As a basketball player, the athletic Dickson offers skills that make a coach salivate. A tennis player before her dad and her best friend, Camille Cuevas, urged her to try basketball in the seventh grade, Dickson has yet to reach her potential. In her third varsity season and second as a starter last winter, she enjoyed a breakout season with averages of 15.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, helping Warren win 25 games.
She calls herself a "point forward" on her Twitter page and stands 6 feet "in shoes." She plans on expanding her game.
"I believe I need to get better at shooting long-range," Dickson said. "I'm working on getting out farther and being more consistent."
She's also working on her "handles," she said. Wake Forest knows what it's getting, as Hoover saw her play at Grayslake North this past season, and associate coach Mike Terry watched her play multiple times. Dickson also had offers from Marquette, Cleveland State, Utah, Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois.
While Wake Forest recruited her heavily, first offering her a scholarship last winter, her visit last weekend sealed her decision. Wake Forest went 16-16, including 6-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, in Hoover's fifth season.
"(Wake Forest's) dorms are really nice, and the girls on the team were nice," Dickson said. "The Winston-Salem downtown is under a resurgence. They're rebuilding it, and it looks beautiful.
"And there are a bunch of really nice restaurants that we went to. I'm really jealous that I'm not there now to eat at them."
Mind you, Dickson is thin.
"I do eat a lot," she said with a laugh. "My dad doesn't think I eat enough, actually."
Dickson's father, Pete, played football at Western Michigan as a defensive back. Her half-brother, Tyler Dickson, played football as a receiver at West Point.
Now, she gets to continue the family's tradition of Division-I athletes.
"(Wake Forest) is top-notch (academically) without being Ivy League, and they also offer an amazing chance to play against some of the greatest teams around," Dickson said. "(The ACC) is a power conference, and I'd love to be a part of that. ... I'm really excited. I already want to go back. I love it there."
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