PDT Sports Contributor
SOUTH WEBSTER – When a player signs with a college program, one will tend to find that if a recruit feels like the aforementioned program is a home away from home, the player will end up signing with that institution.
For Courtney Blanton, the overall atmosphere that the Ohio Christian University campus offered played a huge role in her signing with the Circleville, Ohio based institution.
Blanton, who started all four years for the Jeeps at point guard, has played a major role in South Webster’s improvement as a basketball program over the past several years, as the Jeeps went from a 4-17 overall record during Blanton’s first year with the program to a 19-4 record in her final season with South Webster as the Jeeps went on to make their second OHSAA Division IV Southeast District Final appearance in a row in 2014.
Kristie Johnson said that Blanton took the point guard spot from her freshman year and never looked back from that point on.
“I’m just very proud of the career that she’s had and the person that she’s become,” Johnson said. “Her freshman year, we needed her, and she jumped right in, became our point guard, and just did a great job.
“… The first couple of years were rough, because we were young, but then the last two years, we made the district finals in her junior and senior years. She helped lead us there both years, was our best defender by far and just does a great job defensively. She’s going to be hard to replace next year.”
Blanton said that the atmosphere surrounding the program and the campus helped her feel right at home and played a huge role in her decision as a result.
“I think that a lot of what went into my decision was the overall atmosphere of the campus,” Blanton said. “They also have a great group of girls, a great coach (Matt Futch) who has a great background for basketball, and the program’s very good, from what I’ve heard.”
According to Blanton, her family could sense that the atmosphere surrounding the Ohio Christian campus was appealing to her and encouraged her to go there as a result.
“My Dad loved Coach Futch too, he loved the open gyms that I went to, and both of my parents loved the atmosphere of the campus,” Blanton said. “My sisters were a big part of the decision too, they kept telling me that ‘I think that’s where you need to be,’ so they all definitely played a part in my decision.”
As she developed her leadership skills at South Webster, Blanton said that the experiences that she had with her teammates inspired her to play college basketball.
“I think that being part of a team and talking about having leadership helped me realize that I wanted to play basketball in college,” Blanton said. I also believe that it’s more than just basketball at Ohio Christian. I can go with (the girls that are there) and hang out, joke around and have fun with them. With this past season being as good as it was, it made me realize how much I love basketball and how much I wanted to play.”
Johnson says that Blanton will be asked to run the point guard position at Ohio Christian but also said that Futch could develop her into a combo guard while with the Trailblazers.
“I look for her to run the point,” Johnson said. “I’m sure that Futch will get her to be a great shooting guard as well and will work with her on that aspect of the game. She’s such a great ball handler, so quick, and I look for her to help Ohio Christian play a quicker brand of basketball. Defensively, she’s so aggressive and I look for her to fit right in and do a great job for the program.”
Ohio Christian’s nursing program also played a huge role in Blanton’s decision as the incoming Trailblazer will major in that field of study beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year. Blanton said that she wants to participate in the missionary groups that are offered at the university while gaining the necessary experience to become a registered nurse.
“I think that being able go and participate in the missionary groups and potentially have a job at a hospital as an RN are the goals that I am looking forward to setting and completing while I am at Ohio Christian,” Blanton said.
Blanton also mentioned that the campus gives her the opportunity to travel to different places while also allowing her to take classes and play the sport that she enjoys so much.