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Debra Pegram knew Makayla Everette was going to be a special player the first time the Beddingfield High varsity girls basketball coach met her future star at a summer basketball camp about seven years ago.
“This little fifth grader came that was about 5-(foot)-7 and really awkward and whatnot from Winstead (Elementary), and she was literally the only girl who showed up!” Pegram recalled of her now 6-4 senior.
In that time, Everette has developed into player worthy of continuing play into the collegiate level. After earning a scholarship offer from North Carolina A&T State University last year, Everette gave a verbal commitment to the Aggies. However, over the course of her senior season, Everette had a change of heart. On Monday, that change of heart became official as she signed her National Letter of Intent to attend Louisburg College, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
“I just thought it was a better fit,” Everette said in a telephone interview Sunday. “I just felt like the class sizes are smaller and I can focus on grades first.”
Everette said that she made up her mind on a recent visit to Louisburg to meet Hurricanes head coach Jason Rasnake and assistant coach Courtney Brewer.
“I went there for a visit and I felt welcomed. The players are like sisters and I liked the atmosphere,” Everette said.
The daughter of Michelle Everette of Wilson and Keith Everette of Raleigh, Everette said that she is thinking of majoring in sports medicine. The smaller class sizes at Louisburg were also a factor in her decision.
“I can focus on grades first,” Everette said. “I think it was a good choice because I can see what it’s like before I transfer to a bigger school and I can get a feel for it.”
With her size and strength, Everette certainly will bring immediate help to the Hurricanes, who finished 17-9 in Rasnake’s first season at the helm this year. Louisburg finished fourth out of nine teams in Region X’s Division II. Pegram certainly thinks so.
“I mean, she’s got so much potential,” the veteran Lady Bruins mentor said. “She could be an incredible basketball player. She has a lot of great tools: She’s got great hands, great feet and that just one factor of trying to get stronger. And if you get stronger, of course your endurance and speed’s going to want to just blossom. And that’s what she’ll get at Louisburg.
“It’ll be awakening the amount of strength training they do in college; it’ll be great for her. And I just think it’s going to take her game to a whole new level. I personally think she played her very best basketball, probably the last eight games of the season. I think she realized that, you know, my time is short here in high school and I need to bring it and she really became a monster the last couple games, especially, in her senior season.”
Everette had earned recruiting attention from Atlantic Coast Conference programs North Carolina and North Carolina State as well as East Carolina
Everette said she’s going to have adapt to the pace of play in college, even though she spent four years playing in Pegram’s up-tempo style.
“I need to get up and down the court, No. 1, and defense,” Everette said. “I need to extend my shooting.”
But it’s her shooting touch, Pegram said, that made Everette stand out.
“She’s one of the best shooters I’ve had in a while,” Pegram said. “I mean she truly has got a nice shot and I think most college coaches that’s what her appeal was when they saw her play. She’s got soft hands, and she’s got an incredible shooting touch. She she can even stroke the 3. I know I didn’t ever give her a chance a lot — because we needed her so much on the inside — but she’s got a beautiful shot, she’s got a great mid-range game.
“She’s one of the best foul-shooting centers I’ve ever coached. That’s why some of the colleges saw how soft her hands were and her feet and how coordinated she was and her soft shooting touch, that started getting her a lot of attention.”