Playing college athletics on a scholarship forces college athletes to take on many responsibilities right out of high school, such as keeping their grades up, coming to practice everyday and giving 100 percent effort to your teammates.
However, these players are rewarded with a free education, housing and meal plan. Chandler Christopher is one of the brave souls who initially took on all of those responsibilities without the benefits when she walked onto the ETSU women’s basketball team.
Christopher came to ETSU in 2012 from Greenville, Tennessee. In high school, she was a four-time all-conference, all-district and all Greene County honoree. She earned all-region honors as a sophomore, junior and senior, netted over 1,000 points and broke the school assists record as a senior, according to ETSU Athletics.
Christopher chose to come to ETSU after getting offers from a few other schools in the conference. Injuries made her think about ending her basketball career, so she decided to stay closer to home for college.
“The reason I chose to walk-on is that I missed the feeling of being on a team,” said Christopher.
In May of her sophomore year, she went into coach Brittney Ezell’s office and made her case to be a scholarship athlete. A few days later, Ezell gave Christopher the good news.
Christopher is just one of two seniors on the team, along with forward Shomari Kendrick. Last season, Christopher played in 33 games, starting 32 of those games. She averaged 7.5 points a game, making 33 three-point baskets in the 2014-15 season.
“Being the only senior on the team that has played all four years, I hope that I can prove to my coaches and teammates that I am capable of taking on that leadership role this year,” said Christopher.
On top of being a star player for the Lady Buccaneers, Christopher is also in the ETSU nursing program, which is one of the top nursing programs in Tennessee.
“I have missed a few clinicals that I have had to make [up], and a practice here or there for nursing, but both the nursing program and coach Ezell have been great and worked with me,” said Christopher.
Christopher said she is looking forward to this season and that the Lady Bucs should be as good or even better than they were last season.
In the team’s first win of the regular season, Christopher recorded 18 points and seven assists, leading the team in each category as the Bucs got the win over UNC Asheville, 74-68. In ETSU’s last game, she scored seven points and had four assists in the loss to Wake Forest.
The Lady Bucs are playing another season in Brooks Gym and look to continue the success they had last season when the team went 21-12, with a 11-3 record in Southern Conference play.
“I love playing in Brooks Gym,” Christopher said, “because in the Dome if there is 500 people, it feels like 5, but in Brooks if there’s 500, it feels like 5,000.”
The women’s basketball team will play its next game Nov. 19 against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. It will be back in Johnson City on Nov. 21 to play Brevard College before beginning a five-game road stand.