Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High's Keeley Carter was selected as the District 8-AA Player of the Year, District 8-AA Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP), Region 4-AA Tournament MVP and to the Class AA All-State Tournament Team last season.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High's Keeley Carter was selected as the District 8-AA Player of the Year, District 8-AA Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP), Region 4-AA Tournament MVP and to the Class AA All-State Tournament Team last season.

Keeley Carter plans to take a roommate with her to college.

That was of the factors -- albeit a small one -- involved in the Macon County High girls basketball standout's decision to continue her education and basketball career at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Carter announced her decision on Sunday evening.

"Distance-wise, it's a lot closer to home," Carter said. "My parents are going to get to come to almost every game we have. It's right next to Nashville. My nursing degree actually comes from Belmont (University), because they have a partnership with them.

"And I'm allowed to have a cat on campus. I have five cats. I love cats. I'll have to bring just one of them. I have a little Siamese kitten named Rue. I just got her about three months ago."

Trevecca head coach Chad Hibdon is inevitably more concerned with Carter than with Rue.

Carter's decision came down to two schools, Trevecca and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

"It was tough," Carter said of the choice. "This school had some positives. That school had some positives. In the end, Trevecca is what fit me the best."

Hibdon is entering his fourth season at the helm of the program. Over that span, the Lady Trojans have compiled a 29-53 overall and 22-36 record in Great Midwest Conference play. Last season, Trevecca had a 12-17 overall record and an 11-11 mark in conference play.

"Trevecca was just hopefully immediate playing time and lot of minutes," Carter said. "I really like Coach Hibdon. He's always been straightforward. We compare him to Coach (Larry) White (the Tigerettes' head coach) all the time. He's such a great guy.

"I'm excited to join their program. Their style of play I like. Everything about it I liked."

In addition to Trevecca and Alabama-Huntsville, Carter also had scholarship offers from Austin Peay State University, Arkansas State University, Carson-Newman University, Gardner-Webb (North Carolina) University and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Her first offer came from UT-Martin following her freshman year.

"It was always fun to see them notice how you played," Carter said. "I really like getting to build relationships with all those people I've talked to. It was stressful. I would get five or six calls a day. My friends would be going somewhere, but I would be able to go because I was at a college.

"I kind of wanted to get it done. After summer, I was like, 'I would like to commit before basketball season starts, my senior year.' Now, I cannot stress about it anymore."

Carter pointed to the impact of her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team on her recruiting.

"I would have never got this opportunity if I hadn't signed up for Tennessee Flight," Carter - who has been playing for the Murfreesboro-based team for the past three summers - said. "It was a lot of exposure stuff (playing in tournaments where college coaches would be scouting players). They really help. Whoever plays for them, they help get them noticed."

Carter is also a soccer standout for Macon County High and contemplated also playing soccer at the collegiate level.

"We kind of talked about it there (at Alabama-Huntsville)," Carter said. "I was excited about it. I wouldn't have to drop the sport, but when I look at the big picture, I'm going to be trying to earn a degree to get a career in that path. I just think it would have been too much."

Carter is coming off of a junior season in which she averaged 18.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, having shot 53 percent from the field and 85 percent at the free-throw line. She was selected as the District 8-AA Player of the Year, the 8-AA Tournament Most Valuable Player, the Region 4-AA Tournament MVP and was named to the Class AA All-State Tournament Team and to the Tennessee Basketball Report All-State Team.

The Tigerettes reached the state tournament for the third consecutive season.

"I would have never imagined that … especially my freshman year," Carter said. "That was probably the best run we've had.

"It's been a wild journey. All the people in my class, we've always been to the (big) tournaments. I think we went undefeated our fifth and sixth-grade year. I don't think we've had a losing season. Coach White always tells us that you are lucky to have not had a losing season so far … just be grateful for that."

Macon County is still in search of the program's first state championship. The Tigerettes have lost to the state champion in each of the last two seasons, an overtime loss to Upperman in the 2018 Class AA state championship game and a state semifinal loss to Cheatham County in March.

"I hope we go undefeated and end up winning the state tournament," Carter said. "We're very capable. The past few years, we've been closer every time. We didn't lose anybody (from last season's squad). We have whole team back and are adding some freshmen. If we stay on top of things and work hard, we'll have a shot to win it this year."

While Carter is focused on team goals, there has been one individual goal that has eluded her.

"Hopefully, I'd like to clinch a Miss Basketball this year," Carter said. "I'd be very honored if I got chosen for that."

Carter is the second area basketball player to verbally commit in the past month. Red Boiling Springs High senior center Dalton Marsh - who played his freshman season at Macon County High - committed to Missouri Western State University last month.

Despite her excitement, Carter - who hopes to be a neonatal nurse practitioner - pointed out that she'll miss being a part of Macon County High.

"My friends that go here, when we all split apart and go our separate ways, it'll be tough," Carter said. "The basketball fans who always support us, that'll be missed.

"It is odd. I've played for Macon County since I was little. It's a switch playing for a new team and leaving (familiar) people and playing with new people. I'm excited though. I'll just have to get used to it."