Friday, September 23, 2011

Lauren Avant transfers to Rhodes College

The freshman guard from Memphis who played for Tennessee for one season in 2010-11 – and rescued the Lady Vols from what appeared to be a defeat at Vanderbilt last February to keep intact the undefeated run through the SEC – announced her decision to leave the program a few days after the season ended.

“I tried to make the best decision for me looking at the long run and trying to pursue my goals of being a doctor while maintaining my health,” Lauren Avant said in a phone interview with Inside Tennessee. “I still love the program. I keep in touch with my teammates so I still feel a part of the team, and everyone is supportive.”

When the spring semester ended, Avant returned to Memphis to consider her options – the standout student was a junior in terms of credit hours when she left Knoxville because of Advanced Placement credits that she had earned in high school at the prestigious Lausanne prep school – and she decided to enroll at Rhodes College, a private school that competes in Division III in her hometown.

Since Avant transferred to a smaller division instead of Division I, she doesn’t have to sit out an NCAA transfer year and after getting medical clearance – she has sustained concussions in the past, among other issues – she can suit up this fall for Rhodes.

“Yes ma’am, if my health permits,” Avant said. “I visited a neurologist and I am still seeing my physician about my ankle.”

Avant will major in biology on a pre-med track with a minor in psychology. The intense focus on academics combined with the physical pain from a litany of injuries – she endured a serious shoulder injury in a car wreck prior to her arrival at Tennessee that took her off the court for most of her senior year of high school and then had serious hand and ankle injuries while at Tennessee – led her to the decision to try to play basketball at a smaller school and commit more time to her medical ambitions to strike a better balance between the two.

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