New Hoops Coach Receives First Auburn Commitment

Nashville, Tenn.--Auburn has picked up the first verbal commitment of the Nell Fortner Era of women's basketball with 5-9 guard Chantelle Blakely of Antioch High School announcing that she will sign with Auburn in November.

Blakely, who will be a senior this coming season, was one of the standouts last week at Fortner's first Auburn basketball camp. An athletic performer, who can play both guard positions, she averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game as a junior at Antioch. She is known as a strong defensive player.

Blakely is also a standout for the Nashville Pacesetters and will be playing at the AAU national tournament with that team in July.

"Chantelle was very interested in Auburn before she went to the basketball camp there," says Marcus Wilson, her godfather. "After spending time with Coach Fortner and her staff at Auburn, she decided that Auburn is where she wants to attend college.

Chantelle Blakely

"I would say her decision is 50 percent that she wanted to come to Auburn and 50 percent that she was impressed with Coach Fortner and the Auburn staff," Wilson adds. "She was especially impressed with Coach Fortner's knowledge of the game and her background as U.S. Olympic coach and a WNBA coach."

The 17-year-old is an honor student, who is expected to be a pre-medicine major at Auburn. She is interested in becoming a pediatrician.

On the court, Blakely is a physical player, especially for a rising senior in high school. She is a tenacious competitor with quick feet and offensively is a strong passer with good court awareness.

Blakely will join the Auburn program for the 2005-2006 season.

Earlier this month, the new men's basketball coach, Jeff Lebo, picked up an early verbal commitment from Rasheem Barrett, a guard prospect for the 2005-2006 signee class.

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