Women's Hoops: Louisville forward commits

Amber Norton, a 6'1 forward from Louisville, Kentucky, announced on Wednesday that she has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Vanderbilt. The rising senior at Assumption High School will become a Commodore in the fall of 2006

The two words that describe her best are "smooth banger", according to her step-father Mike Buckley. "She's very athletic, very fluid, fundamental and loves to get physical," he told VandyMania on Wednesday. "And she runs the floor extremely well. She's very quick."

During her first three years at Assumption, Norton has averaged 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and was named to the AP All-State third Team in 2005.

A host of other schools recruited Norton, including Baylor, Ohio State, and Rutgers as well as schools closer to home including Kentucky, Louisville, Xavier, and Cincinnati.

In the end, several factors entered into Norton's decision to attend Vanderbilt.

"When the whole recruiting process started, I knew I wanted to stay close to home, so automatically when Vandy started recruiting me, they were one of the top ones because it's such a good academic school," said Norton by phone on Wednesday, "and they always have good programs every year.

The turning point for Norton came at Vanderbilt's Team Challenge camp in June. "My team went to the Vanderbilt team camp," she said, "and while I was down there, I was able to tour the campus, meet the coaches and talk to the players, and I just really liked it and felt like I would really fit in.

"And the location is great. I love that it's in Nashville. There's a lot of stuff of to do, but the campus is kind of secluded. When you're on the campus, you'd never know that you're in downtown Nashville.

"My family's just two hour and a half hours away so they can come and watch me play. I just loved everything about it."

Norton becomes the second player from Louisville to commit to Vanderbilt. Earlier in the week, Christian Academy point guard Merideth Marsh announced her decision to attend Vanderbilt.

Besides being occasional opponents when their school teams play each other, they're also long-time friends and teammates in AAU.

They started playing AAU together when they were ten years old and have been teammates in AAU ever since. This summer they're playing together for The Family from Indianapolis, one of the top AAU teams in the country, who won the prestigious Nike USA Cup tournament earlier in the summer.

Norton is the fourth high school senior to announce her commitment to attend Vanderbilt, joining Marsh, Lauren Lueders, a 5'8 guard from Jackson, Missouri, and Jessica Mooney, a 5'9 guard from Nashville.

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