Cedar Hill Graduate Eager For Metroplex Homecoming
(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Over the next couple of weeks, college students will return home to see their families and catch up with old friends.
But few will do so in a nearly 10,000 seat arena.
Wichita State sophomore guard DJ McCarty, a Cedar Hill High School Class of 2019 Graduate, will be back in the Metroplex tomorrow when the Shockers visit North Texas at the UNT Coliseum, aka Super Pit, located just 55 miles north of Cedar Hill.
McCarty is expecting to have an entire section of family and friends wearing gold and black, cheering for her during the game.
“It’s always fun playing close to him,” McCarty said. “I’m very big on where I’m from, and I know a lot of the players on UNT.”
This isn’t the first time McCarty will be back in the Metroplex. Wichita State is a member of the American Athletic Conference (AAC), which also includes SMU. WSU visited SMU last season and also competes in the AAC Conference Tournament at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
But due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was a challenge for families to attend the games. McCarty’s parents attended the AAC Tournament last season but due to COVID, they couldn’t attend many of WSU’s home or away games.
At Wichita State – located 380 miles north of Cedar Hill (just under a six-hour drive on Interstate 35), McCarty is studying Business/Finance with the goal of returning to the Dallas area to become a Real Estate agent upon graduation from college. She is a junior academically, even though she is a sophomore with eligibility running through 2023-2024.
McCarty moved to Cedar Hill in 2015 – the second semester of her eighth grade year – and enrolled at Bessie Coleman Middle School.
She was a four year varsity player for the Lady Longhorns, winning a district championship as a senior. McCarty was part of four teams that reached the Regional Quarterfinals and went 114-36 over that span. She earned All-State honors with 1,958 points and 805 rebounds.
Coach Collins Says McCarty was ‘Kind of Kid A Coach Dreams Of’
“It’s not many times in their career that a coach can say one of their best players was consistently the hardest worker on the floor in practice and in games day in and day out,” Cedar Hill head girls basketball coach Nicole Collins said. “That was DJ. It never failed that she would bring her best to the floor no matter what. Many people were impressed by her athleticism and skills, but that’s not what stood out to me. She was dependable, and we could always count on her to show up.”
“She was the kind of kid a coach dreams of – an incredible athlete, superior scholar and a high character individual.”
McCarty enjoyed playing for Collins and learned a great deal from the former Baylor University point guard.
“She’s just a coach who will trust you and know that you can reach your full potential,” McCarty said.
In AAU Basketball, McCarty played for the Lady Jets, coached by longtime NBA Player Jason Terry, who was part of the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship Team.
“When I first met him, it was a shock,” McCarty said. “He’s a really cool person and a really good coach. It was really fun playing for him.”
Adapting To Play On The College Court
McCarty chose Wichita State over Air Force and Texas State. A large part of the reason was the connection with assistant coach Kelli Bagley, who also hails from the Best Southwest area.
One of the biggest transitions for McCarty was going from star player to coming off the bench in college. She is currently averaging 8.3 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Shockers (7-2).
“When you come to college, you realize everybody is good, and I embrace my role in the program,” McCarty said. “I come off the bench and give the team the energy we need.”
McCarty is confident that WSU can compete and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.