8th grade basketball player commits to UT

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

kvue.com

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 9:52 AM

CROSBY, Texas -- Charli Collier is used to turning heads with her exploits on the basketball court but she did not expect the payoff to come so quickly.

At just 14, she has been offered and verbally committed to accept a scholarship to the University of Texas to play at the Erwin Center.

"It is my passion. I love it. As soon as I picked up a ball I started dribbling," Collier said.

She was four when that dribbling started and that was just the start.

"She knew how to drop step at five or six years old," said her mom Ponda Collier, herself a college ball player.

Charli looks like a pro on the court, has the sweet shot and the slick dribbles, but she is just in eighth grade at Crosby Middle School. She is a 6’ 3” phenom.

"I'm used to short kids shorter than me," said Rhonda Burkhart, the middle school girls’ basketball coach. "I knew that they would one day be wanting to see her and have her."

They are the big girls, Division One programs, Collier already has 35 offer letters.

Believe it or not this has been going on for a while.

"Her first contact with a school was when UT-A was interested in her in the fifth grade," remembers mom.

Collier has heard from Oklahoma, Duke, Louisville but the commitment is closer to home.

"Texas. They were confident in me and believed in me and offered me a scholarship. I trusted them," Collier said.

Skeptics wonder if she can sustain this sort of drive especially since college is still five years away, but her mom sees it differently.

"As long as she grasps the concept we keep giving it to her. Keep feeding it to them," said Charli's mom. "What is the limit for her? It is up to her."

"You can't just let down," Charli said. "I am not just going to let down,"

It is now a goal with a guarantee and a burnt orange Jersey.

Her parents said the secret weapon all along isn’t the height that runs in the family -- mom is 5’11 and dad is 6’8” -- but it is their hardwood floors.

"They would just dribble dribble dribble. Stop bouncing the ball," Elliot Collier said..

She hasn't stopped yet. In fact she has never lost a school game. Not one. She isn’t planning on it.

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