SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) – South Salem High School senior guard Evina Westbrook made an announcement on Thursday, Nov. 10 that’s getting a lot of attention across the nation.
Her college of choice?
“Tennessee,” said Westbrook in front of a packed gym at The Hoop.
Dozens of family and friends were on hand for the very special moment.
Her brother L.J. Westbrook, who plays basketball for Prairie View A&M University in Texas, surprised Evina the day before the Panthers opened their regular season at Oregon State University on Friday, Nov. 11.
“That was crazy. You know, I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Evina about the big surprise from L.J. and the entire Prairie View A&M team. “I knew they had a game [the next day] so I mean it was a great thing, especially having all of my family sitting at that table.”
“L.J. had to take off [right after the ceremony],” Eva Westbrook, the mother of Evina and L.J., said. “I thought it was amazing for them [Prairie View A&M] to work together with me the last couple of weeks. And so Evina was pretty disappointed that her brother wasn’t going to be there. For them to have that moment – for us – that’s what it’s about because we are big on family.”
“Honestly I felt it [signing with the Tennessee Lady Vols] in my heart after my visit,” said Evina. “And just being there – the atmosphere, the people there – [was] just incredible [in Knoxville, Tenn.] Since my visit I couldn’t really get them off my mind [and] that’s when I kind of knew that it would be the right place for me.”
“ESPN has her [Evina] ranked No. 1 nationally for her position,” said Dani Harley, a senior guard at South Salem. “We have a lot of great memories. We’ve grown up together. Winning state with her two years in a row, playing by her side and all throughout high school … I will always remember that.”
“We have a huge target on our back coming in from back-to-back [state titles],” said Evina.
“That hasn’t stopped us before.”