Senior is headed to Virginia Tech

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Laney girls basketball player, Taylor Ayers, signs a letter of intent to play at Virginia Tech on Friday.

It was difficult for every person who had come to the Laney High School library Friday afternoon to shoehorn into one picture, but they spent a good part of 30 minutes trying.


About a dozen family members and many more students, teachers and coaches came here to celebrate senior Taylor Ayers’ signing a piece of paper that officially awarded her a scholarship to play basketball at Virginia Tech.

“Pretty much every person close to me is here,” Ayers said.

They had all arrived with good reason, because Ayers became the first player in Laney coach Otis Smart’s 26 seasons to sign with an Atlantic Coast Conference school. Smart said Ayers is the first girls basketball player in the area to sign with an ACC school since 1995, when Hephzibah guard Itoro Umoh signed with Clemson.

Ayers, The Augusta Chronicle Georgia girls basketball player of the year, averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds this season. She played her first three years at Cross Creek, but most of her memorable moments, like this one, took place at Laney, which she helped advance to the Class AA state semifinals in March.

“It worked out better than we all had hoped,” Ayers said.

Ayers said she will leave for Virginia the second week of July to attend summer school and a packet detailing an off-season workout program for players should be arriving within days. Ayers said she is expecting it to be intense, because she remembered when one arrived for her sister, Shay Rawls, three years ago.

Rawls is entering her final season at Georgia State. Ayers remembered the workout program resembled more of a law textbook than a few sheets of paper hastily stapled together.

“She has grown up so much,” Rawls said. “We are proud of her.”

Virginia Tech went 12-18 last season. Ayers is part of a five-person recruiting class, and the only member of that group to sign during the spring period.

“We are extremely excited to have Taylor join our program,” Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger said in a release. “She’s a fierce rebounder with excellent hands, and we think she’ll help us in the paint immediately.”

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425




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