Otis Smart thought it was a joke, probably just someone pretending to be a coach.
But as the phone conversation continued, the Laney girls basketball coach realized it wasn’t. Baylor was calling, and it was interested in Khadijiah Cave.
“I said, ‘Dang!’ ” Smart said, remembering the excitement. “I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.”
Fast forward to Wednesday, and Cave has signed with Baylor, the defending national champion.
Surrounded by family, Cave, who averaged a double-double for the Lady Wildcats as a junior, wore a green shirt with yellow lettering — the “40-0” record of the 2011-2012 season the shirt’s highlight — for the signing event.
Baylor grew to like Cave while watching her play at the Class AA state semifinals and during AAU ball. Soon enough, Cave went out for a visit, where she got to hang out with the team.
Though Cave is not ranked on ESPN’s recruiting site, Baylor saw the 6-foot-3 player’s potential.
No. 1 Baylor, which has won 42 consecutive games, is led by star senior Brittney Griner and coach Kim Mulkey.
Cave thinks Mulkey can push her so she reaches her full potential.
“Khadijiah is a long post player with athleticism and speed,” Mulkey said in a release on Baylor’s athletic web site. “She will give us a presence that we will not have at that point. KK is hard working, has a strong work ethic and has a strong desire to reach her potential at the highest level.”
While at Laney, Cave has helped the Lady Wildcats reach the state semifinals year after year. She has dominated in the paint and has also been quick with her hands — she averaged four blocks and five steals a game a year ago as Laney made it to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.
Besides Baylor, South Carolina and South Florida were among the interested schools.
But the chance to play for a recent two-time national champion was too great of an opportunity.
“I wanted to go to a school used to winning, like Laney,” Cave said. “I want to keep the tradition going there.”
BOISE BOUND: Augusta native James Webb III has signed with Boise State.
Webb, who’s at North Idaho College, will complete this season and then get three seasons to play for the Broncos.
While in high school, Webb originally went to Curtis Baptist before he switched to Aiken’s Adelphi Christian Academy.