Monday January 14, 2013Antoinette Bannister Joins Gator Basketball Program
Antoinette Bannister has enrolled at the University of Florida and is a member of the Gator women’s basketball team, head coach Amanda Butler officially announced.
Bannister is a 5-foot-10 guard from Jacksonville, Fla., and spent the 2012 fall semester at the University of North Carolina, where she played in eight games. She will be eligible to compete for the Gators one day after the fall of 2013 final exams have been completed.
She averaged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists while playing 8.6 minutes per game with the Tar Heels, netting a game-high 13 points in the Dec. 16 win at Coastal Carolina when she played 19 minutes, hitting 4-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and both free throw attempts.
“Back in October, I found out my mom got sick, so I had been battling whether or not 'Do I want to go home?'” Bannister shared. “I just prayed to God about it and finally decided I wanted to move closer to home. She just had surgery Thursday morning (Jan. 10) and she's doing pretty good. I'm excited to be back home in the state of Florida.”
Bannister, who played her prep ball at The Potter’s House Christian Academy where she was coached by her father, Tony Bannister, set the state of Florida’s all-time prep scoring record with 4,758 points.
“Antoinette is a very complete offensive ballplayer,” Butler said. “She’s been well-coached, brought up by a daddy who was all-basketball, all the time so she knows that game. She has a very high basketball I.Q. She comes from a very successful and accomplished high school program here in our state. Antoinette is a player who can dribble, pass and shoot and has a great feel for the game. We’re excited about her bringing all parts of her game to our team and adding to what we already have.”
During her senior year, Bannister guided the Christian Lions to a 24-7 record and the 2012 National Christian School Athletic Association (NCSAA) Basketball Championship, scoring 35 points in a 72-64 win against Life Center Academy to capture the best-of-three series and the title.
PHCA won the NCSAA Basketball championship all four years with Bannister on the court. During junior year at PHCA, Bannister averaged 27.2 points, 7.5 steals, 7.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, while shooting a sizzling 69 percent from the floor overall, 67 percent from the three-point arc and hitting 92 percent of her free throw attempts, helping the Christian Lions compile a 37-1 record.
Bannister, who committed to UNC during her sophomore season, participated in the invitation-only American Family Insurance National High School Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in 2012 in New Orleans, where she finished third. The sharp-shooting guard totaled a tournament-high 21 points in the opening round, advanced to the semifinal and just missed reaching the final round.
During a game on Jan. 30, 2012, against Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ), Bannister totaled 51 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and five assists.
In the final game of her stellar prep career, Bannister scored 45 points with 14 rebounds and eight steals in a four-point win against IMG Academy.
Because PHCA is not a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) and as a result not part of the National Federation of High School Associations, Bannister’s statistical accomplishments are not recognized nationally.
If they had been Bannister’s 4,758 career points would rank second nationally behind Goodrich (TX) High’s Adrian McGowen, who recorded 5,424 points from 2003-06. According to ESPN’s HoopGurlz, “Bannister's 657 threes made would rank first nationally if it were acknowledged by the NHSF, well ahead of current record of 500, set by Ashley Wirtzberger of Gila Bend (Ariz.) from 2007-10. Her assist totals also would be enough for top honors in the national career list, ahead of the current record of 1,169 assists set by Mary Johnson of Longview (Texas), set from 1980-83.”
At the end of her illustrious high school career, Bannister was honored all four years to the five-member National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) All-America Girls Division 1 Team, was a 2012 Second-Team All-American by USA Today and tabbed an honorable mention All-American by MaxPreps in 2012.
Bannister was voted the 2010, 2011 and 2012 NCSAA National Player of the Year in the Large-School Division.
Bannister rated as the No. 26 overall recruit by the All-Star Girls Report and No. 59 by ESPN’s HoopGurlz.
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