COVINGTON, Ga. — Lexii Chatman gave an ode to her blue and white Newton uniform on her own home gym Wednesday night during the NewRock All-Star Basketball Seniors Showcase.
Both of them.
She wore the dark, blue-dominant road jersey while winning the 3-point shootout, and the white home threads she donned while winning MVP of the girls all-star basketball game.
Perhaps Chatman loved all forms of the Newton blue and white so much that she wore both because she couldn’t decide which one she wanted to put on for the last time.
In a fun, light-hearted night of hoops, a final hurrah for the senior ballers of Newton and Rockdale counties, the uniform saga was the only somber moment for the 5-foot-6 combo guard who’s led the Lady Rams in scoring for three of the last four years.
“(Wednesday) night was actually fun,” Chatman said. “It was just something to do. It was really fun to go against people from my team like Jurnee (Smith) and Kiya (Cotton). But it was also really sad, because that’s my favorite jersey right there, man. That’s my favorite jersey, and it’s the last time I’ll ever put it on.”
When the all-star festivities were all said and done, Chatman could be seen walking out of Newton’s gym, into the parking lot still wearing that blue Newton jersey. And who could blame her, particularly after this past season.
Chatman led the Lady Rams again in scoring. She nabbed the Region 8-AAAAAAA Player of the Year award for the second straight season, but this year was different because in doing so, she also paced her team to its first region crown in five years, and the program’s first state championship game appearance since 1963.
But the next time Chatman puts on a basketball jersey to represent a school, it’ll be for whatever college she decides to play for. She, along with other seniors like Jurnee Smith and Erianna Card, have raised the eyebrows of some college recruiters — particularly after their Class AAAAAAA state runner-up season. And Chatman said she’s almost ready to reveal what her next jersey will be.
“It’s been really stressful to try and know where you want to spend your next four years,” Chatman said. “But I do have a couple offers on the table. I haven’t picked yet, but I will be deciding soon. Maybe sometime this week.”
Those offers are from a pair of NCAA Division II schools, Georgia Southwestern and Columbus State. Both schools compete in the Peach Belt Conference, along with a more local-to-metro-Atlanta school, Clayton State (Morrow, GA).
Columbus State finished fourth in this past season’s Peach Belt standings with a 19-10 overall mark and a 16-6 record in conference play, good enough for fourth place in the conference. The Lady Cougars also earned a NCAA Division II tournament berth, falling in round one to Wingate.
Meanwhile, Southwestern finished 8-18, 5-17 with no postseason play.
But beyond winning records and tournament achievements, Chatman said she wants to play somewhere that can give her some of the similar experiences she had during her successful four-year run at Newton.
“Just looking for a good coaching staff that’s going to get me better with my game,” she said. “Somewhere that I can vibe with my team well, a place that has my sports management major. Stuff like that.”
And while she’s certainly anxious to put on her next jersey, Chatman couldn’t help but embrace some nostalgia after this final go-round at her soon-to-be high school alma mater.
“I’m going to miss the fans here,” she said. “Definitely my teammates. Coach (Tiffani) Johnson, coach Ray, coach White, coach Russ. I’m just going to miss it all.”