Lancaster signs to continue her basketball career

Published 7:15 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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Laila Lancaster has long been a dominant force for Lanett’s girls basketball team. Now, Bethune-Cookman adds Lancaster’s dominant force to its program as Lancaster signed on Wednesday to become a Wildcat. 

“I just really liked BCU,” Lancaster said. “When I went on a visit, it felt like home. I can say that it felt like Lanett High School. I could see myself playing there. It just felt very nice.” 

The Head coach at Bethune-Cookman, Janell Crayton, and the rest of the coaching staff made an intentional effort to make Lancaster feel like a valued recruit. In the end, the coaches just reminded Lancaster of the coaches that have helped her get to this point. 

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“They will contact me every day to check on me and see how I’m doing in school and with basketball,” Lancaster said. “I can see the head coach as Charlie Williams. They act the same.” 

Lancaster has grown to love the small-town feel of her hometown Lanett. Although Bethune-Cookman’s campus in Daytona is much larger than Lanett, but Lancaster still felt that it had a similar small-town feel. 

“In Lanett, there’s not that much, but it’s something,” Lancaster said. “In Daytona, I could tell there wasn’t that much up there either.” 

At six-foot-four, Lancaster’s size is something that all basketball programs covet. Lancaster believes that she can bring a level of dominance that not many other centers can match at the next level. 

“A very dominant player,” Lancaster said about what Bethune-Cookman is getting. “One that likes to work and wants to be pushed.” 

Before going to the next level, Lancaster has unfinished business to settle during her senior season. The Panthers have been unable to get over the final four hump during Lancaster’s time there, and she wants nothing more than to accomplish that goal.” 

“Most definitely a state championship,” Lancaster said about her goals. “This is my biggest goal.” 

Lancaster has high aspirations for where basketball could take her. Ever since she began playing basketball, Lancaster has dreamed of one day being drafted into the WNBA. 

For now, Lancaster is focused on becoming the best version of herself and playing at the next level. 

“Hopefully, I get drafted to the WNBA,” Lancaster said. “As of right now, I’m just going to focus on my four years at BCU. I just see myself going to the WNBA, coming back home and helping my family with their needs and wants.” 

Lanett’s head girls basketball coach, Charlie Williams, is considered to be one of the best basketball coaches in the county. Anyone in the Lanett community will tell you that, but he has meant so much more for Lancaster. 

“I look at him as like a second father,” Lancaster said. “He’s always been there for us. If you ask him, he’s definitely going to be there for you.” 

Lancaster is well on her way to becoming a dominant center at the next level. Lancaster still wants to improve as a dribbler and become more of a stretch five. For now, Lancaster is focused on having a strong start to the season as Lanett opens its season in Opelika on Nov. 21 at the Thanksgiving Classic.