Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Point guard Kemp looking to make immediate impact at Old Dominion

Rhaven Kemp credits two years of playing ball at Eastern Florida State College with teaching her patience, but don't expect her to be sitting around waiting her turn at Old Dominion, "I'm ready to make an immediate impact," she said. "Being that I'm a junior, I want to play right away."

The 5-7 point guard from Jackson, Tenn., should get her chance on a Lady Monarchs team that needs experience at the point given the decision by Ashley Betz-White not to return for her final season of eligibility (Betz-White has graduated and taken a job with a pharmaceutical company). ODU has added 5-6 point guard Carolina Bernardeco from Lisbon, Portugal, who played point for her country's U-16 and U-18 national teams, but she will likely need time to adjust to the collegiate game.

Kemp is the all-time leading assist leader from Liberty Tech High School, averaging 5.2 apg her senior year when she was also name team MVP and all-state. She started for Eastern Florida State College as a freshman, averaging 9.4 ppg and leading the team in steals but didn't play the second half of the semester due to academics. That cooled the interest Auburn had in her.

During her sophomore season, the Titans reached the postseason for the first time in more than a decade, and though Kemp came off the bench, she was a utility player who did whatever she was asked, said coach Jim Grimes.

Kemp was named to the all-tournament team in the 2015 NJCAA Region 8 Tournament. The Titans advanced to the quarterfinals and finished 22-8, winning 15 of their final 18. Kemp scored 18 with seven assists in her final game.

"She's unbelievably athletic," Grimes said. "She's very unselfish and a great passer. She was unreal in the tournament."

 Kemp had interest from Tennessee Tech, Jacksonville and Troy before deciding on ODU. She will be one of three players from Tennessee on ODU's roster along with Ridgeway High School teammates Ashley Jackson and Oigbokie Odegua from Memphis.

She enjoys the role of floor general, "I like keeping my teammates happy; I want them to feed off me," she said. Though she grew up a Lady Volunteers fan, noting, "If you live here, you eat, sleep, breath Tennessee," her allegiance is now ODU.

Kemp, who enjoy bowling in her spare time, plans to enter ODU as an undecided major but is leaning toward sports management.

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