PREP BASKETBALL: Cullman’s Eastman commits to University of Montevallo

Cullman's A.K. Eastman announced her commitment to play at the University of Montevallo on Tuesday. (photo by Joe McElroy)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman standout Anna Katherine Eastman has made her college decision. The rising senior point guard will be continuing her academic and athletic career at the University of Montevallo. Eastman was of one of the Lady Bearcats’ biggest leaders on the floor in her junior campaign at Cullman. She earned an honorable mention on this year’s 6A All-State Team and now holds the state record after making 42 consecutive free throws this season. In her junior season, Eastman helped the Lady Bearcats finish with a 23-10 record, their first season in several years with more than 20 wins.

After going to take a look at the campus, Eastman felt at home right away and that made her decision really easy.

“Ever since I stepped foot on campus, it felt like home right away,” Eastman said. “I have a very good relationship with both of the coaches, and I am already very close to some of the players. It was a very good fit from a basketball, academic, and location standpoint. Montevallo is an historic campus with brick streets that are absolutely beautiful.”

Eastman has learned a lot from coach Josh Hembree and has improved her game each year and has also learned how to be a leader on and off the court.

“Since freshman year, I have been fortunate enough to learn more and keep improving my game,” Eastman said. “I’ve learned how to be a leader by example. I’ve also had to learn how to be a vocal leader, since I am a quiet person. Coach Hembree has been an outstanding coach. He pushes me every single day and never lets me let up. He holds me to a very high standard, and for that, I am very thankful.”

Eastman also learned a lot from assistant coaches Mary Lauren Hartline and Nina Mills this season. 

“I have learned so much from them,” Eastman said. “They are so knowledgeable about the game and push me every day to be my best. They’ve also been in my position before, so it’s very easy to relate to them. They’re always there for me with anything I need.” 

Hembree feels blessed to have coached Eastman for several years and he can’t wait to see what she does in her senior season and what she can eventually do at the next level.

“I am really excited for her,” Hembree said. “I’ve had the privilege to see her work, grow, sacrifice, and do things that others were not willing to do to be the best that she could be. She’s gotten so much out of her ability, and I’m excited to see how she leads her team during her senior season. I think Montevallo will be a great fit for her. She’s a very intelligent player who can handle the ball, shoot it, and distribute the ball to others. Moreover, A.K. is a great teammate who pushes others to be their best and encourages them to rise to her level.” 

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