Over the years, two of the top commits in the Baylor 2016 women’s basketball class in Lauren Cox and Natalie Chou have developed a strong friendship while playing with and against each other on numerous occasions.
Two weeks after Cox, the No. 1 recruit in the nation, committed to Baylor, Chou followed suit, announcing her decision to join the Lady Bears on Twitter.
A 6-foot-1 guard from Plano West, Chou is ranked as the second-best guard and eighth overall player in the country for the 2016 class, according espnW’s Hoopgurlz.
“What it came down to is Baylor is close to home, and I’ve been talking a lot with Lauren Cox, my future teammate,” Chou said. “Her commitment helped me in my decision. We’ve been playing with each other for a long time, and we understand each other.”
Chou averaged 22 points and 4.8 rebounds as a junior in leading Plano West to the regional final — where the Wolves fell to Cox and Flour Mound.
She said there’s only one goal for her team this time around — a state championship.
That’s something she can focus wholeheartedly on with the recruiting process out of the way.
Chou chose Baylor over California, Texas and UCLA, and Chou said she “loved and hated” her time as a recruit.
“It was stressful at times, trying to decide which school to go to,” Chou said. “I loved getting to know a lot of the people and the coaches, but sometimes it got stressful. I just tried to make sure I listened to everyone, and when it came down to my final four schools and I went on my official visits, I took a lot of notes and asked a lot of questions.”
In addition to Cox, Chou also joins La Vega guard Calveion Landrum in the Lady Bears’ recruiting class.
All three are expected to make their verbal commitment a binding one by signing on Wednesday.
Chou can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t playing basketball.
Her love for the game comes from for mother, Quanli Li, who played professional basketball for a decade in China.
“Everything I know, it’s all from her,” Chou said. “She’s my skills trainer, so we work out every single day. She’s been with me the whole way. Most people don’t have a parent who’s their coach. She’s always with me, so whenever we have time we’ll go to the gym and work.”
Playing across the globe
Chou also has international experience, claiming a gold medal for Team USA at the FIBA U17 World Championships in 2014 and a silver medal as part of the 3-on-3 U18 team earlier this year.
Chou said she uses her height as an advantage as a guard in that she can post up smaller defenders, but she also has the quickness to get by them or can step out and shoot from distance as well. She’s working on her defense, but knows she’ll have to get better in that area to satisfy Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.
“It’s one of my weaknesses, but I’m ready to learn,” Chou said.
One of the other factors Chou had to assess in making her decision are the food options available. Eating might be her greatest interest off of the basketball court, and she liked what she saw in Waco.
“They’re building a lot of things next to campus,” Chou said. “There are also many places to eat on campus, so it’s great. It won’t be a problem.”