Many high school athletes have the dream of playing sports on the next level with few getting the chance.

Family was the deciding factor when Kansas senior Teri Leaf made her decision where to play ball in the coming school year.

“I chose Crowder College in Neosho College because it was close to home and where my family could come watch me play,” said Leaf.

The daughter of Geanne Hair and Floyd Dry signed her letter of intent on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Kansas High School.

“It is definitely a dream come true for me,” said Leaf. "From the time I was real little I have dreamed about playing college basketball and now it is happening.”

Her high school coach, Steve Odle, believes the team at Crowder is getting someone special.

“They are getting a pretty good player. A very good ball handler - maybe the best one I have had here at Kansas,” said Odle.

Leaf began her basketball career at Kenwood schools before coming to Kansas her freshman year.

She's played basketball from an early age. 

“I learned playing basketball from my family," Leaf said. "I would go and play ball against my older relatives. I was little and they were bigger than I was and I would go out and just go play with them."

Leaf believes she is ready to play college basketball because of her experience of playing with her family.

“I feel they prepared me for this," she said. "I am not afraid of what college may bring because I learned at a very young age to not be afraid when I was playing."

Leaf said while the school is close to family, other reasons factored into her decision to attend Crowder.  

“I have had offers from some other schools and visited one in Kansas," Leaf said. "But when I went to Crowder I just felt at home there.

"I like what Crowder Coach [Tina] Wilson is doing there at Crowder.”

She also picked Crowder because of how the school's classes can impact her career dreams.

“I want to be a physical therapist, and they have the program I need to start down that road,” said Leaf.

When she is done with college, Leaf wants to bring her career back home.

“Being Indian or Native American I want to go get my degree and come back and work here with the people of my heritage,” said Leaf. “Growing up in Kenwood which is a Native American community I have come to appreciate my Cherokee heritage.

"I want to come back and work with the people in the Native American communities and have them get better. That is very important to me.”

But ultimately, it was the relationship she has with her family, which helped Leaf pick Crowder College for the next step in her educational journey.  

“We are together a lot. We are always getting together and having family functions and playing games including basketball,” Leaf said.

Looking ahead, Leaf said having the decision made will let her finish her senior year at Kansas on a positive note.

“I am looking forward to playing my last season here at Kansas first,” said Leaf. “I have the best people supporting me.

"My coaches, teammates and definitely my family have really been there for me. I am looking forward to playing this season before going out into the world and living my dream.”