EDWARDSVILLE — If Edwardsville High School senior Kortney Dunbar doesn't know all of the words to the tune Rocky Top -- the unofficial fight song of the University of Tennessee -- she will soon.
Considered one of the nation's top high school shooting guards, the 6-foot-2 Dunbar has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Tennessee, beginning in the 2014-15 season.
A key member of a Tigers squad which has been among the state's best throughout her high school career, Dunbar also considered top programs such as Baylor, Oklahoma State and Louisville.
But after visiting the Knoxville-based campus last weekend, Dunbar wasted little time in becoming the newest commitment to the Lady Volunteers' program.
"We flew out on Friday and on Saturday I knew Tennessee was the place for me. I met with the other players and coaches, I had the opportunity to sit in on a college class, which was really cool, and I went to the (Tennessee) football game. Everybody was so nice,'' Dunbar said. "The basketball program speaks for itself with what coach (Pat) Summit and now coach (Holly) Warlick have accomplished.
"The Tennessee women's basketball program is about tradition. It's a family. That was part of it (the decision) as well. I'm really excited about the future.''
Dunbar is the third Edwardsville player in the past nine months to commit to play NCAA Division I basketball. All-American Emmonnie Henderson is a freshman at Louisville, while current Tigers' teammate and senior Aaliyah Covington committed to St. Louis University earlier this year.
Word of Dunbar's signing with the Volunteers spread quickly. Dunbar said she received a text message from Henderson earlier in the week.
"That was cool. Emmonnie send me a text congratulating me and welcoming me to 'big time' college basketball," Dunbar said.
It doesn't get any more 'big time' in women's college basketball than Tennessee. Under the legendary Summit, who resigned following the 2011-12 season after being diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, the Lady Vols won eight national championships
Warlick, a member of the Lady Volunteers program as a player, an assistant coach and now head coach for nearly three decades, guided Tennessee to a 27-win season a year ago.
In Dunbar, a second-team all-state selection last year when she averaged 14 points per game, Tennessee is getting an outstanding shooter with unlimited 3-point range, who is working on being able to take the ball to the basket more frequently.
"I'm working on it because I want to be able to go inside and score. With my height, to be able to take smaller guards inside and post up would be a big advantage," Dunbar said. "I'm also learning to get rebounds and get it out quickly, because that's the way Tennessee plays. They're up-tempo. They get it and go. But I'm also working on shooting off the dribble better and coming off screens and being able to shoot it that way as well."
Dunbar plans on majoring in broadcast journalism at Tennessee.