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Jannah Tucker has informed Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick that she plans to enroll in the University this January.
"Tennessee has always been in my corner no matter what the circumstances may be," Tucker said in the statement released by the University. "Starting in the spring semester, I will be attending the University of Tennessee. I am so excited to officially be a Lady Vol, because they truly represent what family is all about. I am so appreciative for all the support I've gotten from everyone that is a part of UT, and I am extremely confident that UT is the best place for me to be.
According to the statement, Tucker will begin practicing with the Lady Vols at that time, but is not expected to play this season. Warlick is very supportive of Tuckers decision to return, but is also focused on her well-being.
"Jannah has been a Lady Vol for quite some time, but we are pleased that she officially will be joining the Tennessee family in January," Warlick said in the statement. "Our primary concerns are about her as a person and as a student. Basketball is secondary. Our staff and players welcome her with open arms and are humbled that she and her family have trusted us to be part of shaping her future."
The 5-10 guard, ranked No. 12 in the 2013 Full Court Fresh 50, had been slated to join the program this summer, but made waves in early July when she abruptly informed Warlick in an email that she had changed her mind due to unspecified "personal reasons."
Those reasons are now more clear. Earlier this month Full Court broke the story that Tucker's decision may not have been of her own volition but rather the product of domestic violence on the part of her boyfriend. Joshua Anthony Gerrard, Tucker's 19-year-old boyfriend, was arrested on Wednesday, July 25, at his home in Owings Mills, Md., on charges of second-degree assault and currently remainds free on $50,000 bail pending a Feb. 10, 2014 trial date.
A day after Full Court's story broke, Tucker confirmed in a written statement that she had been the "victim of domestic violence including both verbal and physical abuse" at the hands of Gerrard.
"There were many incidents of physical abuse this past summer with the last occurring on Tuesday, September 24, 2013," said Tucker in her statement. "I was badly beaten and had several injuries. However, I was never in critical condition nor was I admitted to the hospital," Tucker continued, adding a request that her privacy be respected.
The 6-0 guard from Randallstown, Md. (New Town H.S.), has had an off-and-on recruiting relationship with Tennessee. Well before this summer's reversal came to pass, Tucker first verbally committed to Tennessee in June of 2012, before briefly de-committing last October, and then finally signing the National Letter of Intent in November 2012.
Tucker missed her high school senior season due to an ACL tear, but remained one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the nation. She averaged 30 points per game as a junior and 26.2 as a sophomore at NTHS, earning all-state honors in 2011. A two-time USA Basketball gold medalist, Tucker played with current Tennessee freshman Mercedes Russell on the 2010 USA U16 squad and with Tennessee sophomore Bashaara Graves on the 2012 USA U18 team.
Tucker's parents expressed their happiness about their daughter's plans to enroll at Tennessee.
"We're so happy that Jannah will be part of the Lady Vol family," Robert and Cynthia Tucker shared in the statement. "We've always thought that UT is the best place for her. UT is a very special place, and we're grateful for everyone's support in getting her here."
Source: Portions of this story were drawn from a University of Tennessee Athletics Department press release.
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