With a name like Destiny, it seems obvious now that she always knew where she was going.
Destiny Cox, one of the best outside hitters ever in the Triangle area, recently committed to play volleyball at the University of North Carolina — three years from now.
“I already knew what I wanted to do, and I had a plan,” said Cox, a sophomore at Carrboro High School. “I knew where I was trying to get to, and how to get there.”
She noted it would be a real plus to have her parents, Crystal Cox Walker and Henry Walker (both of whom are 6 feet, 3 inches or taller), nearby to see her play.
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“I’m from North Carolina, and I have been here my entire life,” Cox said. “Definitely, staying close to home, being near my family and friends and close to everyone who was supporting me was a big factor in my decision. And I’ll continue to have their support.”
As any fan already knows after seeing a blue-chip recruit switch from one school to another, verbal commitments aren’t binding. Only when a player signs an NCAA National Letter of Intent within the proper time span in a senior year are such commitments final.
But it seems unlikely that Cox or UNC coaches, who aren’t allowed public comments on recruits until they are signed, would change their minds.
“They want her and she wants them. That’s pretty clear,” Carrboro volleyball coach Steve Scanga said.
And then there’s her mother. Crystal Cox Walker, a star athlete at Pinecrest before coming to Chapel Hill, attained All-America status in 1998 with UNC’s 4-by-100 relay team outdoors and still has the fastest 60-meter indoor time (7.41) by any Tar Heel.
Cox Walker works in the Offices of Student Affairs at UNC’s medical school and remains a loyal Tar Heel.
“UNC is a great school, academically and athletically. I was more than just a little excited when she chose UNC,” her mother said, though she added, “Wherever Destiny decided to go to school, I was going to be supportive – 100 percent.”
Cox stands 6 feet, 2 inches and seems to be growing even as one watches her on the court. Her pediatrician predicted she’ll hit 6-5 before she’s done.
That would just be icing on the cake. She already possesses a tremendous leaping ability and a wicked right-hand swing.
“She’s got the genetics, the athleticism, the jumping ability, and the ability to terminate ball when we need it,” Scanga said. “And she has the desire to win.
“When she is in those big game situations, she wants the ball,” he said. “That’s a rare athlete – the one that wants to have the ball in their hands when the game matters.”
As a ninth-grader on last year’s 27-2 Carrboro team, which breezed undefeated through the Mid-State 2A Conference and reached the 2014 N.C. High School Athletics Association 2A state semifinals, Cox led the Jaguars in kills (228) – more than double any other teammate – and kill percentage (46.9). Notably, despite her height, Cox was second behind seniors on the team in digs and serves received.
“It’s a hunger,” Cox said. “I know I’m going to get the ball, and I want to make a kill. I want to give something for my teammates and show them I care for them as much as they care for me.”
Scanga notes her kill percentage is exceptional for a left-outside hitter, often the player who has to handle balls hit at sharp angles to the side and who sometimes has to deliver the third and final shot off an errant setup that’s heading out of bounds.
Usually middle hitters have the higher percentage, Scanga said. Cox’s numbers this year – again in the mid-40s for kill percentage – aren’t just high for an outside hitter, they’re high, period.
“The outside hitter often has to clean up the mistakes made by others. That takes real athletic ability,” Scanga said.