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Melyse Brown, Stephanie Carr reaping rewards of hard work

The basketball journey for Melyse Brown and Stephanie Carr began when they became teammates on a South Boston travel basketball team and continued as they played together at both the middle school and high school levels.

Brown and Carr are now reaping the rewards of years of hard work, both on the hardwood and in the classroom as student-athletes at Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Brown and Carr have played together for over 10 years, including a 20-0 regular season and Western Valley District championship their senior years as members of the Halifax County High School varsity girls basketball team.

Carr, who made the Virginia Union roster as a walk-on, said making the team was “a fulfillment of a life goal to play college basketball.”

“I knew for a long time I wanted to play college basketball, said Brown, noted Brown.

“I talked to the coach, and she offered me a full scholarship to play there.”

Brown currently starts for the Panthers at the small forward position.

“When I visited the school, I liked it, and I figured a good school and a free education is the way to go, especially when I’m doing something I love.”

Brown, a junior, is second in scoring and field goal percentage, averaging 14.9 points per game and sports a field goal percentage of .476.

She averages 6.9 rebounds per game, third on the team, with two double-doubles thus far (scoring and rebounding).

Carr, a sophomore guard, decided on Virginia Union because she wanted to stay with her high school teammates, Brown and Destiny Betts.

Carr has kept a positive attitude despite injury issues.

“I’ll never give up,” said Carr, who had worked her way into a starting role before injuring her foot in January of 2013,

“I’m not 100 percent now, but I’ll get through it,” Carr added.

“It’s a big adjustment from high school to college, Brown and Carr agreed, particularly with being a student-athlete.

The biggest adjustment is time management, making time for studies and getting time in the gym, and a lot is left up to the individual.

As far as basketball, college is a lot more oriented toward conditioning, it’s a lot more physical, and the pace is much faster, according to Brown.

College basketball has a 30-second shot clock, while high school basketball has none, she explained.

“You have to be more mentally tough to play the college game,” Carr added, agreeing with Brown more is expected of college athletes in terms of time spent in the gym and outside the gym.

Maybe one or two players on a high school team may be talented enough to play collegiate basketball, but in college each team has rosters with players equally as talented, both agreed.

Both Brown and Carr have plans beyond Virginia Union basketball.

Brown is a math major, and she just applied to University of California at Berkley to get her masters in civil engineering.

Carr, a criminal justice major, plans to join the Air Force upon graduation.

Both have some advice to pass along those interested in playing sports beyond high school and at the collegiate level.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is having a bad attitude gets you nowhere,” said Carr, with Brown nodding her head in agreement.

“Take full advantage of the time you have in college,” added Brown. 

“It’s simple, work hard in the classroom and on the floor.  Every coach likes a hard worker, and if you’re serious about a college career, you have to have the mindset to work hard.”