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Former Troup standout finds new college home

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

After spending a couple of years in the Sunshine State, former Troup High basketball standout Kiya Fulton has found a new college home.

Fulton, a 2018 graduate of Troup High, has committed to Livingston College in North Carolina after spending the past two seasons as a member of the Daytona State College women’s basketball program.

Fulton was unable to visit the Livingston campus because of the coronavirus pandemic, but she spent time talking to head coach Chiante Wester, and she feels confident that she has made the right choice.

“I didn’t feel pressured by the coaches, and they made me feel like I’m going to be at home,” Fulton said. “I felt like I

was going to be back home at Troup.”

Fulton, after a successful stint as a high-school player while playing for head coach Carla Thornton, played in 29 games during the 2018-2019 season at Daytona State, and she averaged 2.7 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.

During her sophomore season, Fulton appeared in 27 games with four starts, and she averaged 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds for a team that went 18-12.

“It’s been a great experience because I got to get out of the state, and I got to enjoy college, and be an athlete at the same time,” Fulton said of her time at Daytona State.

There was an adjustment period for Fulton, and all of her fellow freshmen at Daytona State in 2018.

Most notably, Fulton had to get used to the faster pace of junior-college basketball in Florida.

“It was challenging,” Fulton said. “It was a whole lot faster. We were on a shot clock. In high school we don’t have a shot clock.”

While Fulton didn’t start at Daytona State and she wasn’t among the team leaders in scoring, she nonetheless filled a valuable role.

“I was the hype man, and the energetic one on the court,” Fulton said. “I was the one that kept the team together when we were falling down.”

Fulton not only left Daytona State with two valuable seasons of college basketball under her belt, but she also received an associate’s degree.

“I graduated last week, so that feels good,” Fulton said.

At Troup, Fulton was one of the players who helped get the program turned around after some difficult seasons.

“She’s one of those players who never complained,” Troup coach Carla Thornton said. “She just puts in the work, and makes an opportunity for herself. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

The Lady Tigers won one game during the 2013-2014 season, and they improved that win total by six games when Fulton was a freshman.

When Fulton was a sophomore, Troup made it to the state tournament in 2016, and the team had a winning record the following season while returning to the state tournament.

Fulton’s senior season was another successful one, with Troup posting a winning record while making it to the state tournament for a third consecutive year.

Fulton averaged close to 10 points per game that season, and she was among the team’s leading rebounders.

Thornton appreciated Fulton for her willingness to do whatever was necessary to help the team succeed.

“For her to be so unselfish and do those things, a lot of people won’t play those roles,” Thornton said. “For her to do that and see it work out in her favor, that’s amazing.”

Thornton added that “I know her momma’s been a big influence, so I’m glad to see that work out for the whole family.”

While Fulton was at Daytona State, she kept a close eye on what her former teammates were doing at Troup.

She particularly enjoyed following the exploits of the 2019-2020 team, which went 27-2 and reached the state-championship game before losing to Americus-Sumter.

“When I was there, we never got that far, so I’m super-proud of them,” Fulton said.