Being away from home is never easy, just ask Jaymee Carnes.
The former Gainesville basketball standout is a freshman at Wake Forest University this season and, on top of taking her first college classes and learning a new basketball system, Carnes has had to adjust to being five hours away from her family and friends.
Carnes said that while taking college classes and becoming familiar with a new team has been difficult, “being away from home has definitely been the hardest part.”
“The first couple of weeks, before we started practice, I went home almost every weekend,” Carnes said. “Once practice started and I couldn’t go home, I got a little bit more homesick.”
One thing that has helped the 18-year-old get through missing home has been the effort required to learn a new system under Wake Forest coach Mike Peterson.
“When you first start basketball practice in college, it’s almost like learning how to play all over again,” Carnes said.
“There’s a new way of doing everything: a new system, a new coach, a new place; it just takes some time to get used to it.”
When asked about the differences between the system Carnes played in at Gainesville and the one ran at Wake Forest, the 6-foot-1 forward said simply, “everything.”
“It’s a different motion, a lot of different sets and new defensive formations,” Carnes said. “It’s been a lot to learn, but coach (Manson) Hill at Gainesville really prepared me for the speed of the game and just a lot of skill-type things.”
During her three years under Hill at Gainesville, Carnes was one of the area’s best players and was named The Times 2010 Girls Basketball Player of the Year during her senior season.
While her excellent play during high school hasn’t quite shown up on the stat sheet so far this season at Wake Forest — Carnes averages just a little more than 12 minutes per game — the freshman believes she is consistently improving. “The first couple of games, I was just really nervous with a new group of girls and the new system but I’ve become more comfortable,” Carnes said. “I feel like it’s going pretty well.”
Carnes has played in all 13 games this season for the Lady Demon Deacons (7-6), is sixth on the team in total rebounds (39) and averages just over two points per game.
Recently, Carnes scored three points and pulled down five rebounds as the Lady Demon Deacons defeated Furman, 84-35, on Dec. 22.
While Carnes won’t have the opportunity to return to Georgia to play this season, Wake Forest plays Georgia Tech in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Jan. 17, she knows that when the opportunity finally comes, the stands will be full of her supporters.
“I know a lot of my friends will definitely come. A lot of family will be there and some of my old teammates from high school,” Carnes said. “I can’t wait for that.”