Big 12 Campus Correspondent
An old proverb says, “every end is a new beginning.” This couldn’t be more applicable to senior Brittainey Raven’s life at the moment. In December, the Texas guard welcomed a little brother, Thaddeus Charles, to the Raven family, just as she entered her final semester as a Longhorn.
The Ravens had planned to attend many games of No. 10’s final season but when they found out that Mrs. Raven was expecting, their plans changed.
“It was really exciting [when we found out], but at the same time it was sad because they weren’t going to be able to make as many games as they usually do,” Raven said.
Though Raven was disappointed that her dad and step-mom wouldn’t get to see her on the court as much, she was ecstatic to be a big sister again. Her sister Tiffany is only four years younger, so this time around, Raven gets a more hands-on experience with her sibling.
“When I went home for the winter break, I heated his bottles up, changed his diapers and learned how to be gentle,” Raven said. “I stayed up with him every night because I knew that my parents hadn’t gotten any sleep. I tried to get as much time with him because I knew I wouldn’t get to see him for months.”
The senior often thinks about her baby brother now that she is back on the Forty Acres for the spring semester, but don’t think her ¬attention isn’t on the court.
“I keep a picture of Thaddeus on my phone so I can go and look at it whenever I need to,” Raven said. “I call home to check on him, but I keep my focus here.”
The senior guard, whose 315 free throws rank ninth on the Texas’ career record list, is determined to make her final season the best one yet.
“Every game, I play like it’s my last game,” Raven said. “This year we’re playing the best since I’ve been here. Of course, we didn’t start conference the way we wanted to, but now, I think we’re on a roll.”
The 6-foot senior will use her leadership to keep the team rolling even if it doesn’t involve scoring points. Raven and her teammates approach each game as a stepping-stone to the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA tournament, and she will contribute wherever needed to reach those goals.
“In the past, my leadership came from a scoring standpoint,” Raven explained. “But this year, we have so many people that can score and are scoring for us that I’m just trying to keep us motivated and encouraged. I’ll give positive feedback as well as say some of the hard stuff. Wherever we need to pick it up at, I will. “
But even more important than the Big 12 Championship or the NCAA tournament, are Raven’s experiences as a Longhorn that have helped her become a mature adult.
“I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here,” Raven reflected. “I came in really young, lost, not knowing what to do. I wasn’t playing well, I was trying to get into the mix of things and I struggled from my freshman year until now. Between hard work, prayer and confidence, I think I’ve come a long way.”
She has learned lessons that most college students are still grasping to understand.
“Every day isn’t going to be perfect,” Raven said. “If things aren’t going right, you have to fix it. If I’m not scoring a lot of points during a game, figure out another way to help. If I don’t do well on a test, study ten times harder. Sometimes you just have to take care of your business.”
The Fort Worth, Texas native attributes much of her growth to her coaches and academic advisors.
“The people around me, Dr. Randa Ryan, Shaeeta Williams and Coach G, they’ve had a great influence on me. They’ve stuck behind me during tough times,” Raven said.
Leaving a place where you’ve grown-up is tough and leaving the people who’ve helped you is even tougher. Though Raven still has a semester left, sadness at the thought of leaving the Forty Acres is already setting in.
“It’s bittersweet,” Raven said through tears. “I don’t want it to end. I’m just trying to cherish every moment with my teammates and everyone in the program. I’ll keep up with everyone, but it won’t be the same. Jamie Carey, [a former Texas basketball player], said that every team she’s played with since UT hasn’t had the bond and the chemistry that she had with her UT teammates. I just know it’s not going to be the same. “
But with every end comes a beginning, and in Raven’s case, it’s her little brother, Thaddeus.
“I’m so excited about my little brother,” Raven exclaimed. “I know that I’ll soon be able to spend more time with him and watch him grow.”
When asked if she’ll teach her little brother about basketball, Raven replied with a smile, “I think whatever he wants to do, I’ll be okay with. If he wants to do soccer, football, basketball, whatever, we’ll be happy.”
And in case you were wondering … yes, Raven has already bought her baby brother Longhorn gear.