Jannah Tucker, the New Town basketball star who decided this summer not to play for Tennessee after the Lady Vols had signed her, said she has been a victim of domestic violence.
Rumors began circulating after Tucker, rated the No. 8 recruit in the nation in ESPNU’s 2013 HoopGurlz Super 60, cited “personal reasons” for not enrolling at Tennessee. In November 2012, she had signed with the Lady Vols and accepted a full scholarship.
Last week, a report on social media alleged that Tucker had been beaten several times over the summer by her boyfriend and most recently, two weeks ago, so badly that she could no longer play basketball.
In a statement issued Friday through BlueStar Basketball, Tucker explained what happened.
“I am a victim of domestic violence including both verbal and physical abuse,” Tucker said in the statement. “There were many incidents of physical abuse this past summer with the last occurring on Tuesday, September 24. I was badly beaten and had several injuries. However, I was never in critical condition nor was I admitted to the hospital.”
According to court documents, Tucker's mother called police to the Owings Mills home shared by Tucker and her boyfriend, Joshua A. Gerard, on Sept. 25. Tucker's mother suspected domestic violence.
When police arrived Tucker, 18, and Gerard, 19, attributed Tucker's injuries to playful wrestling, but police arrested and charged Gerard with second degree assault after seeing bruises on Tucker's face.
Gerard was held overnight and released Sept. 26 on bail.
Tucker, in her statement, said she got a permanent protective order on Thursday, which will last a year
The multi-talented 6-foot guard was an All-Metro player as a sophomore at New Town, where she averaged about 30 points per game. She struggled with injuries her final two seasons with the Titans, but played during the summers for the U.S. U-16 team that won gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championships in Mexico in 2011 and for the U-18 team that won gold in Puerto Rico in 2012.
In Mexico, she set a U.S. record with seven steals in the championship victory over Brazil. In Puerto Rico, however, she suffered an injury to her left knee in the second game and missed the rest of the
In June 2012, Tucker, who had aspirations of playing in the 2016 Olympics and in the WNBA, told The Baltimore Sun that she was excited about playing for Tennessee.
"There's so many things I loved about it," Tucker said after giving an oral commitment on her second visit to the Knoxville campus.
"The main thing was when I felt that gut feeling, and I had to go with it. I listed pros and cons of schools, but with this one, the only con was that it was away from home, but that's not really a con, I guess, because they make it feel like home there, from the family environment to the academic support to the opportunity athletically. It was just great all around."
The five-star prospect had more than 50 scholarship offers, her father Robert Tucker estimated.
Tucker's explanation this summer for giving up her dream to play for the Lady Vols had been “personal reasons.”
In her statement Friday Tucker said: “The reason I’ve been silent is because this experience has been deeply troubling and a very personal issue for not only myself, but my family as well. Sharing these details is important because I want to bring awareness to just how serious of an issue this is and can become.
“I hope that people will understand why my privacy is so critical and important to me. I want what happened to me to inspire other girls to find their own voice and strength. I am not speaking out of spite or looking for revenge. My interest is to help others recognize and prevent domestic violence."
In a tweet sent last week that has since been deleted, Tennessee coach Holly Warlick wrote: “No female deserves domestic violence. NO ONE. We will continue to pray for JT. She is a great BB player but an even better person. #heal”