Virginia’s recent trip to the west coast was a special one for freshman guard Dylan Horton, who returned to her hometown with the Cavaliers. While Horton attended high school at Redondo Beach, she calls Inglewood home.

The freshman reveled in the opportunity to share her hometown and memories with her UVA teammates.

“It actually meant a lot to me,” Horton said. “It was kind of cool to see my teammates and everybody and all the staff see my city for what it is and being able to show them new things that they didn’t even know of and for them to have those experience. It was cool to see.”

One thing that was immediately clear, Horton is all about family and community. In fact, Horton says a big reason she even started playing basketball was her big brother, Keilan.

“Before basketball I ran track but I didn’t like it honestly,” Horton said. “I just did it because my aunt ran track and my dad wanted me to get into something. I stopped when I was like seven or eight and then I picked up basketball. I picked up basketball because I was around it a lot and I saw my brother doing it.”

Horton also recalled those early years of hoops. Namely, the effort required for her to become successful at the sport.

“I started playing basketball in second grade at the YMCA in Westchester. I was not always good. I had to learn and keep working out to get better. Just watching my brother play growing up made me keep wanting to work hard.”

That hard work paid off. By her freshman season of high school, Horton began to realize what the sport could be.

“Probably 9th grade,” she said, “I was like ‘Ok, this is probably something I can do.'”

By the end of her high school career, Horton had led Redondo Union to a California stat championship. In 2019 she was named the co-MVP of the Bay League, an All-CIF first team selection and a Daily Breeze first team performer.

Her basketball career then led her across the country to UVA. Like any player with a chance to visit their hometown, Horton’s return to L.A. was special. But, there was one moment that truly made it a trip to remember.

Coincidentally, Virginia’s trip to the west coast intersected with the birthday of Horton’s younger brother, Xavier.

“I said to Coach T, ‘Can I go to my little brother’s birthday party?’ and she said ‘yeah.’,” Horton recalled. “But we had a team activity after it so she said ‘Why don’t we all just go?’. So we took the bus over there and we all went.

“He was really excited. My parents told me he was actually crying after he got home because he was just so happy to see me and he was thankful that the team could come because where else can that happen? It took place at the park, there was a game truck, food, basketball courts, the apparatus, a bouncy house, snow cones so there was just a lot to do. My teammates were going off on Just Dance. We had a good time.”

Again, family and community were on full display for Horton. It’s something she cherished growing up in L.A.

“The best thing about California is the sense of community,” she said. “There’s a lot of houses as you can see when we went. The neighborhoods are very intact and everyone knows everybody in the neighborhood.”

At UVA, Horton found that family and supportive community once again. In fact, she names it as her favorite thing about UVA.

“I would say the sense of family,” Horton said. “Being far from home, I wanted to come to a school where I could still feel that sense of family and culture and I feel it at this school. Knowing my teammates will always have my back is a good feeling.”