Tuesday, April 22, 2014

O-South girls star Kopatich switches commitment from KSU to KU

Olathe South defender Kylee Kopatich comes from behind to swat a shot by Lawrence High junior Marissa Pope (20)  during their basketball game, Friday evening in Olathe.

Olathe South defender Kylee Kopatich comes from behind to swat a shot by Lawrence High junior Marissa Pope (20) during their basketball game, Friday evening in Olathe.



Olathe South defender Kylee Kopatich comes from behind to swat a shot by Lawrence High junior Marissa Pope (20) during their basketball game, Friday evening in Olathe.

The MVP of Kansas’ Sunflower League is headed to Kansas University on a women’s basketball scholarship.

Kylee Kopatich, a 5-foot-10 junior point guard, who averaged 12.2 points, 6.3 assists and 3.1 steals a game this past season for Class 6A third-place finisher Olathe South, orally committed to Bonnie Henrickson’s KU program on Sunday and announced the commitment Monday.

She initially had committed to Kansas State but made other plans following the removal of Deb Patterson as coach.

“I am in love with the (KU) program. I love all the coaches. I love how Bonnie has a caring kind of feel. She is not only a coach but feels like a second mom pushing us to be our very best,” said Kopatich, who led the Sunflower League in assists and ranked second in steals. She is a finalist for the DiRenna Award, which is given to the top player in the Kansas City metro area.

“I’ve always been a KU fan since I was little. I am overly excited,” Kopatich added.

Kopatich has closely followed the KU career of Olathe South graduate Natalie Knight, who will be a senior this season.

“Since I could never play with Natalie I love to watch her,” Kopatich said. “I was always just one year behind her. I would love to play with her. It’s so sad,” Kopatich added with a laugh.

“She is a pretty big deal at our school. She is on all the records we have, records that seem impossible to beat or impossible to get. She is someone I have always looked up to and always wanted to play like her. She is an amazing player.”

Kopatich ranks fourth on South’s all-time assist chart and is third all-time in steals. She had three games last year with 10 or more assists.

Of her decision to remove her commitment from K-State, she said: “Why I chose K-State first is I could get coached by three amazing guards that went to K-State (on Patterson’s staff). After they left it was KU. Since those three coaches are gone, it was an obvious choice.”

Bonnie lands juco guard: KU on Monday announced the signing of Timeka O’Neal, a 5-foot-4 sophomore point guard from Johnson County Community College. She played high school ball at Raytown (Mo.) High.

O’Neal averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds this past season and earned NJCAA Div. II third-team All-America honors.

“She’s a young lady who has great court vision, facilitates and handles the ball well,” Henrickson said. “She can play in transition, she can shoot the ball well and stretch the defense from the three. Timeka can make the simple plays, but she can also make a difficult play look easy.”

O’Neal led the Cavaliers to a 60-4 record over her two-year career and two conference championships. She’s ranked seventh on JCCC’s all-time assists chart with 284, 11th all-time with 105 threes and tied for fourth all-time with a 79.6 career free-throw percentage. O’Neal totaled 695 career points for a career average of 11.2 points per game.

“Timeka is from the Kansas City Metro Area and grew up playing basketball with Natalie (Knight) and (incoming KU recruit) Chayla Cheadle,” Henrickson said. “She’s a local kid that can help us be successful here. We are excited about that aspect of her signing and staying close to home.”

Turner update: Myles Turner, a 6-foot-11 senior center from Trinity High in Euless, Texas, who had an in-home visit with KU coach Bill Self on Sunday, has visits scheduled with Duke, Texas, Texas A&M; and Oklahoma State this week, according to’s No. 6-rated player also has SMU and Ohio State on his list. Turner will announce his college choice on April 30 on ESPNU.

In-homes as reported by Self on Monday was to visit with Justin Simon, a 6-4 junior shooting guard from Temecula (Calif.) Valley High. He is ranked No. 23 in the recruiting Class of 2015. Self today will meet with Jaylen Brown, a 6-7 junior forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Ga., who is ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2015. On Wednesday, Self will stop by Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High to watch Stephen Zimmerman, a 7-foot junior who is ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2015.


Andy Hess 7 years, 5 months ago

It wouldn't surprise me if the the controversy involving KSU and Leticia Romero didn't have something to do with it as well.

Ian Emerson 7 years, 5 months ago

Denying Leticia to transfer was embarrassing for KSU program indeed.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 5 months ago

At least Bonnie doesn't restrict players from transferring, although it might be the worst thing ever for her if she did considering how girls transfer away from KU.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

Interesting that the KU Ladyhawk's incoming frosh point guard is taller than the two men's starting point guards...and if you believe the heights listed for the men, I've got some swamp land in Florida ready to sell to you.

I wonder if somewhere in the air between Marietta and Las Vegas Coach Self will be thinking to himself..."maybe the NBA isn't that bad after all!!" Even as a top notch elite program, you are still competing against at least a couple dozen other top programs for recruits.

WOW..your future in the hands of eighteen year olds. It worked out well for us but how do you think the Illinois coaching staff felt after Cliff "hat-faked" them. We've been there, had that done to us.... more times than I want to remember.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 5 months ago

There's an uncomfortably good chance that it could happen to us again next week.

John Randall 7 years, 5 months ago

That certainly could happen, but opening up a stronger competitive situation in backcourt might be of greater benefit . . .

Dirk Medema 7 years, 5 months ago

Kylee's taller because only men's BB programs measure in shoes and fudge heights?

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 5 months ago

Thape and Mason are both listed at 5'11". Kopatich is listed at 5'10". To say that she's taller you have to assume that the men's players are shorter than their listed height, or she is taller than her listed height, or both.

I used to argue that I thought Sherron and Reesing were both shorter than 5'11" and there were people on this board who were adamant that both were at least as tall as listed, having seen them around Lawrence. It's hard to judge anyone's height 6'0" or below when they're playing amongst players who are 6'4-7'. I've been 5'11.5" since I was a junior in HS so I'm just trying to tell if those guys are shorter than me or taller than me. They all look shorter than me, but they also all are more muscular than me which can make them look shorter than they are.

Ron Prichard 7 years, 5 months ago

Man, talk about going the extra mile(s)...Self was in Texas on Sunday (Easter, no less), California on Monday, Georgia on Tuesday, and then Las Vegas on Wednesday. That's a lot of frequent flier miles. I am guessing that he is using KU's private jet, which would make it a little better, but that is still a lot of time sitting in an airplane. These are the days and weeks that coaches really earn their money.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 5 months ago

Ok, no real basketball stories for two days. So, we get a women's basketball story. Excellent.

My struggle with women's basketball is that the local JV high school boys team is better than a D-1 college women's team. For example, I was at a boys JV game this past season and it was a much faster game, there was a dunk in the game, and the game was played at the rim, not a foot below the rim like the women's game. Seeing a women's game in person is underwhelming.

I very much enjoy watching girls basketball, high school level and below; but for some reason "women's" college basketball doesn't quite do it for me. I guess it's because I see games on TV, and that's kind of joke. Ratings are all that matter on TV so I get that. But seeing a game that is of lesser quality than a high school JV game on TV is a bit much.

By quality, I don't mean fundamentals. What I mean is simple competitiveness, speed, size, and athleticism. Having played directly against women's college players at Robinson back when I was in college just supports my opinion on the women's college game.

I just kind of view it as a different game completely. Like comparing baseball to tennis. Just different games. But a boring game at that.

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