Klee: College recruiting a dizzying trail for Mesa Ridge sophomore

By: Paul Klee
March 14, 2014 Updated: March 14, 2014 at 11:25 am
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photo - Mesa Ridge's Kylee Shook blocks the shot of Pueblo South's Shannon Patterson during the semi-finals of the 4A state championships in Boulder on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Mesa Ridge won the game 40-38 and will play in the state championship game on Saturday in Boulder. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Mesa Ridge's Kylee Shook blocks the shot of Pueblo South's Shannon Patterson during the semi-finals of the 4A state championships in Boulder on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Mesa Ridge won the game 40-38 and will play in the state championship game on Saturday in Boulder. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

BOULDER - What were you doing at 13?

Kylee Shook was earning her first verbal scholarship offer, from the University of Colorado, following her second high school game at Mesa Ridge. She was taking a recruiting visit to Washington. She was 6-feet of gangly, giggly potential.

At 13, Kylee was playing basketball for the first of three club teams. This preceded a recruiting battle between dozens of other club teams, all of which desperately wanted the prodigious post player. What were you doing at 13?

"Honestly, the whole thing has been like a movie," said her father, Jerry Shook. "Sometimes you have to remind her how special this is. It's all she's ever known."

Down in the tunnel at Coors Events Center after Mesa Ridge's 40-38 win against Pueblo South, Kylee reenacted the blocked shot that led to the game-winning layup by Tiffani Jackson. Kylee threw her hands into the air and let out a screech that only a 15-year-old female could possibly accomplish.

"Did you think it was a foul?" she asked.

Nope, you went straight up. Great block.

"I thought I was straight up. I hoped so, at least."

Kylee was just OK in Thursday's Class 4A state semifinal game. She had two points, nine rebounds and was credited with one block, presumably the final block that turned a sloppy turnover-fest into a last-second thriller. She really had at least four other blocks, but whatever. Any college coach who saw her backpedal into post position, drop into help defense without a coach's suggestion or dribble with either hand, would suggest she will play her college ball just about anywhere she wants.

CU coach Linda Lappe sat in the front row at Thursday's game. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma showed up to watch Kylee's club team at a showcase last fall. "He had an entourage," her dad said. She has four verbal scholarship offers, all from Pac-12 schools, all before NCAA rules allow college coaches to contact her directly.

"When that happens (next fall), we're probably going to change our phone number," her dad said. "But from what I hear, they are pretty respectful of the process."

The process is dizzying, enough so that Kylee will finish this high school season in Saturday's state championship game against Broomfield, before flying to Dallas next weekend for a practice with her club team. (This, after her 16th birthday Tuesday.) The next weekend she will fly to Albuquerque to practice again with the New Mexico Heat. The next weekend she's scheduled to play in The Show, a collection of the state's top high school players.

"That night we're going straight from the Pepsi Center to the airport so she can fly to Dallas," Jerry Shook said.

"Honestly, at times it can get pretty overwhelming," Kylee said. "The attention, especially, all the coaches that call my coach, things like that. But I like it. I know I'm lucky. I'm really grateful for the attention. It's pretty cool. I like it."

Upon breaking away from an interview, she rejoins her teammates in a huddle of hugs and, yes, more giggles.

"Yeah, we got to dress in the (CU) locker room," she said. "It's wonderful, the leather couches and it's so spread out. We really liked that. That was cool."

Kylee said she aims to make a college choice by the end of her junior year. About every six months, she weighs her options.

"I like teams with matching shoes," she said.

What were you doing at 15?

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