Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Looming Presence of Valerie Kast

THE PIT--Even before the game started, one had to ask, "Is that blonde pony-tailed girl whose head is sticking up out of the pre-game huddle Valerie Kast? She looked to be a few inches taller than coach Don Flanagan and absolutely towered over everybody else. As good as the rest of the team looked in their 82-43 victory over Vanguard University last night, Valerie Kast got everybody's attention.

I'm putting up all the pictures I have of her from the game. Notice she is not a skinny 6' 6." Players' weights are not listed like they do for the men's team, but she has to weigh twice as much as some of the other players.

I was impressed by how light on her feet she was...sort of quick-footed given her size. And she has an amazingly soft and deft touch around the basket. She went 2 for 2 from the field, including a nice little left-handed shot.

She can jump. She did come down with one rebound and one blocked shot. And she isn't afraid to mix it up. See that pile of girls on the floor? That's her foot sticking up. She's on the bottom with the ball.

Here are her stats from last night:
  • 4 minutes played
  • 4 points (2 -2)
  • 1 rebound (D)
  • 1 blocked shot
  • 0 fouls
  • 0 turn overs
Not bad...not bad at all. After the game Flanagan said he was just working on the basics with her and sincerely hoped that she might be able to contribute at some point this year. He doesn't want to push her too hard or too fast. And she does need to work some on her conditioning.

That is sort of like saying, "Yes that is a battle tank back there, but we're still working on the paint job." Valerie Kast. Oh yeah...Valerie Kast.

To quote from the GoLobos website:

HIGH SCHOOL: A 2006 graduate of Gallup High School...letterwinner in basketball and track and field...member of 2006 New Mexico Class 5A state championship team led by John Lomasney...named first team all-state in 2006 and second team in 2005...selected district 1-5A player of the year in 2006 and first team all-district in 2005 and 2006...McDonald's All-American nominee in 2005...named Estonia U18 team MVP in 2003...averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks a game her senior year.

PERSONAL: Born Valerie Kast in Tallinn, Estonia, on January 12, 1987...daughter of Larissa Tsigrinskaja...has one sister, Maria...hobbies include music, movies, art and dancing...favorite athletes are Larry Bird and Michael Jordan...plans on majoring in International Business Management.

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