Kysre Gondrezick found out through Facebook how she was rewarded for a summer of hard work.
She was browsing Michigan basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico’s page and saw the congratulations: The Benton Harbor senior guard had been named to the 10-player Naismith Trophy girls basketball player of the year watch list.
Listed along with the likes of Lauren Cox of Flower Mound, Texas; Aerianna Harris of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Valerie Higgins of Granada Hills, Calif., the high-scoring star used the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League to showcase and sharpen her skills over the summer.
She led the EYBL in scoring (17.9 points per game) and assists (7.8) for Michigan Crossover.
The team made it to the championship game, which Gondrezick had to miss after the being knocked unconscious in the semifinal when a defender bumped heads with her in trying to steal the basketball. Smelling salts didn’t immediately revive her, and she was in the hospital during the title game.
Fiercely competitive, the setbacks haven’t quenched her thirst for success.
U-M won out over Baylor for her college choice, because, she said, “Coach asked me if I wanted to go to a program that’s established, or did I want to come and help build something?”
Building won out.
“I really came into my own this summer,” Gondrezick said. “My entire life I played alongside my sister Kalabrya. I finally understood who Kysre was and what type of basketball player that I want to be and what my strengths and weaknesses were. Playing for Michigan Crossover, I identified all that.
“My entire life I’ve been playing the two position (shooting guard). They played me at the point. I struggled a little bit at the beginning. Later on in the summer, I just took over. I have never loved playing the point guard position as much as I love it now. I even told my mom when I got back that, ‘I’m playing the point.’
“I had a conversation with my coaches at the University of Michigan, and I asked them, ‘What position would I be playing?’ And they said, ‘We think you can score, but you’re one heck of a point guard. You can still score and be able to find your teammates. You have a high basketball IQ.’ So now when people ask me my position, I say I’m a true combo guard.”
Her mom is Lisa Harvey-Gondrezick, her high school coach. Her grandfather is Lou Harvey, who along with Destiny Williams led the Tigers to a state Class A title in 2009.
The Tigers made it to last year’s Class B state semifinals with the Gondrezicks leading the way in the backcourt. Kalabrya is now a freshman playing at Michigan State.
Kysre is primed to vie for Miss Basketball honors as she tries to lead the Tigers back to the Breslin Center.
Her mentor, WNBA star Skylar Diggins, will be watching. “She has known her since Skylar was in high school,” said Harvey-Gondrezick. “Skylar has come to watch her play over the summer.”
As a junior, Gondrezick averaged 25.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.6 steals per game. She’s 24 points shy of 2,000 for her career.
Harvey is a great source of knowledge about the game, and Harvey-Gondrezick is her harshest critic and most staunch supporter.
“The silhouette soul of Kysre’s voice has a huge impact on our team,” said Harvey-Gondrezick. “Her teammates like and respect the identity she’s become. She leads by committed example of commitment, work ethic and sportsmanship. Her ambition ascends beyond comprehension of everyone else’s thoughts. No challenge is too great, no loss empty of victory.
“Kysre’s skill-sets provide an arsenal of attack off the dribble, mid-range shots and a three-point perimeter threat. Her IQ of the game enhances the showcase of others by her precision passing abilities and court recognition in transition and half-court. She’s an amazing talent to watch.”
Gondrezick said it’s more difficult than people would imagine playing for your mother. The rides home can be difficult when the player needs the voice of mom and not the coach.
Well-rounded on and off the court, Gondrezick has a 4.3 grade-point average, scored an 11 out of 12 on the writing portion of the SAT, and has been the junior editor of the Benton Spirit paper since she was a freshman.
She plans to major in communication at U-M.
Gondrezick used the EYBL “to become more crafty and sharpen my game,” she said.
“Most importantly, my leadership qualities and capabilities. Coming into my own and being able to be vocal. I’ve always led through my actions. Now being able to say I’m a senior and I have to control my team. I have to make sure people are in the right spots. Having different relationships with each individual on my team, everyone can’t take constructive criticism lightly. One thing I learned is that, although you get on your teammates when you do get on them, make sure you are their biggest supporter when they do something right.
“And don’t ever ask them to do anything more than what you are doing. Over the summer I grew not only as a basketball player, but as a person. I’m truly appreciative that Michigan Crossover provided that for me.”
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.
Top 20 players
1. Kysre Gondrezick, Benton Harbor, 5-foot-9 senior guard.
2. Destiny Pitts, Birmingham Detroit Country Day, 5-10 junior guard
3. Jordan Walker, Muskegon Mona Shores, 5-7 junior guard.
4. Madreika Cook, Muskegon, 6-1 senior, forward-guard.
5. Siyeh Frazier, Detroit Renaissance, 5-7 senior guard.
6. Clare Glowniak, Flushing, 6-2 senior center.
7. Deja Church, Southfield-Lathrup, 5-8 junior guard
8. Alexis Sevillian, Goodrich, 5-6 senior guard
9. Jalisha Terry, Flint Hamady, 5-7 senior guard
10. Nastassja Chambers, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, 5-9 senior guard
11. Laurel Jacqmain, Saginaw Nouvel, 5-8 senior forward
12. Alicia Norman, Detroit King, 5-1 junior guard
13. Abbey Ostman, St. Ignace, 5-9 senior guard-forward.
14. Cassidy Boensch, Bay City Glenn, 5-10 senior guard.
15. Ellie Taylor, Midland Dow, 5-9 junior guard
16. Sophia Karasinski, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 5-9 junior guard
17. Alisia Smith, Lansing Waverly, 6-3 junior center
18. Antoinette Miller, Southfield-Lathrup, 5-6 senior guard
19. Kristen Nelson, Farmington Hills Harrison, 5-8 senior guard
20. Kamaria McDaniel, Dearborn Heights Robichaud, 5-10 junior guard