Sacred Heart rising junior Kia Sivils has chosen a destination to continue her basketball career at the next level.
Sivils announced a verbal commitment to Marshall University on Saturday evening, ending a short recruitment. Sivils chose the Thundering Herd over an offer from Bellarmine, and she confirmed she also had interest from Butler and Ohio State.
“I knew Marshall was the right fit, my parents knew it, and I was happy and comfortable and ready to make it happen,” Sivils said in a phone interview.
Sivils is coming off a sophomore season at Sacred Heart in which she averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Sivils is one of three rising junior stars for the Valkyries this season, including last season’s leading scorer Grace Berger and Kieran “Kiki” Samsel. This summer, Sivils competed for the AAU team Kentucky Legacy.
“I am so proud of Kia and her commitment,” Sacred Heart head coach Donna Moir said. “Marshall is getting a great basketball player but an even better person. She practices the way she plays, giving all she has all the time. I am happy she has decided on a place to take her talents. The sky is the limit for her basketball career.”
The recruitment process between Sivils and Marshall began three months ago, when Marshall invited Sivils to campus for a visit. While on the visit, Thundering Herd coach Matt Daniel extended a scholarship offer.
“They like that I always hustle and I never give up on a play, that I’m a leader and I can be a very good asset to the team,” Sivils said.
The visit and team’s subsequent recruitment had a major impact on Sivils. She plans to double major in engineering and computer science – “I like to take things apart and put them together to make new things. That really interests me,” – and she liked what she saw from her future teammates as well as the educational programs the university offered within her potential major.
“When I went to visit the first time, I had never heard anything about (Marshall), but I was immediately comfortable with the coaching staff and felt comfortable with the progam. I met the players, they have a good program for my major, and it was a good opportunity.”
Earlier Saturday, Marshall held a one-day elite camp, featuring some of the best basketball players in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, including rising sophomore Cameron Browning of Male. While at the camp, Sivils decided to let Daniel in on the good news.
“They were happy,” Sivils said of the coaching staff’s reaction to her commitment. “Coach (Daniel) even had tears coming from his eyes. It was a joyful moment.”
With school starting this month, Sivils is preparing for her junior season, where she expects to team up with Samsel and Berger to strive for greater heights. Even with a majority of the team as sophomores last season, the Valkyries went 23-8, winning the 27th District before falling in the 7th Region semifinals to Male.
“Overall as a team I felt like we were young,” Sivils said of last season. “We really came along and matured as we did as freshman. Since we have 13 juniors we have to take that leadership role. As for myself I’ve seen my confidence grow in shooting the ball and being more vocal.
“I’m so excited for this season. I feel like we’ve come a long way and people better watch out.”