Carroll star point guard wins summer national title

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For two seasons, Carroll point guard Kennedy Leonard has wowed North Texas high school basketball fans with skills considerably beyond those of a normal underclassman.

This summer, she took those skills to the national level and won.

Leonard was a member of Cy Fair, a club basketball team based out of Houston, which won the Gold Division championship of the Nike Nationals July 27-30 in North Augusta, S.C.

Cy Fair took down the Cal Stars, an All-Star squad from California, 69-59 in the championship game.

Pool play was a challenge for Leonard’s team, she said, as they claimed first place out of a three-way tie, thanks to a loss by a team out of Georgia.

The semifinals was not only a huge challenge for Cy Fair, but was Leonard’s moment biggest moment in the spotlight.

In a game that saw Cy Fair erase a five-point deficit with two minutes to play to win by three points, Leonard hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the volleyball line, several feet behind the arc.

It was a great relief to Leonard, who said her shot had not been falling previously in the tournament.

In that game, Leonard also faced off against ESPN National Recruiting’s No. 4 player in the class of 2014 and Ohio State commit Kelsey Mitchell.

Compared to the semifinal battle, the championship game was somewhat of a cakewalk for Cy Fair.

“[The semifinal] was a nail-biter, but in the championship game we were up the whole game and ended up winning by 10, so that game was a relief you could say,” Leonard said.

Naturally, playing games at that level expedites skill development for the already standout point guard, but it’s the experience of learning how to win at a high level that Leonard said she will take back to her high school team in Southlake.

“It lets me go into high school and step up for my team and let them know that if we want to be the best in the state we have to be very disciplined and do exactly what the coaches say,” she said. “It puts me in a better leadership role for them.”

However, it also as ensured Leonard’s junior year will be a hectic one.

With new NCAA recruiting rules that allow coaches to contact juniors after Sept. 1, Leonard’s high school head coach Teri Morrison knows she will have her phone blown up by coaches throughout the year, especially after the success of her summer team last month.

“There were probably 400 college coaches there and all the huge, top programs were there,” Morrison said. “Kennedy has been recruited strongly, but this just sealed the deal for her. Even more people are starting to come out of the woodwork.”

Leonard, standing at 5-8, is the 21st overall point guard in the nation according to ESPN National Recruiting, and drew scouts attention for her ability and work ethic on the defensive side of the court at the tournament.

As of now, she has a list of around 20 schools, which she keeps confidential, who have her interest, which will be narrowed down later this fall once coaches from all over the country begin contacting her.

But before things begin to really get serious in Leonard’s career this year, it was nice to kick back and enjoy a title run.

“You don’t really take it too seriously,” she said of the tournament. “We went there to have fun and represent the Cy Fair name.”

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