Olmsted Falls senior Kerri Gasper was thinking about her basketball future and her future after basketball earlier this week when she orally committed to the University of Evansville.
Gasper, a shooting guard, was highly sought after by a number of other midmajor Division I programs but she chose the Purple Aces because of coach Oties Epps’ basketball program and the school’s nursing program.
“I knew what I wanted when I went to visit these different schools,” Gasper said. “I wanted to feel the family vibe where you feel like your new teammates and coaches aren’t going to be just teammates and coaches, they’re going to be part of your family.”
“Also, I want to be a nurse and the nursing program is a direct entry program at Evansville so that made my decision a lot easier. As a freshman, I can start taking my nursing courses and won’t have to go into pre-nursing.”
Prior to making her commitment, Gasper also visited Kent State, Youngstown State and Cleveland State as well as taking a brief tour of the Xavier campus in Cincinnati.
Gasper, who averaged 14.7 points a game during her junior season, was apprehensive at first about going to an out-of-state school but quickly warmed to the idea.
“At first the thought was kinda scary but when I think about it, I know the seniors and the coaches will have my back and will be there for me no matter if I’m homesick or if I’m having the time of my life,” she said.
Her experiences playing AAU basketball for a TNBA team which travels extensively across the Midwest and Southeast each summer has also helped her prepare to be away from home.
“When I’m playing summer basketball I’m usually not with my parents the entire time,” she said. “I’m bonding with my teammates. That’s usually the best part, so I’m looking forward to getting to do that at Evansville.”
She also credits her TNBA coach Kevin McNamara with helping her through the recruiting process.
“Mac has had my back ever since I stepped foot into the TNBA world,” she said. “He has influenced me in every way possible. It’s not just a player-coach bond it’s more than that, it’s a true friendship. Mac has helped me with every aspect of my life, basketball and not basketball.”
“I talked to coach Epps Sunday morning and then the first thing I did was call coach McNamara and tell him everything he said and I told (McNamara) that I had made up my mind. I knew he would support me wherever I decided to go.”
The 5-foot-11 Gasper showed off her all-around talents last season, averaging eight rebounds and almost three assists a game for Olmsted Falls. She was also a 90 percent free throw shooter and shot 31 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
With the recruiting process out of the way, Gasper can go about the business of enjoying her senior year.
“I felt really relieved on Sunday that the process is over, knowing I’m committed gets me back in the mindset for my senior year of high school to work on being the best I can be, on and off the court,” she said. “Every girl I’ve ever played with and every coach I’ve ever had has been a part of helping me get better and becoming the player I am. I would not be where I am now without so many great people around me.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.