By SCOTT COTTOS
THE REVIEW TIMES
BLOOMDALE — An aspiration became reality for Kristen Curtis Tuesday.
The Elmwood senior’s signature on a National Letter of Intent made her a member of the Ursuline College women’s basketball team, beginning in the next school year.
“I’ve always wanted to, ever since I was little,” the 2013-14 Northern Buckeye Conference player of the year said of playing college basketball. “But just with the year I had, my senior year, it just kind of let me know that if I put in the work it’s worth it in the end, and if I continue to work I can continue to get better and improve myself.”
Curtis, a 5-foot-10 senior, is coming off a season in which she helped the Royals win their second consecutive Northern Buckeye Conference championship by averaging 16.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Elmwood coach Doug Reynolds well knows that Curtis didn’t make her way into an NCAA Division II college program on talent alone.
“I’ll tell you what — it is a great feeling to know when a kid has put in that kind of effort,” he said. “And you talk about effort: She was always in the gym after practice. She was always one of those who — hey, the lights are going off, it’s time to go home, and she always wanted to end on making so many baskets in a row and then it might be her 3-point shooting or her foul shooting. She has just worked so hard. …
“She was a great leader for us. She became a lot more vocal for us this year as a senior, which is something we like to see. But she worked on all aspects of her game that she was going to need to go to college, and she is just going to be a real good one. They are getting a great individual, a great student-athlete. We’re going to miss her. She did a lot of things for us. But good luck to her.”
Ursuline’s first contact with Curtis came through assistant coach Aaron Horn, who was one of her coaches with the Toledo Elite AAU team. The school located in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike was one of several that showed interest in her.
“In the beginning, it was really stressful,” Curtis, who plans to study biology with an eye toward a career in the medical field, said of the recruiting process. “I had several options and it was hard to make a decision, but once I visited Ursuline and got to know the players and I was able to play with them, it was unbelievable and that kind of made my decision a lot easier.”
Curtis said she’s excited to be joining a program that in coach Shannon Sword’s first two seasons went from 4-22 overall and 0-16 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in 2012-13 to 14-14 and 8-8 last year.
“It shows that she’s working to build the program up and the kids are responding,” Curtis said. “So that’s something huge to think about and something I want to be a part of.”
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