McKnight headed to Centre to continue basketball career

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Unlike some college seniors, Bullitt Central's Kaitlyn McKnight said that the recruiting process was never difficult for her.
 That was probably why McKnight was smiling throughout a ceremony this spring in the Bullitt Central library as she signed to play her college basketball at Centre College in Danville.
 McKnight will follow the same path as her high school coach. Bryan Bates also attended Centre College.
 "They started talking to me at the beginning of the season," McKnight said after doing all the paperwork to attend the NCAA Division III school. "It was after the season before I went down there. I did see them play."
 Before opting for Centre, McKnight also checked out the campuses at Spalding and Transylvania here in Kentucky as well as St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana.
 "I just loved the campus and I love the academic part," McKnight said of the decision to attend Centre. "It felt like the place I had to go."
 McKnight, the 18-year old daughter of Kenny and Kathy McKnight, plans to major in mathematics at Centre and then become a pharmaceutical statistician. That idea came about during her senior year at Bullitt Central when she took an advance placement statistics class.
 "I just fell in love with it," she said.
 McKnight is the oldest of four in her family. Sister Emily is a freshman at Bullitt Central who plays basketball and runs cross-country while Ryan is a seventh-grader at Bernheim with Kelsey being a third-grader at Lebanon Junction Elementary.
 McKnight started playing basketball at Bernheim Middle School as a sixth-grader and after three years with the Lady Bruins moved over to Bullitt Central at the end of her eighth-grade season. She then wore maroon and gray for five years, joining the Lady Cougars' varsity squad during her freshman season.
 Between Bernheim and Bullitt Central, McKnight and fellow Lady Cougar senior Seaera Minyard were teammates for seven straight seasons. (Minyard has signed to play at Indiana University Southeast).
 McKnight has also had a long relationship with Josh and Tonya Cravens. The two coached her at Bernheim and Josh continued those workouts as an assistant coach at Bullitt Central.
 Although she stands 5-10, McKnight would like to move away from the basket at the next level.
 "I think I will be playing a shooting guard position," the senior said. "Or I could be a wing type guard like I played here."
 Bates coached her for five years at Bullitt Central and he was also smiling the day of her signing.
 "To me, this is the best thing about coaching," the coach said. "Especially in a situation like this where she is going to a great school."
 McKnight leaves Bullitt Central in the top-10 all time in both scoring and rebounding. She was ninth in scoring with 955 career points.
 "She and Seaera, it's hard to believe how close they are to each other in those categories," Bates said.
 As a senior, McKnight was voted to the All-Sixth Region team by the coaches.
 Bates also sees McKnight moving away from the basket at the next level.
 "I think she is a three or a four, like a small forward," the coach explained. "With our situation she was big enough to go down low. She passes the look test. She is lean and long."
 McKnight did some weightlifting out of season in high school, but she will get more of that in college.
 "Strength and foot speed will be important," Bates said. "She'll have to work hard and study. I'm sure she will get better grades than I got."
 At Centre, McKnight will play for head coach Wendie Austin-Robinson who has been heading up that program for the past 14 seasons. This past winter, the Lady Colonels were 26-4 overall and finished 14-2 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
 At the end of the season, Centre won three straight games to take the SCAC Championship, beating Milsaps in the final 60-48. The Lady Colonels then defeated Washington (Missouri) in the first-round of the NCAA Division III national tournament before falling to Carthage (Wisconsin) 71-61 in the round of 16.
 Centre College lost eight seniors off that team.