Bollant lands pair of guards
Brooke Kissinger, a junior guard who holds the Nebraska state record for single-season three-pointers, orally committed to the Illinois women’s basketball team.
The Illini also will add a college transfer, point guard Kyley Simmons, from Missouri.
The sophomore, who started 27 games for the Tigers last season, will be required to sit out the 2013-14 campaign under NCAA transfer rules but then will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
A three-year varsity starter for Minden High School, Kissinger averaged 19.5 points and made 83 three-pointers last season. She sank a record 110 treys as a freshman and will enter her senior year No. 2 on the all-time state list with 271 three-pointers.
“Her No. 1 asset would be her unlimited range from the outside,” Minden coach Rick Chramosta said Wednesday. “She’s a point guard for me, but most universities look at her as more of a scoring guard.”
Kissinger said Wednesday her choice came down to Illinois and Creighton.
“I had visited Illinois a couple of times and, being on campus, I knew that it was the place for me,” she said. “That was my gut feeling, and I went with it.
“I loved the coaches and the campus and everything about it. It was the right fit for me.”
Following her junior season, Kissinger was selected All-Nebraska second team and Class C-1 first team. She also competes for the Lincoln, Neb.-based Cornhusker Shooting Stars club team.
“She’s one of the best pure shooters I’ve ever coached in 16 years,” Shooting Stars coach Dan Lesoing said Wednesday. “She’s got unbelievable range. She’ll shoot 25- to 28-foot jump shots, and it’s a pure jump shot. She’s not just throwing it up there.”
The 5-foot-8 Kissinger indicated that she might be redshirted as a true freshman to work on increasing her strength. She said the Illini coaching staff has discussed that possibility with her.
“I think Brooke will be the first to admit she probably needs to get stronger,” Chramosta said. “Big Ten basketball is a physical game, and Brooke will have to hit the weights. ... But it doesn’t hold her back from competing. Brooke is quite a competitor.”
Like Kissinger, Simmons is a product of the Shooting Stars program. A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, the 5-7 Simmons was recruited out of high school by first-year Illini coach Matt Bollant when he was at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Last season, Simmons ranked second among Missouri players in assists (82) and steals (37) while averaging 3.5 points for a 17-15 Tigers team.
“She’s a really smart player,” Lesoing said. “She’s got great quickness. She sees the floor well and is a good passer.
“Coming out of high school, she was one of the better point guards I saw across the country. Maybe not top five or 10, but she was in the top 20, in my opinion.”