KCKCC ALL-AMERICAN CHEYENNE NORTH PICKS ARKANSAS POWER
Being first in line has paid big dividends in the recruitment of Kansas City Kansas Community College basketball All-American Cheyenne North.
Arkansas Tech University out of Russellville, Ark., signed the 5-11 sophomore forward to a letter of intent Thursday, beating out several other Midwest suitors for the Most Valuable Player in the NJCAA Division II national tournament. KCKCC won the national title, winning four games by an average of 19 points.
"It was the first school to contact me when the season started; they reached out to Coach Mac (KCKCC Coach Joe McKinstry) during the pre-season jamboree at Johnson County," said North. "They stayed in contact during the season and watched all our games at the national tournament."
North said she chose Arkansas Tech over a half-dozen other college for several reasons, not the least of which was Arkansas Tech's ranking as an NJCAA Division II power. Last year, Tech finished 27-4 in the Great American Conference, losing to Pittsburg State University in the Central Region championship.
"I took a visit there and it really went great," said North. "It really felt like home, a place where I'll be comfortable the next two years. They've also got a winning program and I really liked the coaches (head coach Dave Wilbers and assistant Roman Tubner). It has almost 15,000 students and is the No. 1 growing college in Arkansas."
"Cheyenne proved on the highest stage that she is without a doubt one of the best players in the country," said McKinstry. "She's as skilled and versatile as any player in the country and yet a very unselfish player who understands the game to where she does what's right."
North said she narrowed a half dozen or more offers down to three colleges – Arkansas Tech, Central Missouri and Columbia College. "I took visits to Arkansas Tech and CMU but never got to Columbia," she said. Others were Missouri Southern, Georgetown College and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. North will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts in May,
In North, Arkansas Tech will be getting an outstanding rebounder, shot blocker and scorer. North led Region VI in rebounding (10.9) and blocked shots (2.9) and finished fourth in scoring. For the season, she average 15.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.9 blocks. She also shot 48.2 percent from the field after 52.5 percent as a freshman when she average 11.5 points and 7.9 rebounds.
North said her ability to rebound against taller rivals began at an early age. "When I was in high school, I had an upperclassmen who was a good rebounder but undersized," said North. "She helped me read the ball coming off the rim, focus on timing and getting good position." North is a graduate of Gallatin, Tenn., a Nashville suburb.
With the loss of its leading scorer, Arkansas Tech is hoping North will be able to fill some of the gap. "We're losing our leading scorer but it's not going to be a building year," says North, "We're going to keep the ball rolling."
PHOTO IDENT (No. 2707)
Teammates and coaches were on hand Thursday to Kansas City Kansas Community College All-American Cheyenne North signing a letter of intent to attend Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. (KCKCC Photo by Jason Browar)