Kansas City Kansas Community College all-conference forward Brooklyn Wagler has been chosen to play in this summer's NJCAA Women's Basketball Coaches All-Star Games.
One of 41 players chosen nationally, Wagler is the first Lady Blue Devil to be chosen for the elite games to be played Saturday and Sunday at Northwest Florida Community College in Dustin. The 41 players will be divided into four teams and will play two games as part of the NJCAA Women's Coaches Hall of Fame weekend.
One of only two players selected from the Jayhawk Conference, Wagler is also one of only eight non-Division I players selected to the elite team. Szonja Vukov of Highland is the only other player selected from the Jayhawk.
An All-Jayhawk and All-Region VI selection, Wagler was also named to the NJCAA Division II national all-tournament tournament team for her play in helping KCKCC win its first national championship. A 5-8 forward from SM Northwest, Wagler averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds for the season although she increased them to 13.6 points and 8.8 rebounds in conference play. She also led Region VI in shooting percentage at 56.7 percent.
"Absolutely deserving," said KCKCC head coach Joe McKinstry of Wagler's selection. "It's a great honor for her but also is a positive reflection on our college and team and a great reward for her sacrifice in doing what she needed to do to help this team win."
"I'm very excited ? and very nervous," says Wagler. "I've never been to Florida; never been to the ocean. The whole year has just been crazy. Winning the national championship and then being chosen one of the top 40 returning freshmen, it's all kind of crazy to hear."
A guard in high school at SM Northwest, Wagler moved to forward at KCKCC to fill a rebounding need despite being undersized at just 5-8. "It was a big change," she says. "I'd played point guard my whole life and I loved the change. It was the most fun I've ever had playing basketball. At point guard, you're not able to be as aggressive and I like to be physical. I love the physical aspect and love rebounding. At least once a game Coach would tell me 'We need a rebound and we need you to have it.' "
In the national semifinals, Wagler had nine rebounds in an 81-59 win over No. 1 seeded Monroe and 10 in the 81-59 championship win over No. 2 Illinois Central. "She has a motor that sets her apart from players who are bigger or more talented," says McKinstry. "She's constantly competing and playing hard and what really sets her apart is that I don't have to call plays or single her out to put her in position to contribute. She does it with her effort and basketball IQ; always in the right place at the right time."
Brooklyn Wagler's basketball coach Joe McKinstry and forward Brooklyn Wagler go over Wagler's itinerary for her participation this weekend in the NJCAA Women's Basketball Coaches All-Star games in Dustin, Fla. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)