By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
FRANKTON, Ind. —
Frankton senior girls basketball player Kelsey Key hasn’t just chosen a college, but she’s agreed to be part of history for a university.
Key on Wednesday announced she accepted a scholarship offer from Northern Kentucky to play for the Norse and coach Dawn Plitzuweit.
She will be part of a five-player freshman class next year as Northern Kentucky makes its transition this year to NCAA Division I after a long period of success at the Division II level.
“That was an important part of my decision,” said Key, who last year eclipsed the 1,000-point mark. “Being able to play at that level of competition is exciting.”
“When I came in here in May, we inherited a program with 11 players,” said Plitzuweit. “These incoming freshmen will be critical to our success.”
Key will fit in exactly with what the Norse crave.
“We have seven players who are forwards or back-to-the-basket post players,” said Plitzuweit. “We think Kelsey and the other recruits will fill the void on the perimeter. We want to play fast. We want to be an attacking team, and these players will let us do that.”
The decision for Key was really brought into focus when she made a visit to the campus in Highland Heights, Ky.
“When she visited Florida Gulf Coast and she talked to me about it, I could tell it wasn’t the right place,” said Frankton coach Dean Riddle. “When she told me about her visit to Northern Kentucky, I knew it was the right place.”
“I really liked the campus and the coaches and the way all of the players were so enthusiastic about playing there,” said Key. “When I was there, I got to stay with the sophomores and a junior. I got to go to a couple of practices.”
The facilities at the university are top drawer, and basketball gets a lot of attention there.
“We have a mini-NBA arena,” said Plitzuweit. “We have suites and a wonderful place to watch a game. The university doesn’t have football so we can get the student body behind basketball here.”
Plitzuweit is pleased to have Key’s signature.
“I had a chance to see her play in Tennessee last summer,” said Plitzuweit. “I was impressed with her ability to impact the game right away. Everyone knows her to be a great scorer. But she has the tools to be a good defensive player. She understands the game. Of all the players I saw, she had the best awareness of the game. You can tell she’s really well coached, and we’re excited to have her coming here.”
The nearness (two-hour drive from Frankton) of the school had an impact on Key’s decision.
“My mom and dad will be able to come down some,” said Key. “Plus my brother and sister, too. My sister will be playing two more years (at Frankton) while I’m in college. Plus (Northern Kentucky) is going to be playing teams like Ball State and Butler.”
Key will also enjoy the fact that teams won’t be able to double-team or even triple-team her at that level, something she has experienced most of her career.
“She will probably look up and say, ‘Where did everybody go,’” said Riddle. “That will take an adjustment. But I think she’s going to see less of that as this season moves along as well.”
Frankton’s next game will be at Pendleton Heights on Saturday night.