For the past several years, Kylee Griffen has been recruited by a variety of college basketball programs. Griffen, now a senior at Lake Stevens High School, didn’t have to look far for first-hand advice on how to deal with the recruiting process — both her father, Dexter, and her mother, Alisa, played NCAA Division I basketball.
Dexter played at Eastern Washington and Montana State, and Alisa played at Boise State.
“It was overwhelming toward the end when I realized I had to make a decision,” Griffen said. “I was lucky to have my parents to talk to. They definitely helped me keep everything in perspective. There’d be times when I’d get back home from visits and I’d be ready to commit right then. But they helped me to take everything one step at a time and (avoid) quick decisions.”
Griffen, ranked as the 11th-best wing player in the country in the class of 2018 by espn.com, had offers from schools all over the nation, but in the end she decided to stay relatively close to home. She planned to sign a letter of intent Wednesday to continue her career at Gonzaga.
“It’s a great fit for her,” Lake Stevens girls basketball coach Randy Edens said.
The Spokane school’s scholarship offer was Griffen’s first. But even as she continued to visit other schools, she had a good feeling about joining the Bulldogs.
“I just felt like (the coaching staff) was easy to talk to, they wanted to know about all aspects of me besides just basketball,” said Griffen, who plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. “(The players) were welcoming, and I could tell the entire team was close. They reached out and talked to me, not just out of obligation.”
Gonzaga, now coached by Lisa Fortier, has won the West Coast Conference regular-season title in 12 of the past 13 seasons.
Several of Griffen’s extended family members live in the Spokane area.
“I’ve got grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins there. They’re all big (Gonzaga) fans,” she said. “It will be nice for them to be there. When I want to get away for a bit, I’ll have family members that I can go see.”
At Lake Stevens, the 6-foot-2 Griffen has primarily served as an inside player, but she’ll be asked to play a wing spot in college.
“I came into high school as a post, but the coaching staff at Lake Stevens knew that I’d have to play a guard spot in college, so they’ve worked with me on becoming a more versatile player,” she said. “The main thing I want to work on now is getting stronger. I’m also working to develop my 3-point shot.”
Griffen averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds per game last season for the Vikings. She earned first-team All-Wesco 4A honors and was a second-team Herald All-Area selection.
“Her versatility (will translate to the Division-I level),” Edens said. “From day one, her motor has set her apart. No matter what type of environment — open gyms, practices, games — she’s going 100 percent. That’s what sets her apart, and that’s what’s attractive to Division I programs. She’s a special case, and that’s why she’s getting a special opportunity.”