PRESTONSBURG — All of Kaitlyn Keathley’s hard work has paid off.
The Prestonsburg High School standout, who was honored as an All-State selection following the conclusion of her senior season earlier in the year, signed with NCAA Division 1 program Presbyterian College on Wednesday.
Keathley averaged 17.8 points, 5.1 assists and 6.5 rebounds for Prestonsburg during her senior season. She totaled over 1,400 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 350 steals during her high school career. And, her high school teams averaged 20 wins per season.
“I’m so thankful to all of my coaches and teammates, past and present,” Keathley confided. “Without them, I wouldn’t be living out a dream I’ve had since junior high.
“I can’t thank Coach (Brandon) Kidd enough for his belief in me and putting me in a successful situation this season. His confidence in me and his style of play allowed me to perform at my best. Plus, that allowed us to have a great season as a team. For me, individually, I couldn’t have asked for a better year or coach to play for.”
One of the state’s top girls’ high school basketball players, Keathley continuously works to improve her game.
“Today was a special day and to see all the hard work pay off makes all those hours in the gym worth it,” Keathley added. “My Dad always told me to focus on my journey and to have tunnel vision. Don’t think about awards, college basketball or what anyone else is doing. Just focus on the daily work and being the best you can be and everything else will fall into place. Today was exactly the perfect ending to that journey and a new beginning for me and my life.”
The Prestonsburg senior is looking forward to her future.
“I can’t thank (Presbyterian College) Coach (Alaura) Sharp and her coaching staff enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their basketball team and family,” Keathley commented. “I’m going to work every single day to be the best teammate, player and student I can be. Whatever my role is as a freshman I will embrace it and be someone they can count on daily. I’m not worried about playing time — I just want to get better everyday and grow as a player at Presbyterian.”
Presbyterian College competes in the Big South Conference and often faces some of the nation’s top teams in non-conference games.
“Having the opportunity to play against the very best in the country is what you strive for as a competitor,” said Keathley. “To know you’re competing for a Big South Conference Championship each season and a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament is even more motivation to get in the gym and improve. There’s no doubt that under Coach Sharp and the rest of the coaching staff I will grow as a player and person. I will be pushed to become better and I can’t wait to get on campus and get to work. When I put the Presbyterian uniform on next season I know I’m not only representing myself but every player from the Mountains. I’m going to work everyday to make my teammates, coaches and peers proud. There’s so much talent in girls’ basketball here. I hope college coaches will continue to come out and recruit and sign players from this area. I’m proud to be representing the 15th Region.”
Prestonsburg Coach Brandon Kidd was quick to compliment his standout player.
“I am so proud of Kaitlyn,” Kidd commented. “Since day one when she arrived here at Prestonsburg she told me her goal was to play college basketball and today she reached that goal. Her work ethic is second to none and Presbyterian is getting a great young player.”
Keathley and Kidd meshed well during the Presbyterian College signee’s senior season and that helped the Prestonsburg girls’ basketball team win 20 games
“People told me when I took this job I couldn’t build a successful program at Prestonsburg,” Kidd added. “Now, here we are two years later and we are having a girl signing to play college basketball. This is why I became a coach — to help change kids’ lives. Today, I believe we did that.”
Kevin Keathley, the father of the newest Presbyterian College women’s basketball signee, was excited to see his daughter reach a longtime goal.
“I’m so proud of Kaitlyn and to see her realize her dream is overwhelming,” said Kevin Keathley, a veteran professional basketball coach. “Her brothers, (my wife) Leigh Ann and I couldn’t be more excited for her. She’s going to play for an outstanding coach and program. I love what Coach Sharp and her coaching staff are building at Presbyterian. It’s really exciting and I’m proud and happy for Kaitlyn.
“I’ve watched first hand the sacrifices she’s made to earn this opportunity. Those sacrifices have included a lot of lonely hours in the gym and a lot of sweat and long days. When you see it all come together it makes it even more special. Thank you to Coach Kidd and every coach that has coached her over the years. The hours they’ve put in to improving her game is appreciated on so many levels.”
Presbyterian College Coach Alaura Sharp looks forward to welcoming Kaitlyn Keathley to her Clinton, South Carolina-based women’s college basketball program.
“We are excited to bring Kaitlyn into our program,” said Sharp. “She comes from a coaching family and understands what it takes to be successful at the college level. Her character and work ethic are unmatched. She is extremely quick and has a knack to create off the dribble. She is a good shooter and has a big upside as a player.”