KASSON — Kristin Scott knows what she likes when she sees it, and maybe the same can be said of longtime Iowa State University women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly.
Fennelly evidently didn't need many looks before deciding that Scott would make a good Cyclone one day, and Scott needed just one visit to Ames, Iowa, to realize that ISU is just where she wants to play.
Scott, a 6-foot-2 sophomore center at Kasson-Mantorville High School, made an early verbal commitment to Iowa State after visiting the campus last weekend.
She is the second underclassman player from southeast Minnesota to commit to a Division I college program in three months, after John Marshall junior Jamie Ruden said she'd play at Arizona State in November.
"I'm not going to say it was an easy decision, because it wasn't," Scott said. "I have to say it was because of going there and meeting with the coaches and touring the campus.
"It's just a great opportunity to play Division I basketball and still be close to home. That was important because I'm a family girl."
Kristin is the daughter of Kelly and Randy Scott, and she has six siblings who will want to see her play in college. Kristin got her height from her dad Randy, who is 6-5.
"I've always been taller than all of my friends, and growing up I wasn't always so good with that," she admitted. "I felt like the odd one out sometimes because of my height."
But Scott also has uncommon athleticism to go with her uncommon height, and she began turning heads and controlling games as soon as she started playing youth basketball.
"I think my ability is a mix of inherited and hard work," she said. "I'd have to say I kind of knew when I was younger that I could be a pretty good basketball player."
Ryan Haraldson is in his 14th season as K-M's head girls basketball coach and has seen Scott coming for a long time. He wasn't surprised when she made big entrances last year in both her first high school varsity season and her first AAU season.
As a freshman, Scott averaged about 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots per game and helped K-M to the Section 1AAA championship and its first state tournament. Haraldson said she shined on the big stage of Williams Arena with a double-double in the KoMets' first-round loss to Fergus Falls.
Scott followed up with a break-out showing for the Minnesota Fury 2017 Blue team which really caught the attention of college coaches. Her team won 30 games including the Minnesota AAU ninth grade state championship, and she led the team rebounding, blocked shots and field-goal shooting percentage.
Scott emerged from her first AAU season as the No. 1 ranked player in the 2017 Minnesota graduating class. Fury director Nick Storm noted that she's the third player from her AAU team to make an early verbal commitment, after Lindsey Theuninck of Mankato Loyola (South Dakota State) and Spring Lake Park's Jenna Murphy (University of North Dakota).
Scott has a 24-inch vertical leap and a 6-foot-5 wingspan, which makes her a shot-blocking and shot-altering machine at the defensive end.
"She doesn't need the basketball in her hands to dominate a game," Haraldson said.
KoMets thinking big
Despite more attention from defenses this season Scott is averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots for a high-scoring KoMets team that is 18-2 and ranked No. 8 in Class AAA.
"Defenses are sagging on her more, but she's so athletic she is able to wear opponents down," Haraldson said.
Opponents double-team Scott at their own peril because she is encircled by a talented bunch of seniors, including point guard Cori Kennedy, who was all-state, and multi-year starters Taylor Miller, Taylor Wiebke and Danika Hodgman. The KoMets are pouring in 73 points per game.
"Our goal is to get back to state and get past the first round," Scott said. "We have really great senior leadership, and it would be really rewarding to go all the way for them."
As for her early college decision, Scott seems quite content with it. Although many colleges showed interest including Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota State and North Dakota State, she made only one official visit, to Iowa State.
Now she can't seen herself anywhere else.
"People have said to me, 'It's just a verbal (commitment); you can always change your mind,' which I think would be pretty rude if I did," she said.