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LOOK BACK: Kysre Gondrezick’s journey from Benton Harbor to the WNBA

The hard work has given Gondrezick the opportunity to play at the next level.
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Thursday night, Benton Harbor’s own Kysre Gondrezick had a night to remember.

The build up to one of the biggest days in Gondrezick’s life started in Michiana.

Gondrezick was not afraid to show her excitement after being selected fourth overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2021 NBA Draft.

“I am super excited, humbled,” Gondrezick said. “This is just a remarkable moment for me.”

Gondrezick is known for remarkable moments. As a senior at Benton Harbor High School, she scored a Michigan state record 72 points in a playoff game against Buchanan.

“I don’t score 40-50 points because I want to, I do it because I have to,” Gondrezick said on February 9th 2016. “I am just glad despite the 72, we did come out with the win.”

That just win mentality captured the entire Wolverine State. Gondrezick was named Michigan’s Miss Basketball in 2016. Through out it all, she had one thing on her mind.

“On the plaque, it doesn’t say Kysre,” Gondrezick told the Detroit Free Press in 2016. “Although I am glad that I won it, it’s gonna say Gondrezick, so it’s going to show that it’s a family affair.”

After High School, Gondrezick wanted to stay close to home so she took her talents to Ann Arbor.

However, after a season at Michigan, Gondrezick made the difficult decision to leave her home state and transfer to West Virginia.

“I feel more at home here than I did actually being two hours away,” Gondrezick said in the fall of 2017. “I am looking forward to the rest of my career here.”

Like her career at Benton Harbor, Gondrezick’s career in Morgantown had some incredible moments - including a game-winning three against Texas on January 12, 2020.

“Have you ever made a shot like that?” a West Virginia beat reporter asked.

“Yes, I’ve played a lot of games in my career,” Gondrezick said. “But on this stage, in this uniform, it was a first.”

Another career defining moment came a year later, on January 9, 2020 against Texas again. Two days after her father, Grant, unexpectedly passed away, Kysre decided to play in his honor. She scored a game high 24 points leading the Mountaineers to 92-58 win over the Longhorns. After the game, the emotions came pouring out.

“Kysre is a great young lady and has a great family,” West Virginia head coach Mike Carey said. “We are all praying for her and her family. You have to give her a lot of credit. She came out and played extremely hard and very proud of her.”

Her Dad is definitely proud of her. He told Kysre during their summer work outs that she would be a Top 5 Pick - and he spoke it into existence.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s not present for me to share it with but he’s up there,” Gondrezick said. “He knew it. I’m just completely humbled. Don’t tell me hard work don’t pay off.”

That hard work started in Benton Harbor. The hard work has given Gondrezick the opportunity to play at the next level.

“If I can make it out of Benton Harbor, I can make it anywhere,” Gondrezick said. “Life has been a little bit easier since I’ve been out of Benton Harbor. Just never give up on yourself and understand that life is a process. You’ve got to fall in love with the journey, and I am so excited to come back home.”

Kysre’s mom, Lisa, might be even more excited since Kysre will play just three hours away from Benton Harbor.

The season is just around the corner for Kysre and the Fever.

Indiana opens up the year on the road against the New York Liberty on May 14.

You can bet, Benton Harbor will be watching.

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