Kysre Gondrezick is still processing the incredible feeling of achieving her basketball dream.
The former Mountaineer and daughter of an NBA shooting guard is in the midst of her first professional training camp. A week and a half ago, the Indiana Fever made her the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft — a move likely no expert saw coming — and life has been a whirlwind since: she relocated close to her home state of Michigan, jumped right in to practicing with a new team and now competes against other pros on a daily basis.
But while life hasn’t hit her just yet, other things have.
“Today actually, Teaira McCowan, my teammate, set a screen on me and about knocked me flat,” Gondrezick said. “That was my welcoming.”
While WVU coach Mike Carey puts his players through tough practices and demands they be “physical for 40,” Gondrezick admitted that getting screened by a 6-7 WNBA center is a little different than being screened by a Big 12 sophomore.
“I would say today, that was my wake-up call,” Godnrezick said.
That’s part of the biggest challenge Gondrezick faces in her first season with the Fever: like every rookie, she must take her game to the next level in a league filled with talented, experienced pros.
“There’s not a bad player in that gym,” head coach Marianne Stanley said. “That just makes it challenging and competitive, and she along with the other rookies are seeing a lot more skill and athleticism at their position than probably they’ve seen at the college level.”
And like any rookie, Gondrezick is experiencing some ups and downs right away.
“I’ve had moments where I’ve done well, and then I’ve had moments where I look like a rookie, and understand that you have to find that balance,” Gondrezick said. “You have to be able to absorb and embrace both of those moments.”
But Stanley, who is in her second season as head coach of the Fever, also noted that Gondrezick’s worth ethic, determination and skill have all been evident in her first two practices with the team.
“She’s done well,” Stanley said. “She comes with a complete skill set and a great work ethic, so she’s done fine. She’s handled herself well.”
The Fever will play its first game of the 2021 campaign Friday, May 14. Maybe that’s when Gondrezick will take another big step and make her professional debut.
But as training camp continues, she wants to soak everything up — even if her life still feels surreal.
“I don’t know when it will hit me, but I’m just — I’m present,” Gondrezick said. “That’s the best word I can say, and I’m just trying to enjoy the experience, day by day.”