Anna-Jonesboro girls basketball star Drew picks Mizzou

By Gus Bode

Playing time, familiarity cited as major reasons

Anna-Jonesboro high school basketball phenom Kassie Drew announced her verbal commitment to Missouri Friday, effectively ending SIU’s chances of gaining her services.

Drew averaged 30 points per game last season, her junior campaign, and led the Wildcats to a 27-4 record.

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“I chose them because I just feel really comfortable with their coaches, and they’ve been recruiting me really long,” Drew said. “They came to a game when I scored my 2,000th point and when we lost to Benton [a season-ending loss in the sectional semifinals]. They’ve been there and I think I can make an impact there.”

She visited the Columbia, Mo., campus twice and said she fell in love with it.

Mizzou head coach Cindy Stein, recognized as one of the nation’s top young coaches, has turned the Tiger program around in her five seasons, sending her team to WNIT the last two seasons and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2001.

Drew, who was named Chicago Sun-Times all-state since her freshman season, said she had received between 75 and 100 phone calls from college coaches in the week prior to her commitment, the first week coaches were allowed to call.

Drew’s father, Jim, said playing time was another reason for her commitment.

“They have two shooting guards and both are graduating next year,” Jim said. “If she verbally committed, they said they wouldn’t recruit another shooting guard.”

Drew has two siblings at SIU, and her brother Chris played for the Saluki men’s basketball team, but she said neither tried to convince her SIU was the best place for her.

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“They were just behind me to pick the best place for me and whatever that would be, they would support me,” Drew said. “They weren’t really pushing for me for any way, there were just standing behind whatever decision I would make.”

Reporter Ethan Erickson can be reached at [email protected]

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