COLUMBIA – Kerri Shanks hadn't exactly planned on going to Stephens College to continue her basketball career.
After playing two years at Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., Shanks was having a difficult time deciding where to play and, since time was running out, she thought she might not get the chance.
No. 9 Stephens College at No. 8 Harris-Stowe State University in the opening round
WHEN: 7 p.m.
Ironically, the team most interested in Shanks, Stephens, also felt as though time was running out.
“We played against Cottey Kerri’s freshman year, and I really thought she was a good player,” Stephens coach Dane Pavlovich said. “I had hoped she would come to Stephens after Cottey.”
Pavlovich thought Shanks was a great scorer and could distribute the ball well. He was interested in recruiting her, but she was not as interested as he had hoped.
“During my sophomore year, my Cottey coach told me that coach Pavlovich wanted to recruit me, but I didn’t want to go there at the time, so he never gave him my information,” Shanks said.
Pavlovich started to lose hope of getting Shanks to play at Stephens. However, the summer after her final year at Cottey, Pavlovich was working as a supervisor at the Show-Me State games and unexpectedly met Shanks’ father, Mark Shanks .
“I sat down next to her dad during a game, and I didn’t even realize who he was until we started talking,” Pavlovich said.
After meeting with Shanks’ father, Pavlovich began trying to contact her in hopes of persuading her to play at Stephens. He called multiple times, but she never called back — at first.
“He was persistent and seemed like he really wanted me,” Shanks said. “I wasn’t searching for somewhere else to go, he found me, which is what I hoped for.”
Even though Shanks was pleased that Pavlovich was so interested in her coming to play for Stephens, she still did not know if she wanted to. It was getting close to the start of school and she still had not made a decision.
“I finally decided a couple days after enrollment, and coach didn’t know until that first week of school,” Shanks said.
Even after making her choice, Shanks was still a little hesitant since she had made such an abrupt decision.
“I was kind of unsure at first, but then I realized I made the right decision,” Shanks said. “I really wanted to continue playing basketball, and I really liked Columbia and the campus.”
Shanks never came for a visit at Stephens or met any of the team's players prior to before making her decision, so talking with Pavlovich is the main reason for her choosing to continue her basketball career at Stephens.
“I am very thankful she is here,” Pavlovich said. “She has done a phenomenal job and is a big asset to the team.”