Henefer native Kennady McQueen heads to Pac-12 tournament
The Utah Utes women’s basketball team on February 25th beat Stanford to clinch a share of the Pac-12 regular season title. One of the stars on the team is Summit County native Kennady McQueen.
Kennady McQueen grew up in Henefer in a basketball family. Her mom played for the Utah Utes in the ‘90s and her siblings played basketball as well. She was even the manager of North Summit’s high school basketball team throughout elementary and middle school.
After the 2019-202 season, which was McQueen’s junior year of high school, she was named the Utah Gatorade Player of The Year. It’s an award that has been given out since 1985 to recognize outstanding high school athletes in football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track and field and cross country for athletic excellence, academic achievement and character.
McQueen said what made the award special was being from such a small town.
“I don't think too many people from a small school get highlighted on that big of stage on that big of level. So just being able to get that award and just one it showed me that anything's possible. And that hard work does pay off and to anyone else that has the same goals or dreams that I did, It's possible.”
Jerre Holmes was McQueen’s high school coach at North Summit. He said she was a natural leader and team motivator.
“You know, she could get after girls to get them, you know, more motivated and whatever. But it was mainly leadership through her actions. No one ever outworked her. We do a drill in practice, we call it four on four on four. And it's three teams of four. And first team to five, five baskets wins and, and in the four years that she was there, her team hardly ever lost. And she just made sure that her team was going to win and she just made the other three girls want to play harder.”
Along with playing for North Summit, McQueen competed during the summers in AAU basketball, which is club basketball. She made the trip every other week to Colorado to play for a team called Colorado Premier which was coached by Utes legend Keith Van Horn. Van Horn is the Utes’ all-time leading scorer.
McQueen added that playing AAU basketball brings out college coaches and recruiters. She had a big choice to make when it came to her college decision as she had 25 D1 offers.
McQueen said that growing up a Utes fan was one of the main reasons she chose to play basketball at Utah.
“I think that was my dream from when I was little to walk in my mom's footsteps and play on the same court she did and represent the same school she did. So, yes, I think I did have decisions to make, and especially when it came down to my top two and deciding between them, it was really challenging. It wasn't just a flat-out no-brainer. But at the end of the day, I always knew what my dream and goal was to be. And that was to be a Utah Ute. ”
This season the Utes went 25-3 overall and are currently ranked as the #3 team in the nation. It’s gearing up for the Pac-12 tournament that runs through March 5th at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. A link to view the entire Pac-12 tournament bracket can be found here.
McQueen said that since the team's loss in last year's NCAA tournament to Texas it’s focused on the 1-0 mentality. She said that means they don’t want to look too far out. They just focus on the next game.
The Utes will be in action in the second round March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. against the Washington State Cougars. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Once the Pac-12 tournament wraps up the Utes will have to wait until March 12 to find out their spot in the NCAA bracket. According to recent projections the Utes look to be one of four #1 seeds.