The final member of Cal's four player freshman recruiting class is also the only recruit straight out of the Bay Area. Another recruit out of Bishop O'Dowd's prolific pipeline, Kendall ‘K.C.' Waters has joined her fellow Dragon Mikayla Lyles on Cal's roster.
The four star prospect chose Cal over UCLA and Tennessee, and is the only true post player in the incoming freshman class. With the departure of Talia Caldwell, she will be in the mix for immediate playing time off the bench. And in many ways, hearing others describe her skill set reminds me of Talia Caldwell:
Waters' season statistics were solid for a team loaded with Division I college prospects. She led O'Dowd in scoring (14 points), rebounding (12) and secured a double-double in just about every key game.
She says having a big brother and playing against older, bigger players growing up helped make her the fearless power forward she is today. Going against a pair of 6-foot-4 teammates, Oderah Chidom and Breanna Brown, in practice every day has also been beneficial.
"I love guarding bigger people," she said. "I love being aggressive and I love to push people around."
That's from the Bay Area News Group, but ESPN scouts have similar observations:
Has a lot of talent and an excellent understanding of how to play the game. Makes plays on both sides of the ball and is not afraid to be physical.
Of course, expecting K.C. to immediately fill Talia's role and become a double-double machine at the college level isn't realistic. She'll be fighting for playing time behind the presumed starting interior duo of Gennifer Brandon and Reshanda Gray.
Like Mercedes Jefflo, K.C.'s playing time ticket might depend on defense. Every scouting report praises that aspect of her game, and Cal lost their best interior defender in Talia Caldwell. If K.C. can quickly pick up Cal's defense it would give her a head start on picking up immediate minutes off the bench.
(On a side note: three of the freshmen have been specifically lauded for what they bring defensively. Last year, Cal was an elite offensive team, but merely good defensively. It's certainly one area in which Cal can improve, though the potential benefits might not come immediately.)
I haven't been able to run down much in terms of game tape (you can find some 10 second clips of individual plays on youtube), but there are a couple of cool videos out there. Let's start with K.C. talking about the joys of rebounding:
And here's a simlar video after K.C. joined Bishop O'Dowd's 1,000 point club. The only 1,000/1,000 player in Bishop O'Dowd history is pretty impressive, especially considering the stature of that high school program.
Welcome to Cal, K.C.!