Feb. 25, 2013
Division I women’s basketball teams recruit not only around the country, but around the world.
The 2012-13 Lehigh squad features 13 players from six different states as far west as California as well as Canada, but sometimes the talent can be found in a team’s own backyard. Senior guard Becky Guman and freshman forward Kerry Kinek share the Stabler Arena court, but this season isn’t the first time they’ve played together.
Both Kinek and Guman graduated from local Allentown (Pa.) Central Catholic High School. The two did spend time playing together inside Rockne Hall, but their time in the Brown and White has proven to be more significant.
“I watched Becky start at Central Catholic for three years before I was on the team,” said Kinek. “I always went to the games because my cousin was on the team at the time and always admired Becky. I was just excited for the opportunity to play with her every day when I got to high school.”
Flash forward four years and things are a little different. The two women have both been constants in the starting lineup together, and the chemistry between the two on the court has amplified the friendship off of it.
“We spend much more time together now,” said Guman. “In high school, basketball was the main time that we were with each other. Now, we have become closer friends and we spend more time together, both on and off the court.
“It’s nice because we share many things in common, come from similar backgrounds and can relate to each other. We also played on the same volleyball team in high school, so it’s fun to reminisce about old memories.”
Kinek stands at 6-foot-3 and while she describes herself as being a bit shy, her statistics have been anything but this year. The freshman phenom has registered a handful of double-doubles, including an 18-point, 12-rebound performance against No. 13/15 California in her collegiate debut.
“Kerry is extremely talented and a very hard worker,” said Guman. “She is only a freshman and has already made huge contributions to our team. She makes everyone around her better and displays great confidence on the court.”
Guman is also having an exceptional season, ranking near the team lead all year in steals and free throw shooting. Kinek is playing a larger role on Guman’s college team than in high school and the chance to spend more time with someone she really admires has reaped benefits.
“In high school I was a quiet freshman who never said much,” said Kinek. “Now, Becky and I are really close because playing a Division I sport really brings you close to your teammates. You spend a lot more time together, whether it is in the weight room or on road trips. Becky has pushed me every day in practice but has also given me the confidence I need to play here at Lehigh.”
“Kerry is starting to come into her own and is a hard worker,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “She still has a lot to learn, but she has great role models in the upperclassmen. She learned a lot from Becky in high school and is continuing to learn from her here and is seeing what it takes to excel at this level.”
Guman is someone who is described as a natural leader. Her basketball prowess is obvious, but it should not go unnoted that she was also named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll last season. The relationship between the two has helped both of the women grow in this aspect.
“I’ve always admired Becky’s hard work and competitiveness,” said Kinek. “In high school she never wanted to lose. She did whatever the team needed for us to win, whether it was a big shot or shutting down the opposing team’s best player. She was a natural leader on and off the court and made everyone feel a part of the team, even the freshmen like myself who didn’t play much. More importantly, she set an example for me to be the leader of my high school team and bring our team success.”
“Becky exemplifies everything you want out of a senior captain,” said Troyan. “She sets the standard in everything we do and is really driven and competitive.”
Becky and Kerry are hoping that their chemistry, as well as the bond between the other 11 Mountain Hawks, continues to strengthen entering the Patriot League Tournament. Heading into the most important part of the season, the two high school teammates will be searching for not just a championship, but also a trip to the NCAA Tournament.