PLYMOUTH — For this year’s graduating class — as with any year’s — one road is soon coming to an end and another begins.
For Plymouth senior basketball player Kenzie DeJarnatt that new road will have a little familiarity as she will attend Anderson University to pursue a degree in Biochemistry on the way to hopefully being an Obstetrician. She will however also be able to continue playing basketball.
“Anderson was not in the top two for a awhile with me,” she admitted. “There was a school in Georgia I almost went and played at and I didn’t hear a lot from Anderson or their coaches for awhile. I thought I might be done with basketball so I also started looking at IU and Purdue.”
“After our season the assistant coach (at Anderson) texted me and a few days later Coach (Lindsay) Shade sent me a text and said that she would love to have me come and play there and had a spot for me. I took that as God telling me where to go because I had no idea where I was going to go and I was struggling with making that decision to find a school that fit me academically and still play basketball.”
DeJarnatt is under no illusions about what pursuing her academic goals while continuing to play basketball will entail.
“There’s a big difference between high school and college basketball whatever level that you play at,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m scared. It’s like our regional game last year. I was nervous but it was exciting at the same time. That’s kind of what it is right now.”
“I’m definitely expecting to have some late nights, three or four nights a week if not more,” she said. “I feel like it’s going to be a mix of both. Looking at the courses I have to take they’re hard, they aren’t easy. They are definitely time-consuming but so is basketball. It’s going to take a lot of responsibility on my part to be able to balance it all.”
Kenzie says that she started playing the game very early. Around the age of 4 to be exact but it is kind of a family thing.
“My aunt and uncle (Greg Blackburn and Leslie (Blackburn) Langfeldt) both played up to high school,” she said. “Going to their games and it (basketball) always being around I think that was a major factor. I have always enjoyed it.”
“I don’t think my parents have ever pressured me to do anything,” said Kenzie. “Basketball was the one thing, it’s easy to get a ball at the store and you can just bounce it in the driveway and you’re dribbling or doing something. It’s easy to get involved with, and having that family connection made it easy for me.”
“The high school’s winter and summer league is where I got started that was a big part too.”
For DeJarnatt staying with the game has had nothing to do with winning or losing.
“It’s the enjoyment that I’ve felt with it all these years,” she said. “I played volleyball and soccer and softball a lot of other sports but none of them really compared to basketball. It was the one thing that I knew I could be good at if I kept practicing and keep playing for the rest of my life.”
“In fourth grade, Tallulah Gault’s dad made a travel team for us and Mrs. Gault made all our jerseys and we went to all these tournaments and had so much fun,” she said. “I think that was the point for me that made it think that this is something that I enjoy no matter what day of the week it is, where I’m playing, it’s just something that I don’t want to give up.”
After hopefully four more years on the court, while she finishes and an undergraduate degree, Kenzie has thought about what the future might hold. Where does she see herself in 10 years?
“I look at my goal and the path of schooling that it takes and it’s a 12-year span of school and being at the hospital for internships and residencies,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d have time for a family somewhere in there. For a long time, I didn’t want to have a family of my own I just wanted to focus on my school and career. But as I’m getting older I’m realizing that I would miss out on so much if I didn’t have a family.”