As we’ve said in previous posts, three underclassmen on the roster at the end of last season didn’t return to the team. Only one played significant minutes last year, though the other two played the year before.
The three are:
Leaving over the summer were:
Wing Krista White, who started 15 games last year as a sophomore, mostly in the first half of the season. White averaged 23.5 minutes, 6.9 points and 2.3 rebounds last season and was one of Kent State’s better defenders. She twice scored 20 points in a game. Coach Danny O’Banion told me in August that White wanted to transfer to another school where she had a better chance of winning. I found her on the roster of Johnson C. Smith University, a Division II school in Charlotte, N.C., that was 20-8 last season. Her leaving surprised me. But she was a second-level player on a second-division team. The Flashes have four freshman guards with good high school credentials, along with a junior college transfer guard. I think the only thing they’re losing is the experience, which could be significant on a team with only four returning players.
Guard Rachel Mendelsohn, who blew out her knee before the season started last year. Mendelsohn was an all-state high school point guard from Oregon but never was comfortable at the point in college. She started seven games as a freshman and averaged 5 points a game off the bench as a sophomore. She was KSU’s No. 2 three-point shooter her sophomore year but made just 21 percent of her shots. She sat on the team bench in every home game last year and was at the team’s postseason banquet. It’s sad to see a player’s career end with an injury, but Mendelsohn wasn’t a key player. O’Banion said Mendelsohn left the team on good terms; she still is enrolled at Kent State.
Forward Janae Peterson. who was sick and hurt for most of sophomore year and played only 27 minutes in nine games. She averaged three points and two rebounds a game as a freshman. At Temescal Canyon High School in California, Peterson averaged 20 points and 15 rebounds a game. She’s now at the University of California – San Diego, a Division II school. Her being gone won’t have any impact on the team.
Leaving the team during last season was Madison Ridout, a guard who was Kent’s second-best three-point shooter as a freshman a year ago. Second best meant 15 baskets, which tells you a lot about KSU’s outside game last season. She played in 22 games. She’s now a starter at Shawnee State University, a NAIA school that went 25-10 a year ago and reached the national championships. A teammate at Shawnee State is Lydia Poe, a cousin of Ridout’s who played with her at Jackson High School in Jackson County. Poe was a Kent State recruit but left the team in summer after just a month on campus. Both Ridout and Poe said they were homesick, and Shawnee State is closer to their home in southeast Ohio.
Preseason press day is tomorrow (Thursday). We’ll have a full report.