KCKCC point guard Zamudio to Park University

With total support of coach Joe McKinstry, KCKCC point guard Destiny Zamudio will continue her basketball career at Park University in Parkville. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Fortunately for Park University, Destiny Zamudio changed her mind.

The starting point guard on Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 25-win women’s basketball team this past season, Zamudio turned down Park’s first offer.

“I said no,” she said only to have the coronavirus pandemic eliminate on all-campus recruiting visits. She readily accepted the second invitation to play in a facility she had already played.

“We played at Park against their JV so it will be good to go to a place with which I’m familiar,” Zamudio said. “Their assistant coach contacted me and expressed interest. They did not have a good season last year but they’ve got a lot of good pieces coming in and looking for a good season.”

Zamudio will major in psychology.

“Park has a good program in psychology which was real important.”

“I am extremely happy for Destiny and her decision to choose Park University,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “This is a great opportunity for her and I know that she is excited for this new chapter. I think Destiny’s athleticism at the point guard spot will have an immediate impact on both ends of the floor and I’m looking forward to watching and supporting her over the next two years.”

Zamudio started 22 games for the Blue Devils, handing out 60 assists and averaging 6.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals.

A Chicago native, Zamudio was first recruited by New Mexico Junior College but when that didn’t work out, she returned home to spend her first collegiate season at Malcolm X Community College.

“The program at Malcolm X was the equivalent of a YMCA program so I contacted Coach Mac and he gave me a chance to show I could play at a high level. I knew KCKCC had a really good program and I wanted to get away from Chicago so I e-mailed Coach Mac and he emailed me back.”

For Zamudio, her one season at KCKCC was a life-changer.

“I learned a bunch of stuff on and off the court,” she said. “I learned structure. There was pretty strict regimen on the court but I also learned I had to go to study hall and classes on my own. The last semester all my classes were on-line so I really had to discipline myself to study to pass the courses.

“And I’m really glad I had the opportunity to play for Coach Mac. He’s strict but he’s a great verbal coach and I could always talk to him when needed. I was very happy with my decision to come to KCKCC.”

KCKCC assistant Matthews back to Baker as head soccer coach

Sara Matthews

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

One of Baker University’s best women’s soccer players is coming back. The assistant women’s coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College the past two years, Sara Matthews, is returning to Baker as the head women’s soccer coach.

In four seasons at Baker, Matthews was a three-time team captain, Heart of America all-conference and the 2007-2008 Baker Student Senate Female Athlete of the Year. After earning an MBA from Washburn University while serving as an assistant coach, she returned as assistant coach at Baker from 2010-2014.

“We’re very excited to have Sara back,” Nate Houser, Baker athletic director, said. “Her time as a student athlete as well as an assistant coach during our first journey to the national stage make her a perfect fit for the program. As a coach, she was with us for our first national semifinal appearance in 2010, our national quarterfinal appearance in 2011 and our final 16 appearance in 2013. She was also part of the team’s last conference championship and knows what it takes to win in the Heart of American Conference.”

“Returning to my alma mater is still a bit surreal, especially during the COVID-19 craziness and not being able to get on campus right away,” Matthews said. “However, this opportunity is so special to me having both played there and coached there. Many coaches don’t get this opportunity in their career so I feel so honored and thankful. The amount of support I’ve already received in a short amount of time has reminded me of Baker’s family atmosphere. I love my Baker roots and can’t wait to get going.”

“This is a perfect fit, I’m very happy for her,” said KCKCC coach Shawn Uhlenhake, whose Blue Devils had their first winning season (13-4), were nationally ranked and reached the Region VI championship game this past season. “Sara demonstrated many capabilities for us that will help make her a great head coach. She set the level high for the next assistant.”

“I absolutely loved my two years at KCKCC and am truly grateful to Shawn and KCKCC for every moment of growth and success we’ve been able to share,” Matthews said. “The girls, staff and coaches have made it an amazing experience. KCKCC and our Blue Devil soccer team will always hold a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to provide another option and connection to a four-year school for a number of girls.”

Matthews is Uhlenhake’s second assistant coach to leave for a head coaching position in his four years at KCKCC. Two years ago Katie Kelly left to take over the coaching reins at Avila University.

In addition to serving as an assistant coach at KCKCC, Baker and Washburn, Matthews was head coach at Avila for four years. She has also coached the KC Fusion Soccer Club team since 2013 and has had more than 75 percent of her players compete at the collegiate level. In 2017, she was named Kansas Youth Soccer Association Girls Competitive Coach of the Year after winning the Fall State President’s Cup and the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II President’s Cup.

The successor to Mark Sheldon, Matthews inherits a veteran Wildcat squad that returns three all-conference players from a team that finished 10-7-1 and defeated three teams that were ranked or received votes in the NAIA Coaches Top 25 poll.

KCKCC’s Davis commits to University of Texas-Tyler

Jalen Davis (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College all-region standout Jalen Davis is taking his multiple basketball talents back to Texas.

A native of Houston, Davis has committed to the University of Texas-Tyler, an NCAA Division II university and a member of the Lone Star Conference.

“Closer to home and a chance to play for coach (Louis) Wilson. He’s a good man.” Davis said of his decision to commit to Tyler over offers from seven other schools. “It’s three-hour drive from Houston instead of 11 hours (to Kansas City).”

“I’m excited for him,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “He’s coming off a phenomenal season. And he’s in good hands with coach Wilson, who I know quite well.”

The relationship between the two coaches was key to Davis’ recruitment during the two months recruiting visits have been off limits because of the coronavirus.

“I’m a good friend of Brandon so I followed his team and monitored his players,” said Wilson, who has only seen Davis in action on video. “It’s difficult but not impossible.”

A 6-4 two-year starter, Davis played a major role in KCKCC winning its first Jayhawk Conference championship in the 50-year history of the league. The Blue Devils also won the Region VI championship and a berth in the NJCAA Division II national tournament for only the second time ever but were denied a chance to play in the national tourney because of the COVID-19.

In the Region VI playoffs, Davis scored 26 points in leading KCKCC to a 100-79 win over Labette in the semifinals and it was his 3-point goal and subsequent free throw that broke a 68-68 tie in the closing minute of the Blue Devils’ 75-68 win over Johnson County in the championship game. Six times he scored 24 or more points including highs of 28, 29, 30 and 31.

The Blue Devils’ scoring leader at 13.9 points a game, Davis finished 10th in the nation on free throw percentage (.851). He also shot 50.9 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point while averaging 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

“Jalen can do a lot of things,” Burgette said. “A top-notch athlete, he can play multiple positions and score at all three levels. Defensively, he can defend with the best of them. And at most positions. He’ll fit right with the style of play Tyler uses.”

“We play a very fast, up tempo style of basketball predicated on pressure and Jalen’s talents and skills fits very well into our program,” Wilson said. “First and foremost, he’s a Texas kid and has roots here. He has size, length and great versatility to play multiple positions. We think he has a chance to play very good defense in our system with his ability to guard three positions.”

Davis will be joining another former Blue Devil at Tyler, guard Solomon Thomas, who played the 2017-2018 season at KCKCC before transferring to North Central Missouri and then Georgia Southwestern State this past season.

A two-year all-state high school guard in Anchorage, Alaska, Wilson is no stranger to basketball in the Kansas City area. He played two years at Trenton Junior College (now North Central Missouri) and two years for Larry Holley at William Jewell in 1986-1988, playing on a 1986-1987 Cardinal team now in Jewell’s Hall of fame.

Wilson began his coaching career as an assistant at Southern Utah, Idaho State and California State Northridge before becoming head coach at NCAA Division II Adams State where in five years he compiled a 95-46 record. Before coming to Tyler this past season, Wilson was assistant coach at Utah State three years and one year as associate head coach at Grand Canyon University.