After competing in the NJCAA national tournament the past two seasons, Melisa Kadic and Kellie Gaston each are headed to the next level to continue their athletic and academic career.
Kadic, who was one of WNCC’s all-time leading 3-point shooters, inked with Division I Idaho State, while Gaston, who couldn’t play this season because of a knee injury, is headed to Fisher College in Boston. Fisher is an NAIA school.
Both players are excited to be continuing their playing career.
“I am going to Idaho State University and I decided to go there because they have a really good academics and an athletic program,” Kadic said. “It is a Division I school and I always wanted to go to a Division I school. They say there are a lot of people that go and watch their games, like 1,000 people. Plus, it is not too far from where I live; it is 2 ½ hours away from where I live.”
Going to the Division I level and continuing to play basketball is something that Kadic couldn’t have done without her teammates.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “I know when I came here I had to improve a lot as a player. I could not have done that without the support of my teammates, coaches, and my parents. I am grateful for them.’
As for Gaston, she is thrilled to be playing next year after sitting out this season after tearing her ACL and meniscus.
“I am going to Fisher College in Boston and I decided to go there because they have a really good law program and obviously I get paid to play basketball, which is what I love,” the Tampa, Florida, native said. “It definitely is a good feeling. I think my journey was a little bit different than the rest of my teammates simply because I did tear my ACL and meniscus, so I didn’t get to play this season. So for me getting an opportunity to play at the next level is a blessing to me.”
Gaston will be 100 percent when she heads to Fisher College.
“It is really good. I honestly have improved a lot more than I thought,” she said. “I thought I was going to be slower but when I got cleared, I was back on the court as soon as possible with my game stuff to regain my quickness.”
Both players have enjoyed their time at WNCC and leave with plenty of memories. Kadic leaves as the number two career 3-point shooter with 351 treys in her two seasons. She finished with 117 3-pointers in her two years at WNCC, knocking down 78 this season. Kadic averaged 13.7 points a game this past season, netting 467 points.
Kadic said her shooting has improved tremendously while at WNCC.
“It shows that my hard work has paid off because coming out of high school I was a terrible shooter and my shooting form was really bad, so I worked really hard over the summer to work on my shooting form. I would say my coaches and my teammates.”
Gaston played in just 29 games during her freshman season at WNCC. In that time, she made 10 3-pointers and 91 points. Gaston was known for her defense. Gaston said she picked Fisher because the style of the game fits her fast-paced game.
“The coach is young and his style of basketball is what I am used to,” she said. “They are fast-paced, they sprint, they trap and that fits me.”
Both players were part of a success program under head coach Chad Gibney, competing in back-to-back national titles. That, they said, shows how good this team and program is.
“It [going to nationals] shows that we are a really good basketball program,” Kadic said. “It shows us that we all worked as a team to get there.”
Gaston said playing at nationals her freshmen year was special, since she played alongside her sister Kristen.
“I got to play in it last year and that was really fun,” she said. “Obviously my role was different this year but it was still a pretty cool experience. Texas was awesome and to be able to go and be a part of something like that in a sport that I love and considering my sister was on the team was pretty cool.”
Kadic was rewarded twice on Thursday. In the evening she signed to play Division I basketball, but in the afternoon, the West Valley City, Utah, native picked up the honor for the highest GPA among female athletes at the WNCC awards ceremony. Kadic says that hard work pays off.
When the two depart WNCC in May, they said it will be tough.
“I know I will miss everyone,” Kadic said. “They all made me become a better basketball player and as a person. So, I am just really sad to leave here.”
Gaston said it was a fun ride at WNCC.
“It was a fun ride. I love my teammates. They are like my sisters,” she said. “It was just a bonus that we were as good as we were. Everybody worked really hard. It is going to be sad [when I leave]. I am going to miss everybody. I have become very close to my team; they are like my family. It will be really hard to leave them for sure. But I would say I am ready to go back home [to Tampa] where it is warm.”