Already the subject of a recruiting war among some of the nation's top women's basketball schools, Salamanca's Kathy Carroll now has a shiny addition to her growing portfolio of accomplishments.
"This can do nothing but help," Salamanca coach Colleen O'Neil said in response to Carroll's selection as a second-team All-American by the Women's Basketball News Service. "Kathy's focused. She knows what she wants, and that's to play Division I basketball and to get a full scholarship."
Carroll, a first-team All-Western New York selection last season, is one of only four juniors on the 10-player second team. The 10 first-teamers are all seniors. The entire All-America roster includes 10 all-star teams, totaling 102 players, and 100 honorable mention selections.
National powers such as Virginia, Rutgers and Penn State already are after Carroll, as well as Cornell and St. Bonaventure.
She averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists last season as Salamanca advanced to the Section VI Class C final before losing to Traditional. But she first made her mark in the 1988 state tournament, scoring 26 points to lead Salamanca over heavily favored Wyandanch in the Class C championship game. She added 22 in a victory over St. Saviour in the Federation final.
"Ever since last year, there has been something in my mailbox from a school for her every day," said O'Neil. "That's where it really started."
"Kathy has tremendous athletic ability (she is in the top 10 in WNY in the 100 meters, triple jump and long jump for the current track season) and great presence on the floor," said Joseph C. Smith, director of the news service based in Corona-Elmhurst. "She personally destroyed Wyandanch last year and was outstanding this year in the Christ the King Tournament (in the Bronx)."
Carroll currently is playing weekends with a strong Albany-area AAU team that will compete in a 32-game summer schedule. She was invited to try out for the East team that will play in this year's U.S. Olympic Festival and advanced to the third cut -- the deepest into the process any high school player went.
"Going to Troy every weekend is dedication," said Smith. "That's not easy to get to from Salamanca, so that says something about her character. It will help her develop even more and she has no real weaknesses. She's a great passer with tremendously quick hands."
"This team is quite distinguished," said O'Neil. "It will help her be seen for the whole summer rather than just the one week at the Empire Games. The college coaches follow the AAU teams and that is the big point."