COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Kylee Shook achieved something many can only dream of: she is a professional basketball player. The former Mesa Ridge star was selected by the New York Liberty with the 13th overall pick.
"It's crazy," Shook said. "Playing when I was younger and the boys league and having a little baby ram to this, it's a big league. It's amazing. Only a few people ever get to experience it. It just feels unreal. Seeing the progress of the journey that I've been through. Knowing that it's hard work, just the stages of life that you go through, knowing that I made it. I did this. I made it. It feels great."
Like any journey worth taking, it was hard. There were plenty of speed bumps. Shook struggled with injuries her sophomore and junior years at Mesa Ridge. But just before her senior year of high school, she had a deep conversation with her coach, Jeff Beatty. What followed was a MacDonald's All-American season and a state championship.
"That whole summer is probably when I realized what hard work is, and being in the gym, and realizing that I can actually do this."
"She's the first player from our school drafted in any sport, I believe," Beatty said. "She's one of the very few from this area, that's female, that's been drafted in anything. She deserves it. She's put in lots and lots of hard work."
Shook gives credit to all of her coaches, including the stellar staff at Louisville; a program known to produce pro talent. She leaves Louisville as the program's all-time blocked shots leader.
The journey is hard," Shook said. "Sometimes you're down on yourself. You feel like you can't do it. Put all of those people combined help me believe in myself more."
With the coronavirus disrupting the sports world, it's anyone's guess when Shook will suit up for New York. For right now, she gets to savor the moment. One day soon, she'll put on a Liberty jersey.
"I just can't wait for that moment. Being there with all the WNBA players, and all of the all Americans. It's great. It's going to feel amazing."
Shook has a message for anyone who's chasing their dream.
"Just believe in yourself. Nothing ever worthwhile is easy. It takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication, a lot of sacrifices. At the time, it probably seems like it's unachievable but you just Gotta go for it. If you want it, it's hard. That's why only a few people can do it."