Prep girls' basketball: Quinn does it all for Judge
It didn't take long for Anthony Alford to think of a theoretical situation that describes just how competitive Judge Memorial star Kailie Quinn is.
"If you were competing on who could roll a penny from here to the door, she's all into that," the first-year Bulldog coach said. "She'll figure it out and if she doesn't, you'll leave and she'll still be working on it and the next time she sees you, she'll say, 'Let's go back at it again.' "
Rolling a penny toward a door is one thing. Working tirelessly to become the best you can be is another.
That's Quinn, the 5-foot-9 junior guard who leads her team in every statistical category. She was averaging 21.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.8 assists and 1.5 blocks through the team's first 11 games, according to Maxpreps.com.
"She doesn't just want to be good, she wants to be the best," Alford said. "A lot of people say that, but very few people walk that walk."
Being the centerpiece of a team often comes with lofty expectations as well as being the focal point of every opponent.
The thing is, Quinn is good enough to deal with it every game.
"It's fun. It really is," she said. "If teams focus on me, then that gives me more of an opportunity to get my other teammates involved."
There's no doubting that Quinn is one of the pre-eminent stars in Utah high school basketball and, in truth, she always seemed destined for the spotlight.
She played sports with the boys until she was in sixth grade. She played baseball, basketball and football, where she said she acquired her aggression in sports. Dan Quinn, Kailie's father, who also is the athletic director at Judge, said his daughter is the epitome of a gym rat.
"I'll go to the gym 24 hours a day if she wants to," he said. "Of the 365 days a year, there's probably 20 she takes off."
However, when the elder Quinn decided to register Kailie for girls' sports, it was, as he described "a war zone for the better part of a year or two." That competitiveness has been brewing since she learned to play basketball on a children's hoop at the age of 2.
"She's got very good pride," he said. "I'm lucky it's my kid that has that drive and desire for excellence."
Alford, who was an assistant at Judge last year before taking over, said he has moved Quinn, a pure scorer who also happens to lead her team in rebounds from the guard position, toward a point guard role this season to help her get more players involved as the season progresses.
"She doesn't want it to just be the Kailie show," he said.
It is pretty hard not to notice her skills. In a 10-minute span following a recent practice, she went through right- and left-handed layup drills on her own, drained free throws and took shots from behind the arc. After she was done with that, she sat down and dribbled a ball through her legs while conversing with teammates at center court.
"I just have a passion for this game," she said. "I love this sport."
Along with basketball, Quinn stars on the Judge track and field and softball teams, but the hardwood is where she envisions accomplishing her dreams of playing Division I hoops. She said she enjoys the process of college recruiting, especially conversing with different coaches to learn about their backgrounds and what school is best tailored for her.
As for all the pressure that accompanies being a star player, college recruit and someone who leads her team in every statistical category, Quinn said once she wipes the bottom of her sneakers dry and walks onto the court for a game, she completely drowns out the screams, shrieks and cheers of the crowd.
"If she can put up with my screaming," Dan Quinn said, "she can put up with anything."
Kailie Quinn File
• Junior guard at Judge Memorial leads the team in every statistical category
• Has helped the Bulldogs off to a hot start leading into Region 10 play
• Grew up playing baseball, basketball and football with boys until she was in sixth grade