It was in sixth grade that Judge Memorial basketball star Kailie Quinn sat across from her father and uttered the words that later would come to define her.
Quinn and her father were talking about the future, about where it could take them, and with vigor she made a vow about hers: She would start as a freshman three years later for the Bulldogs. More importantly, she would earn a full-ride Division I basketball scholarship.
Her father, caught off guard by such a bold prediction from his young daughter, was at first skeptical.
But he also was eager to help, as long as she truly would commit to doing what was necessary to make her declaration come true.
“This was a sixth-grader, so I said, ‘Oh, yeah, right,’ ” said Dan Quinn, Kailie’s father. “I’m just going, ‘OK, great. I’ll help you out.’ ”
Kailie Quinn has spent the ensuing years ensuring her words were not merely the musings of a child with unrealistic hopes, but rather the mapping of a destiny waiting to be fulfilled.
Now a senior, Quinn last month wrapped up a career that established her as one of the most outstanding high school players in Utah. She finished this season with a stat line whose averages would make a career game for most players: 20.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.6 steals, 4.5 assists.
And along the way in her rise to dominance, two things happened: She started for the Bulldogs during her freshman season, and she earned a basketball scholarship to Weber State.
“Having that goal since such a young age, working towards it, then finally accomplishing it feels really great,” she said.
Though Dan Quinn wasn’t immediately sure that his daughter would make good on her scholarship vow, he remembers with vivid detail the moment he knew she would. It was her sophomore year, he explained, and the Bulldogs were in a tight game at home against Cedar. But then Kailie took control in the fourth. She reached deep down inside her, and as great athletes do, found another level, one even her father didn’t know existed. The Bulldogs won the game, and in Dan’s eyes, a star had been born.
“I remember calling my brother and he asked how she was doing,” Dan Quinn said. “I said, ‘She just defined herself as a next-level player.’ She was just unconscious. It was one of those moments.”
How Quinn got to where she is now, from sixth-grade dreamer to high school superstar, is no secret. She took to heart the words her father had told her the night of her bold declaration: Be at the gym every day, shoot 10,000 shots a month and get physically stronger. Do what it takes.
But for Quinn, who inherited her work ethic from her father — the natural talent came from her mother — it seldom has felt like work. Because through all the early mornings and late nights and hours alone with her father at the gym, she knew she was getting closer to her goals.
“I love working out,” she said. “I go to the gym every day, either working on shooting or driving or fundamentals, lifting or anything to improve. I love getting better.”
About Kailie Quinn
Year • Senior. Height • 5-foot-9
Points • 20.7. Rebounds • 13.3
Assists • 4.5. Steals • 5.6