Big things: 2020 forward Kaylee Bakker excited to join GVSU

Courtsey / Holland Sentinel

Courtsey / Holland Sentinel

Payton Miloser

Recruiting isn’t just for high school seniors anymore. Kaylee Bakker, a high school sophomore from Zeeland West in Zeeland, Michigan, recently committed to Grand Valley State’s women’s basketball team. Though the forward still has two more years to prepare, it’s no wonder GVSU picked up on this 6-foot-one-inch superstar. 

Bakker played power forward for her school’s varsity girls basketball team as a freshman. After finishing her successful sophomore season, she committed to playing for Grand Valley State shortly after.

“I feel like I belong there. Every time I have played there I have loved it.” Bakker said. “That is where I always wanted to go. As soon as I decided I wanted to play basketball, that’s where I wanted to go.” 

While she’s very excited to play for the Lakers, she is also aware of the difference between high school and college basketball. 

“I need to work on becoming a power finisher,” Bakker said during a recent interview with the Holland Sentinel.  “I can finish pretty well, but in high school it is a lot easier. In college, everyone is going to be my height.”

With two more years to go and a spectacular two seasons behind her, there is no doubt that Bakker will be ready for the Division II team once she graduates. 

Bakker also a plays volleyball for her high school, but she chose to stick with basketball long-term since it comes more naturally to her. With some of the coordination from volleyball combined with her passion for basketball, she rounds out to be an asset every team should want to have. 

Additionally, she continues to be an anchor on the defensive end for her team. She attributes some of this from volleyball, but also to her height. 

“When we are able to play a zone and keep Kaylee in the middle of the floor, she’s a great shot blocker,” said Brooke Ross, who has coached Bakker in high school. “She doesn’t need to hit the ball into the stands, she just gets her hands on a lot of passes. She makes people adjust to her height.”

Bakker even likes to say that she’s the best shot blocker in her family, even if her brother is also a basketball player on the boys team at the same high school. 

In her sophomore season, she averaged 10 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.7 blocks, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 assists a game. She was also named all-conference last season in the OK Green. 

Her attitude on the court is as great as her stats. Ross calls her determined and knows that when she puts her mind to something she will make it happen for herself and her team. 

“I am just super proud of Kaylee and the strides she has made in her game,” Ross said. “She is a kid of high class that when she puts her mind to something, she is going to make it happen.”

She is not only excited about the basketball, but is also looking forward to working on her academics while at GVSU.

“I need to get stronger and put more focus into my school work, which is also what they emphasize,” Bakker said. “The opportunity (at Grand Valley State) is amazing.” 

With continued practice and two more years of high school ahead of her, there’s no telling the heights she can reach in high school and at GVSU.