K-State Fulfills Dream for Kincaid

Editor's Note: The following story was written for Kansas State Official Sports Report by OSR writer Mark Janssen. Official Sports Report will be honoring Kansas State's five senior basketball players this week with each having a unique story from their Wildcat career. Saluted in Senior Day games Saturday will be Kari Kincaid and Ashley Sweat from the women's team, and Chris Merriewether, Luis Colon and Denis Clemente from the men's side. We hope you enjoy their reflection on their days as a Wildcat. To receive the free daily email newsletter go to www.kansasstateosr.com.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The basic life of a student-athlete in any sport is hectic.

Classes, weights, practice, study table, conditioning, travel, competitions, etc.

All of that has been true this season for Kansas State's Kari Kincaid, but plus some.

The Wildcat senior, who will conclude her home career Saturday at 12 p.m. against Nebraska, has also been student teaching with a first-grade class at Morris Hill Elementary at Fort Riley AND has been preparing for her May 29 wedding to fellow K-State senior Martin Miller.

"My mom and Martin's mom have really stepped up and helped with the wedding while we finish our degrees," said Kincaid, who will have former and current teammates in Marlies Gipson, Danielle Zanotti and Ashley Sweat as bridesmaids. "Both moms are creative people, so they come up with the great ideas and then I get to pick and choose which ones will be used."

With this overflowing plate, Kincaid says, "Basketball and this team have been my priority. This has been such an amazing opportunity and a dream come true that I don't want to lose one second of the career I have left. Basketball is where I come and release all my stresses. It's my passion. I know I don't have long to do it, so I'm trying to live in the moment."

Kincaid says her basketball passion started at the age of five "... when I started sleeping with my basketball and I was playing on an all-boys team. I was definitely the definition of a gym rat at a very, very young age."

Growing up in Andover, Kan., Kincaid benefited from the fact that her parents - Scott and Tami - were teacher/coaches in the school system and had access to the gym.

"Basketball was something my dad and I shared. I can't imagine how many thousands of shots that he rebounded for me," Kincaid said. "It's just something we loved to do together from the beginning. I had an older brother (Austin) and sister (Tricia) that were really good, but this was my chance to show dad, 'Look what I can do!' I knew he was proud of me, which made it so special."

Basketball remained special in the life of Kincaid when she came to Kansas State four years ago. Now 88 wins later, she says, "Basketball at Kansas State taught me how to be the woman I want to be. That's selfless, humble, a hard worker, responsible, accountable for actions and the understanding that nothing is going to come easy.

"Basketball is such a great metaphor for life in that nothing real in life is ever going to be given to you," said Kincaid. "On and off the court, you have to figure out ways to get things done. As an individual and a team, basketball is so much like life."

Kincaid recently enjoyed a career scoring high of 18 against Texas Tech, and earlier this season had an all-time record of 11 assists in a game against Grambling State. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged better than eight points per game in her last two years, and will end up in the Top 25 in all-time assists. In each of her last three years she has made at least 30 3-pointers with her career total of 145 ranking No. 8 in school history.

A three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Kincaid says her K-State high came in her sophomore year when the Wildcats won the Big 12 championship. It was the year before that the team went 4-12 to finish last in the league. One year later, the record improved to 13-3 and the placing to first in the league.

From that experience, Kincaid said, "I saw what can be accomplished when there is a commitment to a goal. It was so much fun to accomplish that with literally my best friends."