A former Robinson High School athlete has decided to continue her collegiate career a little closer to home.
After having a successful freshman season at Murray State University, 6-3 Kelsey Dirks has decided to transfer to Indiana State University to play basketball.
Dirks said the decision wasn't easy, but one she believes will be beneficial on and off the court.
"It was a very difficult decision to transfer from Murray State to Indiana State," Dirks said. "However, I felt that Indiana State provided a better academic program for my major and a very competitive basketball program. Another big plus was Indiana State's proximity to family and friends."
"We're excited to welcome Kelsey into our Sycamore Family," ISU head coach Teri Moren said in a press release on the ISU website. "She has proven to be a tremendous student-athlete and will be a great addition to our program, both on and off the floor. I know Kelsey is excited to be closer to home where both family and friends can see her play and follow her career as a Sycamore."
Playing closer to home was a big reason Dirks decided to come to Indiana State, but it was not the only reason.
"I already knew a lot about the basketball and academic programs at Indiana State coming out of high school," Dirks said. "The Communication Disorders programs at Indiana State provides hands-on clinical experience at the undergraduate level which was of great interest to me. Being closer to home allows family and friends to watch more of my games and allows me to get home more often. I come from a close-knit family and we have always supported one another, so I also look forward to being able to watch my little brother Dylan play sports during his high school years."
Dirks played in 29 games - starting 28 of them - as a freshman at Murray State last season, averaging 6.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. She posted five double-figure scoring efforts in 2012-13, including back-to-back double-doubles to begin the month of December against Southern Illinois (12 points, 10 rebounds Dec. 1) and Mid-Continent (20 points, 11 rebounds Dec. 6).
In her four years at RHS, Dirks averaged 16.6 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Lady Maroons. She was a three-time First Team All-Apollo Conference selection and a two-time IBCA Fourth Team All-State honoree. Dirks passed the 1,000 point mark for her high school career as a junior.
Dirks believes she will fit in the ISU program well and is excited to become a part of the Sycamore family.
"The Indiana State program has been very successful and has a great tradition," Dirks said. "They have an up-tempo offense and utilize a very balanced attack that I look forward to being a part of. They have a wonderful following and great fan base and do a lot of community activities that all contribute to developing a close-knit team."
Due to NCAA transfer rules, Dirks will not be eligible to play for ISU during the 2013-14 season, but can still practice with the team and will have three years of eligibility once she begins playing during the 2014-15 season.
"I have to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, but will fully participate in practices and work-outs with the team," Dirks said. "It provides me the opportunity to focus on getting stronger, improving ball handling skills and improving my long range shooting. I can participate in all team activities besides traveling to away games and participating in games."
Dirks is one of 10 newcomers to the Indiana State women's basketball roster for the 2013-14 season. She joins Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (Springfield, Mass./Univ. of Memphis), Bobbi Beckwith (Albion, Neb./Iowa Western CC), Cierra Ceazer (Topeka, Kan./Grambling State Univ.), Jasmine Grier (Commerce, Ga./Central Georgia Technical College), Lashonda Littleton (Dallas, Texas/Chipola College), Joyea Marshall (Wichita, Kan./UT Pan American), Chelsea Small (Denver, Colo./American Univ.), Rhagen Smith (Sullivan, Ind./Sullivan HS) and Stephanie Wittman (San Antonio, Texas/Kansas State Univ.) as new faces on the bench inside Hulman Center next season.
Dirks, Ceazer and Marshall will all sit out the entire the 2013-14 season while Small and Wittman will become eligible at the end of the fall semester.
While at ISU, Dirks has several goals both in the classroom and on the court.
"My goals for college are to learn as much as I can to prepare me for a career as a speech pathologist, to do everything I can to contribute to the success of the Indiana State Women's basketball team and to enjoy my college experience," Dirks said. "I am excited to start this next chapter of my life and I thank God for the opportunities that he has provided to continue my education at Indiana State."
In addition, Dirks is the second transfer from Murray State with a local connection. Earlier this spring, fellow Murray State freshman Elizabeth Mahurin of Rockville, Ind., decided to transfer to Lincoln Trail College for her sophomore season.
With her move closer to home, Dirks hopes to see many familiar faces in the stands when she suits up for the Lady Sycamores.
"It is great to be back in the Wabash Valley and closer to family and friends here in Robinson," Dirks said. "It is such a blessing to be from such a supportive community and I thank everyone for their past support during my high school career and while at Murray State. I invite everyone to come cheer on ISU in the coming years - Go Sycamores!"