By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Kansas City Kansas Community College’s all-time assist leader Cassie Harbert is headed home.
“I just got a baby sister so I want to be there for her,” said Harbert. “I know it will mean a lot to my father. And my whole family will be able to come and watch me play. I’ve known about Friends all my life and I will be joining one of my teammates, Janai Mitchell.”
A 5-6 guard, Harbert earned WBCA Honorable Mention All-American honors as a freshman when she recorded 197 assists, the second most for a single season in KCKCC history.
Playing seven less minutes her sophomore season because of greater team depth and numerous blowouts, Harbert added a team high 162 assists this season for a record 359 for two seasons – seven more than All-American Aneta Kausaite recorded in 1994-96.
Playing an average of 23.6 minutes a game, Harbert was third in scoring (8.1) and second in rebounding (5.2) this past season in leading the Lady Blue Devils to a 28-4 record, second best record in KCKCC history.
As a freshman playing 30.4 minutes a game, Harbert averaged 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in helping the Blue Devils finish 24-8.
“One of my all-time favorite players to coach, Cassidy is one of the main reasons for the success (52 wins) we’ve had these past two seasons,” said KCKCC Coach Valerie Stambersky. “From the first time I saw her play in high school, she had my attention because of her competitiveness. She will always find success no matter where she goes because of her competitive nature. She will be a great addition to Friends and will help take them to a new level.”
Harbert chose Friends over more than a half dozen colleges.
“They told me they had a need and that I will contribute a lot,” said Harbert.
A non-denominational Christian university, Friends finished 21-12 this past season but graduated seven seniors off the 14-member squad. Harbert is the second member of this year’s Blue Devil team to sign at Friends, joining forward Janai Mitchell who signed earlier.
Harbert will be an education major at Friends.
“I want to be a coach but I can’t decide whether it be basketball or softball,” she says. Ironically Harbert’s original intentions were to play college softball and not basketball. “I’ve played softball all my life and am a better softball player but I burned out of softball when I got out of high school. My passion is basketball but my skills are in softball.”
Harbert will take many great memories with her including a 73-64 win at Johnson County when the Cavaliers were ranked No. 1 in the nation and making two free throws in the final seconds that gave KCKCC a 54-53 win at Highland.
“That was big; I’d never been in that position before,” said Harbert.
PHOTO: With Coach Valerie Stambersky as her witness, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s all-time leader in career assists Cassidy Harbert signed a letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Friends University in her home town of Wichita. (KCKCC Photo by Rodney Christensen)