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Caitlin Clark’s young fans dream of emulating hero

ALBANY — The concourse was packed before the start of the Sweet 16 games, filled with wide-eyed young girls eager to watch women’s college basketball — even though Caitlin Clark wasn’t playing until Saturday afternoon.

The Oregon State band played while these young girls with their mothers, fathers, grandmothers or grandfathers waited to be let inside MVP Arena to watch and dream of their own dream, the same dream that Caitlin Clark once dreamed as a young girl growing up. West Des Moines, Iowa.

Caitlinsanity arrives in Albany:

“I like her and she’s an inspiration to kids like me who love playing basketball,” said Kasey, an 8-year-old from Cooperstown.

So one day, maybe you’ll become Caitlin Clark?

“I do,” Kasey said. “I’ll try.”

Rachel, from Latham, New York, is 15 years old. She plays the role of cheerleader for Shaker High School.

Caitlin Clark isn’t playing until Saturday afternoon, but her fans have already arrived in Albany. P.A.

“When you watch her,” Rachel said, “she gets people excited, especially when she shoots from half court.”

Is she an inspiration for you?

“Yes she is.”

For what?

“She just inspires people all over the world to love being better.”

Shaker High School cheerleader Rachel said Caitlin
Clark inspires people around the world to “be better.”

What do you like best about his game?

“I think it’s like her knowledge of the court, and I don’t think people talk about it a lot… like don’t even look at the player and she already knows where he is on the court. She could just pass behind the back or something, and it happens to them.

Rachel is one of the lucky ones. She will be at MVP Arena to watch Caitlin Clark and Iowa on Saturday against Colorado. Her grandmother Kathy got two tickets online.

“They were $230 each,” Kathy said.

Grandma also played basketball once.

Caitlin Clark and Iowa will face Colorado, in front of their fans, for a spot in the Elite Eight. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“I love Caitlin Clark,” she said. “She has a complete game. Everyone picked on her because they said all she did was score, but if you look at her assists, her rebounds, her court vision is phenomenal.

Is Caitlin a source of inspiration for you?

“My playing days are long time it’s over,” she said, smiling, “but what’s inspiring is what she did for women’s basketball. Just seeing this turnout – I came back a few years ago when they had the tournament here, there was nothing like it. Nothing. You weren’t waiting to come in.

Julia is a 10-year-old U-11 leader in Hamilton, Canada.

“I love him,” she said.

For what?

“Because she’s a really good shooter and I want to be like her.”

Julia loves Clark’s sense of competition: “I really like how she gets angry when she keeps making mistakes, because that means she wants to improve.”

Kate Rueck’s father, Scott, is the women’s coach at Oregon State, which won 70-65 against Notre Dame on Friday. His wife, Kerry, praises Clark for bringing women’s basketball to the public consciousness. Their two daughters, Kate, 17, and Macey, 12, are playmakers.

“I think she’s an inspiration to me,” Macey said, “because I want to be like her and I want to take pictures, obviously. And I think what she can do is really impressive .

When asked why Clark was an inspiration to her, Lindley, a 10-year-old shooter from nearby Clifton Park, said, “Because I want to shoot like her.”

Her friend Emma, ​​10, also a shooting keeper, added: “She’s amazing. She is really good at shooting, and she is really good at long-range shooting.

Caitlin Clark’s filming has many fans trying to replicate her success. USA TODAY NETWORK

Ella, 17, is a babysitter from Troy, Pennsylvania. She was wearing an Iowa sweatshirt.

“Oh, she’s by far the best college basketball (player) of all time,” she said.

What do you like about her?

“His style of play. … Like his shooting. It’s just crazy.

Her friend Brenna, 12, agrees. But Ella enjoys more than just filming.

Here’s everything you need to know about Caitlin Clark’s March Madness run

Printable NCAA Women’s Bracket: Full March Madness 2024 Field

“How humble she is when she needs to be, then arrogant when she can be, and confident.”

Bryan Vannoy coaches the high school girls team in Canton, Pennsylvania.

“I think she’s absolutely phenomenal, and I would say what sets her apart is she plays with a Kobe Bryant-like mentality,” he said. “She lays it all down and refuses to lose, and if she has to lose, you’ll have everything she can have. And I also think she holds her teammates accountable, kind of in a Kobe Bryant aspect where she demands the best from you. And I think the other players on her team are giving her the best… she’s doing well. Like you don’t really have a choice.

Juliana is a keeper.

“I like his shooting form,” she said. “I like the way she does her crossover.”

Vakala (left) and Kalana are two Caitlin Clark fans watching her
playing in Albany this weekend.

What do you think Caitlin Clark did for young girls like you?

“It probably inspired other people to like to work harder and dedicate themselves more to the sport.”

Vakala, 10 years old: “I want to become a good shooter and a good player like her. »

Her sister Kalana is 14: “Her determination and watching her play really inspires me to try to do good for the game of basketball.” »

Moira is a 9-year-old point guard and Caitlin Clark fan: “She’s a good basketball player. »

Both Greyson (left) and Moira were inspired by Iowa women’s clothing.
basketball star Caitlin Clark.

How is she doing well? “She shoots 3 seconds.” How does she inspire you? “Hard work.”

Greyson is also 9 years old. She plays in the center. “She shoots 3 seconds and she’s fine.” How does Caitlin inspire you? “Work hard and do my best.”

Emily is 9 years old. “She’s an incredible player.” What’s amazing about her? “Her shot and the passes she makes.” Why is she an inspiration to you? “She inspires me to want to be like her when I grow up.”

A reporter mentioned to Caitlin Clark that he went to a local practice with an AAU team and some middle school girls were wearing his number 22.

“I think it’s the best part of what I can do,” she said. “I grew up having these role models and aspiring to be where I am today. It’s very special to see your impact not only in the state of Iowa but across the country.

“And I think that’s been the biggest thing for us this year because it didn’t just happen in Iowa. Obviously Iowa has supported us through and through, but no matter where we go, there are so many people who support us and want us to succeed.

“To be able to have that impact on the next generation is really special, and you just hope to dream and aspire to be like you one day and chase all their dreams.”

Greatlin Clark.

New York Post

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