Nicole Kaczmarski

American basketball player

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Nicole Kaczmarski
Personal information
Born (1981-04-30) April 30, 1981 (age 40)
Long Island, New York
NationalityAmerican
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Career information
High schoolLongwood (Brookhaven, New York)
Christ The King (Queens, New York)
Sachem (Long Island, New York)
CollegeUCLA (1999–2000)
WNBA draft2003 / Round: 3 / Pick: 39th overall
Selected by the New York Liberty
PositionPoint guard
Number20

Nicole Anne Kaczmarski (born April 30, 1981) is an American former professional basketball player. A standout player in high school, she received a Gatorade Player of the Year award, was named Miss New York Basketball and earned a spot in the 1999 USA Today All-USA high school basketball team. Heavily recruited by colleges, Kaczmarski eventually enrolled at UCLA and played one season for their women's basketball team. Kaczmarski then enrolled at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Afterward, she had brief stints with two Women's National Basketball Association teams, the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks. In 2011, she became a color commentator for basketball telecasts.[1] Kaczmarski's high school career and college recruitment were chronicled in the documentary film Running Down a Dream.[2]

High school career

A Long Island native, Kaczmarski first gained national recognition at Longwood High School, where she was named women's high school basketball Freshman of the Year by ESPN RISE.[3] She led the team at Longwood to a 10-2 record and a three-way tie for the league title before falling in the quarterfinals of the Class A Playoffs against Walt Whitman High School.[4] Kaczmarski, also known by her nickname "Kaz" subsequently had a brief stint playing for Christ The King Regional High School alongside future University of Connecticut and Women's National Basketball Association star Sue Bird. She played most of her high school basketball at Sachem High School, where she set a Long Island women's high school basketball record with 2,583 career points.[5] Kaz played her first varsity basketball game at Sachem as an eighth grader.[6] She led Sachem to the state title as an eighth-grader.[7] She Helped lead Sachem to state title over Lockport in March 1995.[8] During her high school career, she was named both Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss New York Basketball and was a selection to the 1999 USA Today All-USA high school basketball team.[9][10] In the Suffolk final in 1999 as a senior, she had 45 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and six steals in a win over previously undefeated Bellport.[11] Highly recruited, she decided to attend UCLA.[5][12] One of the last games she played as a high school player was the Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-America game.[13] Kaczmarski's high school career and entrance into college basketball were documented in the 1999 film Running Down a Dream.[14]

College and professional career

At UCLA, Kaczmarski started at point guard early in the 1999-2000 season due to an injury to regular starter Erica Gomez. Eventually, she was shifted to the shooting guard position.[15] Kaczmarski faced some early season struggles, but improved later in the season, ending with an average of 11.7 points per game and having set a school record by hitting seven three pointers during a game at Washington State University. Kaczmarski was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week during the final week of the regular season and was a selection to the conference all-freshman team.[15]

Kaczmarski did not return to UCLA for her sophomore year as she had been suffering from Lyme disease, as well as plantar fasciitis due to an injury she suffered at trials for the USA Basketball World University Games team.[16][17] Kaczmarski returned to school at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, but never returned to college basketball.[18]

In 2003, Kaczmarski was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 WNBA Draft as the final pick of her hometown Women's National Basketball Association team, the New York Liberty.[19] She was unaware that she had been drafted until a friend called to congratulate her.[20] Kaczmarski did not make the Liberty's regular season roster but started playing professionally in Austria and Greece.[21][22] She then had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2005.[23]

Post-playing career

Kaczmarski pursued a career in healthcare and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in health science.[24][25] In 2011, she returned to basketball as an analyst for the Cablevision channel MSG Varsity[26] and for the St. John's Red Storm.[1] The following year, Kaczmarski became the first female athlete to have her jersey retired by Sachem High School and only the fifth ever.[27][28] As of October 2020, she ranks third for most career points scored in Long Island women's high school basketball.[29]

Honors

  • MVP of the New York State Championships[30]
  • Gatorade National High School Player of the Year[31]
  • First Team All-America by USA Today
  • Second all-time leading scorer in Long Island history
  • Five-time All-State selection
  • Four-time Long Island Player of the Year[32]
  • 1999 New York's Miss Basketball[33]
  • All-Pac 10 Freshman Team
  • Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame
  • Won two straight AAU national titles[34]
  • 2,583 points - School and Suffolk record and 2nd all-time on Long Island

References

  1. ^ a b Sarra, Greg (January 7, 2012). "Just like old times for Nicole Kaczmarski, Sachem". Newsday. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Mushnick, Phil (December 1, 2000). "NICOLE'S NIGHTMARE". New York Post. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Flores, Ronnie (2010-05-19). "Previous underclass POYs". ESPN. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  4. ^ Parpan, Grant (July 31, 2017). "Best of the Rest: Kaczmarski's forgotten season at Longwood". The Suffolk Times. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Nolan, Mike. "Bethany LeSueur is head of the class". ESPN.
  6. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - Inside the Numbers and Honors". Patch. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - has jersey retired". Newsday. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - Inside the Numbers and Honors". Patch. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Chat Reel: Nicole Kaczmarski". CNN. 2000-02-02. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  10. ^ "Smith named national player of the year". USA Today. 1999-04-13. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  11. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - has jersey retired". Newsday. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  12. ^ Ackert, Kristie (1998-11-18). "A Happy Ending for Kaczmarski". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-21.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Garcia, Julian (1999-04-01). "Locals Bringing Skills to Hartford". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  14. ^ Wood, Skip (2002-05-01). "Running down a dream to tell a player's story". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  15. ^ a b "UCLA Bruins: Nicole Kaczmarski". UCLA. Archived from the original on 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  16. ^ Rubin, Roger (2000-10-18). "Kaczmarski Leaves UCLA". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-21.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Gustkey, Earl (2000-12-12). "Kaczmarski Plans to Transfer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  18. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - Then and Now". Patch. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  19. ^ "New York Liberty Select Five In WNBA Draft". WNBA. 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  20. ^ Ackert, Kristie (2003-05-03). "Ex-HS Star at Liberty". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-21.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Weiner, Jill (2003-05-28). "Liberty returns with deeper bench". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  22. ^ Patrick, Dick (2004-01-06). "Notebook: Cousins spark DePaul's stellar start". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  23. ^ "2005 Transactions". WNBA. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  24. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - Then and Now". Patch. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  25. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (2008-12-26). "Delle Donne's decision rare among highly touted recruits". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  26. ^ "Kaczmarski to Return to Court as Analyst". Newsday. 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  27. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski". SSHOF. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  28. ^ Ronis, Adam (January 7, 2012). "Nicole Kaczmarski has jersey retired". Newsday. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  29. ^ Kersich, Peter (February 22, 2018). "North Shore's Gabrielle Zaffiro becomes No. 2 in LI girls basketball scoring". Newsday. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  30. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski". UCLA. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  31. ^ "Player of the Year". Gatorade. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  32. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski has jersey retired". Newsday. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Miss Basketball". NYSW.org. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Nicole Kaczmarski - Inside the Numbers and Honors". Patch. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
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