It didn’t take long for former James Madison High School (Brooklyn, NY) girl’s basketball player Ketsia Athias to find a new school.
Eights days after Division II New York Institute of Technology (Long Island) decided to cancel its athletics program (on August 20th) for at least two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on August 28th, she officially became a student-athlete at D 1 Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.
Sure, it was shocking for Athias to learn of the disappointing news. But she wanted to continue to play hoops and did not want to give up on her dream of becoming a nurse.
Refusing to let disappointment paralyze her, Athias clung to hope and had a little luck on her side.
Remembering Athias from the North Carolina Deep South Tournament in April 2018, Iona Associate Coach Ashlee Kelly stepped in and offered her an opportunity to join the program.
Kelly had recruited Athias out of high school, but Iona did not have a nursing program at the time. However, it does now, much to the Kensington, Brooklyn, native’s delight.
“It was heartbreaking news, but often when one door closes, others open,” Brooklyn Saints (travel ball) Coach Joe Murphy said. “Ketsia has a deep desire to go into nursing. She also has strong family ties, so staying close to home is extremely important.
“Fortunately, a number of schools in the area showed interest in Ketsia and quickly made offers,” Murphy added.”
But landing a college that late in the game was an arduous task, not to mention finding a school that fit Athisa’s requirements, Murphy said.
“NYT has 500 athletes looking for someplace to play,” he explained. “Most schools have full rosters at this late date. Ketsia was lucky to have the talent and have schools that had roster space. In addition to finding schools that offered nursing and relatively close to home, that was not easy.
“I was happy that Iona’s coach Ashlee Kelly remembered Ketsia and had roster space for her,” Murphy continued. “Iona has a wonderful school and coaching staff.”
Overall, Athias, a 6-foot-2-inch forward, had offers from Sacred Heart, St. Peters, FDU, and Adelphi, per Murphy.
The former Brooklyn Saint averaged 11.8, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, to go along with 58 blocked shots in 29 contests with the Bears last season.
Plus, Athias was a standout hoopster at Madison, draining 12.25 ppg and 17 rpg in 16 tilts en route to a PSAL Class A Championship in her senior year in the 2017-18 campaign.
— Jerry Del Priore