In recent years, Makenna Fee has had a goal of playing college basketball.
The Seymour High School senior took a step closer to making that a reality last week when she signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Illinois Springfield.
“They were the first school that came out to me during my recruitment process,” she said. “They kind of got the edge on me there. When I went on a visit, the campus just felt like home. It’s right in the middle of cornfields, which is a lot like how Seymour is, so it was just a good feeling inside, and my family really liked the school, and the coaches were really supportive of whatever choice I made.”
Mark Kost is the head coach of the UIS women’s basketball team.
“The coach talked to me and they are going to start me out as a 3 or 4 off the skill level, and then they’re hoping to work me out to a small forward,” Fee said. “They just wanted an athlete, so I’m hoping to fill in whatever roles they need me to do. I think my job the first couple years is just to come in and work hard and get the loose balls and just be the player that they need.
“I think they want me for my diversity because I do have a decent shot, so I’ll be able to pull out but also work inside with mismatches,” she said.
This season, Fee has scored 142 points through 13 games for an average of 10.9.
“I really like shooting (mid-range jumpers) probably more than I should right now,” she said. “I like playing at the high post and then driving in. I feel like I’m more comfortable there. I’ve been working a lot on going left, especially these past couple weeks. After the season is over, that is going to be one of my focuses.”
Fee, a three-year starter in high school, said she feels like she will need to battle harder when she gets to UIS.
“I think I need to be more aggressive than what I am,” she said. “I have spurts of where I can show how aggressive I can be, but I don’t do it enough, so that’s going to be one my big focuses. I met the trainers when I went on my visit, and they were all supportive and open about what programs they’re going to put us through.”
Seymour coach Jason Longmeier said Fee can definitely contribute to the success of the Prairie Stars’ program.
“I feel it’s a good fit for her,” he said. “I think Division II is kind of where she has had her eyes set. I think she could’ve gotten some Division I offers. She has wanted to be kind of close to home. She’s close to her family, so this gives her a little less summer obligations than the Division I offers, so I think from that standpoint, it’s good, and I think she’s going to have a good shot to go in there and play pretty early in her career.”
He said Fee is able to stretch the floor, which should help at the college level.
“She’s going to be a tweener at that level. She’s not tall enough and big enough to be a true post player, and she’s going to have to go out and play on the perimeter,” Longmeier said. “She has done a good job the past couple years of getting out there and doing that. I think she’s going to have to put some more strength on at that level to really go through the grind of what their season involves. I think her versatility is going to be a big strength of hers, but her strength is really going to have to improve.”
The Prairie Stars are 3-6. There are currently three players from Indiana high schools on the UIS roster, and Fee said another current senior from Indiana also will attend UIS next school year to play basketball.
UIS is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference that is made up of teams from Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois.
Having played basketball since fourth grade, Fee said it means a lot to her to get to continue with the sport in college.
“My mom (Tonya) made a camp for us. I think (basketball) just got passed down through the family. It is my mom’s favorite sport, my sister’s (Mikayla) favorite sport, so it just kept going on to me,” she said. “I’m just appreciative and blessed because not a lot of people get that opportunity to play at a school like this with a community like this.”
Next winter, Tonya and Jason Fee will have two daughters playing college basketball, as Mikayla is a junior at Centre College.
Makenna played volleyball in the fall and plans to run track in the spring.
“Makenna is the epitome of a student-athlete,” Longmeier said. “Everything she does on the court she does 10 times more behind the scenes that nobody ever sees. She spends time tutoring people. She is involved in youth groups and at her church. She is just a complete student-athlete, and I think that’s a big deal for our kids, and I think she is a great role model for our younger players.”