Could there be a more perfect nickname?
For someone who leads a defending CIF Championship team in points per game—as a sophomore; for someone who as a freshman led that same team in scoring during that CIF run; for someone who made the Second Team All-Palomar League being what the San Diego Union Tribune described as the team leader who “can do it all” (this is a 15 year old tenth grader we’re talking about here); it fits her to a T.
Or more appropriately, to a three. She has made 10 already this year, five in one game during a 70-28 blowout against King Drew.
Katie Kuklok is Kook. As in crazy, an anomaly, one who stands out from a group.
In the semifinals of last season’s CIF Championship, it was a Kuklok free throw that sealed the win for Poway.
In the ensuing finals, it was the same story. Kuklok sunk one from the free throw line in the final seconds to keep Poway on top.
In the first game of the 2008-2009 season against Francis Parker, Poway won 72-25. Kuklok scored 25 on her own.
It has been this way for as long as anyone can remember. Kuklok started playing basketball in first grade. Her mom got her into the sport. Her brother Brian Kuklok, a senior who leads Poway’s boy’s varsity team in scoring, kept her interested.
Everyone else just spectated, watching Kuklok’s spectacular career develop, awestruck.
Rancho Bernardo Varsity Basketball player Andrew Daniel remembers. “Everyone always talked about the Poway girl who played with the guys,” the sophomore said. He is referring to the travel team days of the past in which Kuklok would suit up for Titan travel ball, on the boys teams. Kooky.
From elementary school travel teams to CIF champion high school squads, Kuklok got to where she is because of her worth ethic. And others have noticed.
“Probably the main word to describe her would be dedicated. She works extremely hard. She puts a lot of time and effort into basketball,” sophomore Taylor Carter, who has played with Kuklok since middle school, said.
Carter has not just been anther spectator to Kuklok’s basketball though; she has been a student, as have many.
“She definitely motivates us. She encourages me and is a big inspiration for me and others too.”
All the backdrop would seem to make Kuklok out as a prodigy, a phenom. In reality, she is just a high schooler doing with a hobby.
“I love basketball. I want to play it the rest of my life,” she said.
She is wearing sweat pants. Of course.
“My goal with it is to just be able to play division one basketball (in college).”
Further down is a pair of high tops.
“I’ve already started getting letters from colleges like UCLA, but they can’t actually contact me because I’m only a sophomore.”
And, that is it. Kuklok has to go. Unsurprisingly, she has to go to practice. And after that, probably one of her hour long shooting sessions that she does every day, all year round.
And after that... the sky is the limit.