Sant plays her way to a full ride at UD

Most fifth-grade students can’t wait for the day when they’ll walk through the doors of Fairmont as high school students. Even so, most fifth-graders probably aren’t thinking of how decisions they make now could greatly impact their life in high school and beyond.

When Cassie Sant, a senior at Fairmont High School, was in fifth grade, she had no idea that deciding to play basketball for the Kettering Cobras was the first step to getting a full-ride scholarship to the University of Dayton. “Holly Carey’s dad made me play for the Cobras because I was tall,” said Sant, laughing at the memory.

But it wasn’t long after Sant started playing for the Cobras that she realized she not only had the height needed for playing basketball, but the skill as well. “It was probably the summer between sixth and seventh grade that I discovered my talent for playing basketball,” she said. “It was the first time I played for a select league and got hard-core coaching.” Sant admits that before then, she wasn’t very good at the game.

Since then, Sant has played for four different basketball leagues: the Kettering Cobras, Kettering Middle School’s seventh- and eighth-grade teams, the Dayton Lady HoopStars and Fairmont’s Girls’ Varsity team. “Dayton Lady HoopStars is an AAU league,” said Sant, referring to the Amateur Athletic Union. Sant played with the Dayton Lady HoopStars from the 11 and under team up through the 16 and under team.

Dominant in two sports and courts

Sant possesses skills that not only make her a phenomenal basketball player, but they carry over onto the volleyball court as well. “I started playing volleyball in seventh grade,” she said. “I like basketball more than volleyball, though. It’s more challenging, and I’m better at it. I like the intensity – you really have to work hard to be the best you can be.”

Early in Sant’s high school career, it was clear that her athleticism exceeded that of an average girl her age. “It was a huge honor to make both varsity volleyball and basketball as a freshman,” she said. “I grew close relationships with the upperclassmen and they showed me around school.”

Sant, who plays guard, currently stands at 6’2”. During the ’08-09 season, Sant played in all of the 20 Fairmont Girls’ Varsity Basketball games and averaged 13.6 points and 8 rebounds per game. This year, Sant has only been able to play four out of the five Girls’ Varsity games due to shin splints. Even so, she is already ahead of her game. Currently, she averages 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Schools seek out Sant

Over Sant’s four years in high school, she has received more than 100 letters from colleges and universities that want her to attend their school and possibly play basketball there. “As far as scholarship offers, I’ve received about five from schools I visited,” Sant said. “Purdue, UD, Bowling Green, Akron and Iowa all offered me scholarships for basketball.”

Despite all the choices, Sant found it easy to make her decision. “UD is really close to home, and I want my parents to be able to come to my games,” she said. “I love the atmosphere at UD, and I’ve grown close relationships with the coaches.”

As far as choosing what to major in, Sant is less certain. “I don’t really know what I’m going to major in,” she said. “I’m thinking maybe digital design or engineering.”

Sant shines bright on and off court

With being so involved in basketball, one might think Sant has no spare time for family, friends and other activities. But that’s not the case. “We never have basketball practice or anything on Sunday; coaches give us that time to spend with family,” she said. “After practice, I’m able to spend time with my family, too.”

Sant also finds time to be involved in other activities at Fairmont, including the Buddy System, where students volunteer to participate in activities such as games and crafts with a student from Fairmont Industries. She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, where she’s required to uphold a 3.5 GPA or higher and obtain a minimum of 10 tutoring hours and 15 service hours during her senior year.

When Sant isn’t on the basketball court, doing homework or volunteering, she likes to get out and have fun like any other teen. “I like to hang out with friends and go see movies,” she said. “I also like to draw a lot and cook – I like making fruit pizza.”

As an exceptional basketball player, a good student, and a very personable, well-rounded person, Sant will likely have many options when it comes to life after college. “A lot of people go to Europe and play basketball after college, so I might do that,” she said. But what Sant doesn’t want to do may come as a surprise to many.

“I don’t want to go into the WMBA,” she said. “My dream is to be a college coach, and scout and recruit up-and-coming talent.”