King’s Corey Kispert signs on dotted line to play basketball at Gonzaga

Originally published November 9, 2016 at 5:10 pm Updated November 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm

The 6-foot-6 wing averaged nearly 24 points and seven rebounds last year. His twin sister Casey will play volleyball at Seattle Pacific.

By David Krueger

Special to The Seattle Times

Corey Kispert thought it might be difficult to “sign (his) life away.”

But when it came time to sign his National Letter of Intent, the King’s star showed the same poise he’s demonstrated on the court for the last three years with the Knights’ basketball team.

On a momentous occasion for the Gonzaga-bound recruit, the laid-back Kispert signed his letter at his house Wednesday morning with his family and sent it to Spokane to make his commitment to the Bulldogs official.

“You’d think it would be a bit like your life flashing before your eyes and getting cold feet like, ‘Am I really able to do this?’ But it was no sweat,” Kispert said. “I’ve been so locked into Gonzaga for so long and getting more and more excited as the days go by. … I couldn’t have been more happy to sign my life away for four years. It was the easiest signature I’ve ever written.”

Kispert, a 6-foot-6 wing who averaged 23.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game while leading King’s to its second consecutive Class 1A state championship last season, was a highly sought-after recruit. Several coaches from across the country came to watch Kispert, who narrowed his final three schools down to the Zags, Notre Dame and Virginia.

After a visit to Spokane in May, Kispert toured the campus with Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss and came home knowing he wanted to join the Bulldogs.

“The one thing (Williams-Goss) said walking from campus to the gym was, ‘I’ve been around a lot of programs and players and coaches and I’ve never been around so many guys focused on one common goal,’ ” Kispert said.

Rick Skeen, Kispert’s coach at King’s and an avid Gonzaga basketball fan, thinks the Bulldogs will be a great fit for Kispert, who will likely play small forward and shooting guard.

“He’s one of a kind. I really do mean that,” Skeen said. “There’s a lot of talented folks. I just have never met a teenage kid with the work ethic, with the drive, with the character, with the humility that Corey possesses. I may coach a physical talent like him again, but I just don’t know that I’ll ever experience a kid that’s just, all around, the kid that he is.”

King’s didn’t have school on Wednesday after finals, giving the students a long weekend. Kispert plans to have a ceremony at the school on Monday along with his twin sister Casey, who is signing a letter of intent to play volleyball at Seattle Pacific University.

“Even though it’s just a signature on a piece of paper, it feels like I’m really a part of the family,” Kispert said. “One thing I’ve heard from coaches is the verbal commitment is kind of like the engagement and the letter of intent is the marriage. I feel like I’m in and feel really good in my choice.”