By Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
Kitty Randa didn’t think she’d ever play basketball again, so playing in college never really crossed her mind.
After her sophomore soccer season at Hatboro-Horsham, a few Hatters teammates who also doubled as basketball players talked Randa into joining them on the team. It turned out basketball had become a lot more fun for Randa, leading her to play travel ball and soon, colleges were paying attention.
Randa’s stock rose in a big way this summer and Sunday, she put a return on Kutztown’s investment in it by becoming the fourth local player to join the Golden Bears’ 2024 class.
“I definitely did not think I was going to get far,” Randa said. “It was more for fun, following all the soccer players to basketball. It was hard at first, but I started really liking it and after my first year of AAU, it just made me love basketball again.”
Hatboro-Horsham senior Kitty Randa announced her commitment to Kutztown this weekend. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Randa, who played the last two summers with the Upper Makefield Heat Hoops organization, joins Perk Valley’s Anna Stein, Archbishop Wood’s Alexa Windish and Germantown Academy’s Jess Aponik as area commits to Kutztown. Bella Quinn from Russell, KY and Caravel Academy's Anaya Price round out a 2024 class the KU staff sees as having plenty of potential.
It was a relatively quick process for Randa. She attended Kutztown’s camp Sept. 17 and while she felt she played well enough, she was a little surprised when Golden Bears assistant Justin Hallman said he’d be in touch soon after.
Sure enough, he was and Randa announced she’d been offered on Oct. 5.
“I was definitely surprised they responded so quickly, I thought I’d played well, but not like anything crazy,” Randa said. “They liked that I was a bigger but quick player and how I have a lot more room to evolve and gain a better basketball IQ because I haven’t been playing that long.”
In just two years with the Hatters and two summers with the Heat, Randa not only picked things back up, she became a prospect in short order. At 6-foot-1, she’s got good size but thanks to her past, she came back to basketball with a guard’s set of skills.
Playing behind Alice Hall for a year at HH and with the help of former Hatters assistant Taylor Sweeney and Heat Hoops coach Heather Thompson, Randa got an accelerated course in learning to play the post.
“I used to be pretty short, I actually got tall when I wasn’t playing basketball, so I was more of a guard and had never played the post,” Randa said. “They taught me to play the post, opposed to me gravitating more to putting the ball on the floor and actually shooting more, so I became a mix of the two.”
Kutztown checked every box for Randa, from the size of the school, the feel she had being around the players on the team and the coaches’ clear investment where they saw her growing in the program. Jess Aponik’s twin sister Jenna was Randa’s teammate with Heat Hoops, so she was able to use Jess as a resource once Kutztown started recruiting her.
She also had a visit at Millersville and had a few other Division II and a good number of Division III programs interested. As a forward in soccer with good feet, the good size to hold the ball and strong aerial skills, Randa said she also had some D-III programs come looking after her freshman season.
Seven years ago, being viewed in any kind of light by a college coach was about the last thing Randa was thinking about. When she was in fifth grade, her team folded and not having particularly enjoyed playing all that much anyway, Randa figured that was it for basketball.
In the interim, she sprouted in height and thanks to the persistence of her soccer teammates at Hatboro-Horsham, she came back. Finding a home with the Heat and sharing the spirit her teammates had put an idea in Randa’s head that she never expected to have.
“From the beginning, Heather was telling me ‘you can play at the next level if you really try to get there and keep practicing, there’s definitely a spot there for you,’” Randa said. “My teammates, they also pushed me a lot. It’s the best team I’ve ever been on.”
Randa just finished up her senior soccer season, the Hatters making the district quarterfinals for a second time in the last three seasons and will soon move indoors for her last high school basketball season. The forward, a team captain last year and again this coming season, will be a leader for what will be a young team.
It’s a way for her to pay things forward the same way the team’s upperclassmen did for her when she came back as an unsure sophomore with no expectations for herself.
“I want to have a fun year with them,” Randa said. “I’m hoping we just try our best and I want to give them as many tips as I can so we can have a good season and win as much as we can.”
Randa was adamant she wouldn’t have even gotten this far without all the people in her corner, from the Hatters teammates who talked her into playing to Hall and Sweeney for teaching her the ropes again and Thompson, all the Heat Hoops coaches and teammates who ignited a new passion for the sport.
“It is actually pretty crazy. When I stopped, I never thought I’d play again,” Randa said. “When I was younger, I was pretty bad so when I came back and people started saying ‘you’re pretty good, I can’t believe you haven’t been playing,’ it was surprising.
“Taking a break reset my thoughts about it, but to like it as much as I do now and to realize I’m going to be playing in college, that’s just crazy.”