A strong love of the game drives this Indiana ace
Indiana has produced dozens of outstanding high school players in recent years, including former Purdue star Stephanie White (McCarty), current Boilermaker spark plug Kelly Komara, and Wawasee High School senior standout Shanna Zolman. Now, Jenny Pfeiffer, a 5-8 shooting guard for Jennings County High School in North Vernon, Ind., is ready to add her name to the list.
Pfeiffer started playing basketball when she was four years old, and fell in love with the sport's competitive aspects almost immediately. "Anything I do, not just basketball, always has to be competitive," she says. "I can't just sit still--everything I do has to be a race, where I say, 'Let's try it and see who wins.'"
As a freshman, Pfeiffer made the varsity team at JCHS, and since then, she's continually worked to improve her game. "I'd have to say my three-point shooting has come the furthest, because I've tried to step it up and extend my range," she says. "I've spent the most time on that, but I've also been working on my drives and pump fakes a lot this summer."
As a junior, Pfeiffer averaged 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and three assists. She shot 41 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the foul line, helping lead the Lady Panthers to their first sectional win and regional appearance in 2000-01. She was named first team All-State by the Louisville Courier-Journal and was a Street & Smith All-America honorable mention two years.
This fall, Pfeiffer was selected by the Indiana High School Basketball Guide for its "Tremendous 26" list of the state's outstanding basketball players (both boys and girls). Upon the honor, she was lauded by JCHS head girls' basketball coach Joe Granecki.
"Jenny is a first-class young lady and a top student with an outstanding attitude and work ethic," he said in the North Vernon Plain Dealer and Sun. "She is exciting to watch because of her uncanny ability to shoot the '3', attack the basket, and play strong defense as well. Jenny is a tough competitor, a winner, who exemplifies what being a student-athlete is all about."
After considering Ball State, Xavier, Wisconsin, Colorado State and Southern Mississippi, Pfeiffer signed to attend the University of Kentucky. "It was close to home, and it's in the SEC," she says. "I was happy to get a letter from there, then I met the coaches, and I loved them. I met the players twice and really got along with them. I just loved the whole campus--it felt like home there."
Pfeiffer plans to study sports management or sports marketing at UK. On the court, she knows she must keep building her game to compete at the college level.
"It's going to be pretty tough, but I'm planning on going down for the summer school session to start working out with the team, and hopefully getting halfway adjusted to the transition," she says. "I'm looking forward to it. I think I'll have fun."
Kentucky Head Coach Bernadette Mattox is also looking forward to Pfeiffer's arrival. "What excites me about Jenny is her perimeter shooting," Mattox said. "She can knock down the three-pointer and she has great floor leadership. She is an absolute gym rat and she understands how to win. I'm most impressed with her love of the game."
Indeed, it's that love for basketball that has propelled Pfeiffer's career to this point. "I play everyday--365, 24-7," she says. "There's not a day I don't play, unless I'm like totally exhausted and need a break. But even in the summer time, there's no offseason. In the offseason is when players are made, that's my rule of thumb I go by."
Article written by Gball Associate Editor Jim Catalano.
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