Luper sets sights on playing professional basketball

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
01/27/2012 07:40 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oral Roberts University junior guard Kevi Luper drives past South Dakota State forward Leah Dietel on Jan. 7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oral Roberts University junior guard Kevi Luper shoots over South Dakota State forward Leah Dietel on Jan. 7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oral Roberts University junior guard Kevi Luper fights for a loose ball against South Dakota State forward Hannah Strop on Jan. 7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oral Roberts University junior guard Kevi Luper defends South Dakota State guard Gabrielle Boever on Jan. 7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oral Roberts University junior guard Kevi Luper looks at the shot clock while South Dakota State guard Ashley Eide defends her on Jan. 7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts University guard Kevi Luper is no stranger to success. She won an Oklahoma Class 3A state championship and garnered Oklahoma Player of the Year honors her senior season at Adair High School in 2009.

In 2009-10, her freshman year at ORU, she was named the Summit League’s Player of the Week seven times as well as the league’s Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. In her sophomore season she made NCAA Division I history by becoming the first player to lead the nation in points and steals.

And because of that individual success, Luper was named to the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games Team. The team finished seventh overall with Luper averaging 18 minutes and eight points in four games.

“It was a really good experience, and it was great getting to play with all the different caliber of players from all over the country,” she said. “Anytime you get to play for USA and represent it on your chest when you are playing a basketball game, it’s a pretty honorable experience.”

Luper said she would eventually like to be selected to Team USA for the Summer Olympic games.
“I would love to be on the summer games team. I’d love to play in the Olympics,” she said. “We’ll see. It depends on where I go and how well I accomplish things at the next level.”

Now in her junior season, Luper continues to earn individual awards such as a record-setting 13th career Summit League Player of the Week on Dec. 6, surpassing former ORU standout Elisha Turek.

ORU women’s basketball head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said he has coached three “elite” players in his career, and Luper is one of them. He said it makes his job as a coach easier.

“Kevi is a once-in-a-decade type of player, maybe once-every-two-decade type of player,” Finkbeiner said. “She has a natural scoring ability in women’s basketball and even in men’s. You can’t coach that…she’s a special player that makes coaches look good.”

Despite earning individual awards, Luper focuses on the team and winning basketball games. It keeps her striving to play at a high level.

“It’s the drive to win and the hunger to make it to the NCAA tournament and to accomplish things as team that haven’t been accomplished here before,” she said.

Although she’s only midway through her junior season, Luper said she hopes to be drafted by a Women’s National Basketball Association play or play overseas after her college career ends. She said if one of those scenarios occurs, she would base how long she plays on the overall experience of playing professionally.
Finkbeiner said he sees her playing beyond college as well.

“She’ll definitely have WNBA opportunities, but I don’t know at what level right now,” he said. “I think at the minimum, she’ll have tryout camp experience. I think, with further development her junior year and this coming summer before her senior year, she has a chance to be drafted. I think she’s a lock to a very nice paying situation in Europe.”

mark-dreadfulwater@cherokee.org

918-453-5087


About the Author
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his j ...
MARK-DREADFULWATER@cherokee.org • 918-453-5087
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his j ...

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