SPOKANE, Wash. — Things are happening fast for Taelor Karr — exciting, life-changing things.
Just months after leading the University of Gonzaga women’s basketball team to the West Coast Conference regular season and tournament championship and being named the conference player of the year, Karr is headed to France to play professional basketball.
“After this past season was over, I had multiple agents contact me wanting to work for me,” Karr said. “I ended up signing with one who is also working for an old Gonzaga teammate of mine. She only had good things to say about him, so I figured he would be a safe bet and find me a team.”
He did just that.
Karr was signed by the Dunkerque Malo in Dunkerque, France.
Dunkerque is a small city in northern France. She will be playing in a 14-team league, which plays other teams across France.
“I am so excited to be able to play professional basketball and continue my career after college,” Karr said. “I’ve dreamed about this opportunity since I was a kid in Miola League and have worked hard throughout my life to make it happen.
“Not many people get this kind of opportunity,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that everything has worked out and my dream is coming true. I would like to continue playing basketball as long as possible.”
Karr is signed to a one-year contract, as is customary for this league in France.
She could be playing for another team or in another country two years from now.
The road to professional basketball was never an easy one for Karr.
There were peaks and valleys, and Karr took each challenge on head first.
After spending two years with Kansas State University, Karr was shocked when her scholarship was not renewed for her junior season.
She was forced to go looking for another program.
In the meanwhile, her case went to the NCAA to see if Karr would have to sit out a season for the transfer or be eligible.
She was given immediate eligibility by the NCAA, transferred to the University of Gonzaga and led the women’s basketball team to back-to-back conference championships. Karr was also selected the West Coast Conference Player of the Year her senior season.
“My college experience overall was great,” Karr said. “I had a lot of ups and downs that I went through with having to transfer after a couple years at Kansas State, but everything happens for a reason, and it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.
“At Kansas State I lost my love for the game and was ready to be done with basketball,” she said. “After going through the whole recruiting process again and finding Gonzaga, everything changed and I haven’t looked back. Gonzaga was a wonderful place that I’m truly going to miss. My coaching staff at Gonzaga was incredible, and I owe everything to them with helping me get the love of the game back. I had the best experience possible at Gonzaga, and they made me a much better player and individual. I had a lot of success while I was there with going to the NCAA tournament two years in a row including the Sweet 16 last year.”
WE ARE FAMILY
No matter what she faced in her life, Karr never had to look far for family.
They traveled to see her play at Kansas State and kept following her at Gonzaga.
Karr gave them something to see, putting some incredible games together with her family in the stands.
“This past season was the most rewarding to me because I knew it was my last year and worked hard to lead the team and be as successful as possible,” Karr said. “My hard work paid off when I was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year, and we won the WCC Tournament in Vegas. That conference tournament was the highlight of my career when I got to hold the championship trophy and cut down the net. It was incredible to be able to achieve something so great with a group of teammates and coaches that I love.
“My senior night was amazing as well with all the family members who were able to attend and watch me play my last home game in Spokane,” she said. “My family has always supported me throughout the years, but after I transferred to Gonzaga, it made it tough for them to be able to watch my games in person. The fact that so many were able to make the trip made the night so much more special.”
It seems like just yesterday Karr was the little girl Paola heard about with her Knights of Columbus free-throw shooting. Then she started to develop her game in the Lake Miola Basketball League.
“The past four years have gone so fast, but they have been the greatest years of my life,” Karr said.
Taelor Karr is the daughter of John Karr of Paola and Toni Bradley of Paola.
She is the granddaughter of John and Val Putzier of Paola and Glenn and Jacque Karr of Paola.