Manteca, Calif., High School post player Loretta Kakala will join the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team in the fall. The 6-foot-3 highly coveted prospect finished her senior season at Manteca averaging 15.6 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots a game.
Kakala is ranked as the No. 2 best post player and No. 25 best overall player in the 2017 class, according to the ESPNW HoopzGurlz rankings.
Kakala scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in her final game for Manteca. She will participate in the McDonald’s All American game in Chicago on March 29th against future Louisville teammate Dana Evans from Gary, Indiana.
Kakala, who recently celebrated her 18th birthday, is the first McDonald’s All American in Manteca history. The five-star recruit chose Louisville over Arizona, San Diego State, California, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Utah, Washington, and Kansas.
Here's a Q&A with Kakala:
Cardinal Authority: What did you know about Louisville before being recruited by U of L, and what makes you most excited about coming to Louisville?
Kakala: “Before being recruited, I knew that Louisville was a high level basketball team. I'm most excited about getting to know my teammates better and adjusting to the college life both on and off the court.”
CA:ESPN’s Geoff Olson has described you as “an elite post with a presence on both ends of the floor.” How would you describe your game and what you will bring to the University of Louisville?
Kakala: “My game is most dominant down at block because of my footwork, and I can also do some damage at the midrange area.”
CA: What are you most looking forward to with the McDonalds All American game? And what was it like finding out that you were named an All American?
Kakala: “At the All American game I am looking forward to the high-level competition and seeing friends from the USA trials. When I found out that I made the team I was so excited and felt super humbled.”
CA: Have you talked with future teammate Dana Evans who will also be in the All American game?
Kakala: “I have talked to her. We are both excited to finally meet each other in person. We talk weekly, so we have already built a relationship”
CA: She will be playing for the East and you will be playing for the West, so how do you feel about playing against her?
Kakala: “She is playing for the East, but I feel like I will still silently cheer for her. We do play different positions so it won't be too bad having to face her.”
CA: Have you talked to coach Jeff Walz about what he thinks you need to work on coming into your freshman year?
Kakala: “I have talked to Coach Walz and he wants me to take more shots and work more on being comfortable with handling the ball. He wants me to work hard so I can come in and be ready to compete if I get the chance to do so.”
CA: What do you think the biggest adjustment from high school basketball to college basketball will be?
Kakala: “The biggest adjustment for me would probably be the school work and just the level of play because its a huge jump especially coming from a small town.”
CA: What are you hoping to achieve at Louisville on the court? What about off the Court?
Kakala: “I am hoping to just build my game both mentally and physically and I know I chose the perfect school to help me. Off the court, I just want to grow to be an independent person and learn more about myself.”
CA: Have you decided what you want to study at Louisville?
Kakala: “I'm not quite sure what I want to do yet as far as majors, but I am interested in the medicine aspect of sports.”
CA: What was it that set Louisville apart from the other schools that recruited you (some much closer to home)?
Kakala: “Louisville set itself apart from other schools because I felt more at home in their presence than any other school. The coaches are such amazing people and I know they genuinely care and want the best for me. Also, they are very blunt and don't sugar coat anything.”
CA: How hard of an adjustment will it be for you to move so far away from home?
Kakala: “It’s going to be a huge adjustment being far for long periods of time because I am so close to my family, but like I said, Louisville for me is home away from home. I think that traveling in the summer helped introduce me to that type of lifestyle.”
CA: How do you think your your parents and siblings will adjust?
Kakala: “My family will miss me (I hope!!). At first they were surprised that I even found interest in a school so far away because we've always talked about PAC-12 schools. Then out of the blue I told them I loved Louisville and they didn't know how to respond.”
CA: Do you have a nickname?
Kakala: “My nickname is Retta K”
CA:Is there anything else you want the Louisville fans to know about you?
Kakala: “I want the Louisville coaches to know that I'm super excited to be there and I can't wait to make them proud.”