Mondovi's Anna Cole Picks Kentucky

Mondovi senior center Anna Cole made her February verbal commitment official, signing her letter of intent to play at the University of Kentucky.

Storied programs such as UCLA and Old Dominion showed interest. Anna Cole could have chosen from a host of suitors that included Wisconsin, Indiana, Penn State, North Dakota State or Kent State.

The Mondovi High School standout visited the Badgers and another Big Ten foe, Iowa, narrowing her choices to the Hawkeyes, UW-Green Bay and Kentucky.

The 6-foot-6-inch senior center selected the Wildcats, giving a verbal commitment in February and signing her letter of intent Nov. 12.

Cole said one overriding factor swayed her decision to head to the Bluegrass State.

"I had been to Iowa and Kentucky and went back to both, but in the end the idea of playing in the Southeastern Conference was too great of an opportunity to pass up and one I had to take advantage of."

Kentucky is currently under second-year coach Matt Mitchell, who led the team to a 17-16 overall record, fourth-place finish in the SEC (8-6) and a spot in the WNIT, where they lost to eventual champion Marquette in the third round.

Cole isn't sure what she will study and knows that even though the hectic recruiting process is over, there's plenty of work to be done.

"Playing AAU ball with Team Wisconsin allowed me to play against bigger, faster, stronger competition and against a lot of different experience levels," she said. "I really need to continue working on boxing out and becoming quicker to the basket. I need to be able to guard people inside and outside. And even though I've improved my running and conditioning, I need to get even better."

Mondovi coach Shauna Brion led the Buffaloes to an 18-0 mark in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and a 21-2 overall record in her first season at the helm, losing to Osseo-Fairchild in the regional final. Brion has watched Cole come up through the youth ranks and is confident that the all-conference performer can succeed as a collegian.

"She's really worked hard and improved her footwork, coordination and fundamentals," Brion said. "She understands how to make her moves and get to the hoop much better, it's just a matter of consistently finishing. Anna's a good rebounder and shot blocker, and she's got pretty decent court awareness. Anna is kinda quiet off the court, although I'm sure she's chatty with friends, but her personality changes when she gets on the floor."

Cole made the second-team all-league team as a sophomore and averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 boards and 4.3 blocked shots a year ago. However, she's even more excited about this season.

"I've improved the most at being stronger in the post and more fluid in my moves," Cole said. "I know I'll be playing in the post at Kentucky, so I need to work on getting stronger because high school is nothing like college. And I have to keep concentrating on the fundamentals. It feels great to have the signing out of the way. I feel we can do well, so I want to focus on team goals."

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