Central's Costner earns invite to Adidas camp

Elkhart Central's Katelyn Costner (20), here driving to the basket againt Plymouth in the Class 4A Northridge Sectional championship game last winter, will be attending a prestegious Adidas Gauntlet All-American Camp in Los Angeles later this month.

ELKHART — The schedule doesn't change much for Elkhart Central girls basketball Kaitlyn Costner. 

Rest can wait. 

During the high school basketball season and in the offseason, Costner spends most of her time with a basketball in her hands.

"I don't really take time off," said Costner, who will be a junior this coming fall. "Sometimes, my body needs time off. But usually I'm going at it every day."

Her dedication to basketball has been noticed by her high school coach – Will Coatie. 

"She continues to keep working hard every day," said Coatie. "Her hard work shows out on the floor. She keeps getting better."

As she keeps getting better, more opportunities arise for Costner to showcase her basketball skills.

From June 23rd to June 25th, Costner will be participating at the Adidas Gauntlet All-American Camp in Los Angeles. Around 50 girls from around the country will be at the camp.

It's the first time that Costner will be traveling to Los Angeles.

A group of girls from that camp will be selected to go to Italy next year and represent Adidas for the United States.

"I'm looking at it as a place for me to get out there and have people see how I play," Costner said about going to the camp. "I'll get the chance to meet new people and they can tell me what I need to work on." 

Playing locally the last three years for the MBA (Michiana Basketball Academy) Select team, which is part of Adidas Gauntlet Travel Circuit, helped Costner earned a spot on the team going to Los Angeles. 

"Internal Adidas scouts watch all the games and invited girls for the camp in Los Angeles," said MBA Select coach Rod Creech. 

"We have four high school girls teams on our team. Adidas platinum and gold are the best teams in the country. Silver is the next tier and we have three silver teams. We have one Adidas gold team that Kaitlyn is on. It's a really good team."

Costner's confidence began to grow last year during the high school basketball season. She averaged 16 points, 2.9 steals and 2.1 assists a game. Costner shot 60-percent from the field, including 40-percent from beyond the arc. 

Costner went from scoring 84 points as a freshman to scoring 387 as a sophomore. 

"What happened last year during the basketball season showed me a lot," Costner said. "It showed that I can step-up when I need to and be able to play with girls at the high school level."

Costner's play helped the Blue Blazers finish 18-7 last season. In the Class 4A sectional championship game, Central lost a heartbreaker to Plymouth, 54-53. The Pilgrims won on a 3-pointer with less than a second to play.

"Her hard work shows out on the floor," Coatie said about Costner. "Her strength and conditioning has really improved.

"She's just a great leader."

Costner's journey to become special as a basketball player began in the sixth grade at Oslo Elementry School in Elkhart.

"It kept me focused and out of trouble," Costner said.

Her focus has gained in strength through the years.

"She has a desire to want to be really good," Creech said. "She has a tireless work ethic. We took guardianship of her in January and she lives in our home. She would come home from high school and put up 500 shots. Then she would get her homework done. I've never seen a drive like that. Someone who was close was (former South Bend St. Joseph and University of Tennessee basketball player) Sydney Smallbone." 

Costner's play has drawn the attention of colleges. 

The list of schools interested in Costner grows daily.

According to Coatie, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Loyola of Chicago, Southern Illinois, Central Michigan, Indiana State, Bowling Green and DePaul are among the schools that have reached out to the Blue Blazers basketball standout.

"It's great for her and it's great for our program," Coatie said about the heavy interest in Costner. 

"I want to play at a Division I school," Costner said. "I'm open-minded to all the schools."

Before that big jump, Costner wants to get better with her game and other aspects related to basketball.

"I need to improve my jump shot and my left hand dribbling," the 5-foot-6 guard said. "I also need to be more of a vocal leader on the court and be able to take corrective criticism the right way. I want to help make my (high school) teammates better. I think we can go far this year (in the state tournament). I want to show people that girls basketball is important and that we have good players."

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