Gonzaga suffered a significant loss when Jill Barta left school a year early to pursue her professional career after a fantastic run in Spokane. Though the Zags won’t have anyone who can fill the immediate void left by Barta, there are two highly touted freshman forwards to keep an eye on as the next building blocks of the program, beginning with Melody Kempton.
The 6’1” Kempton, who hails from Post Falls, Idaho, arrives at Gonzaga following a highly decorated preps career that saw her claim a 5A League Player of the Year award during each season of her high school career, while being named as an All-State selection three times. Kempton capped off her senior year by leading Post Falls to the state championship; winning the Idaho Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year Award; earning a McDonald’s All-American nomination; and, finishing as her school’s all time leader in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Just for good measure, she also dominated inside the classroom and was a three-time state champion in the high jump and triple jump.
Based on the laundry list of her accomplishments, it is very evident that Kempton is a well-rounded athlete who should fit in just fine in Lisa Fortier’s program. ESPN rated her as the 85th best prospect in her class, and Fortier has described her as “a prototypical forward for us,” as Kempton can score inside and out, and has the game to fit Gonzaga’s up-tempo style of play while guarding multiple positions on the floor.
In an interview with the Spokesman-Review, Fortier praised Kempton’s motor, which is always the easiest way to endear yourself to a new coaching staff and quickly earn minutes on the floor. If Kempton can quickly adjust to the higher level of play in college, there are minutes and a role to be had for someone with her skillset and athletic ability. She will certainly be an exciting player to watch as she embarks on her NCAA career.