When playing a game for a living there are many routes that your path can take. For Kaitlyn Mileto it just so happens that her career and love for the game of basketball has taken her down under. Mileto stars for the Southern Peninsula Sharks. They play in Australia’s State Championship Women’s Division of the BigV League.
Height – 5’10”
Position – Guard
Pro Experience – 2nd year
Team – Southern Peninsula Sharks (4th in 2016)
College – University of Wyoming
High School – Mesa Ridge High School – Colorado Springs, CO
Kaitlyn Mileto was a four-time first team All-Conference player while in high school. She was also a three-time All-State selection. As a senior, she averaged 25.5 points per game. She set the all-time scoring record in school history with 1,332 points and as the first player to reach the 1,000 point mark. She finished her high school career with 2,042 points. She would sign to play Division One College Basketball with the University of Wyoming.
While at Wyoming, Mileto would be a star all four years. As a true freshman, she played in all 29 games for the Cowgirls. She finished her freshman season averaging 9.1 points and 2.3 three rebounds per game. She shot 34% from the field, 32% from 3-pt range and in MW Conference play she averaged 8.2 points, shot 35% from the field, 38% from 3-pt range and 2 rebounds per game.
As a sophomore Mileto would be A Third Team All-Mountain West Selection for the first time in her career. She would start all 32 games and lead the team with 33 minutes played per game. She would finish the season as 3rd on the team in scoring with 12 pts per game. She would have 21 double-figure games on the season.
As a junior Kaitlyn Mileto would start all 31 games and average 35 minutes per game. She finished 3rd on the team in scoring with 14 points per game. She recorded a career-high game with 30 pts against Utah State. She also finished the season with 20 double figure games.
As a senior Mileto had 12 pts and 2 rebounds per game. She had 40 assists on the season. She moved into first place all-time in three-point FGs made with 282 and attempts with 743. She also finished her college career ranked 7th in games played with 122, 8th in FG Attempts with 1,312, 12th in FGs made with 489 and 13th in scoring with 1,424 points.
Kaitlyn Mileto would sign a contract to play professional basketball in Australia after her senior season. I recently had the opportunity to interview Kaitlyn. You can read that interview below.
SN – 2016 was your rookie season. What was your experience as a rookie?
KM – Going into my rookie season was very nerve racking because I did not know what to expect. When I received the opportunity to play in Australia, I was very excited because it was somewhere I have always wanted to travel. When I arrived in Australia for the first time, I was not sure what to expect of the type of play as far as the speed of the game and whether there was a lot of strategy that goes into each game. As the season progressed, and I learned the style of the game was getting up and down the floor very quickly and was incredibly different from the way college basketball is played. The tempo of the game is very quick. Throughout my rookie season, I averaged roughly 17.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 steals per game and 2.1 assists per game. I lead the league in three-pointers made with 95 and I was in the top 10 for three point percentage with 39.5%.
SN – What do you attribute to your success?
KM – Throughout my basketball career, which started in the 2nd grade, I learned that getting better came from the workouts I did outside of practices and games. I sacrificed a lot of time outside of team practices to work on my individual skills. I skipped many birthday parties and gatherings with my friends to get in the gym or have another opportunity to play in more games. My parents always took the time out of their busy schedules to get me to the gym for extra individual workouts. My dad worked really hard to find the best techniques for my shot and then put me through workouts to apply those techniques. There were times that I had to beg my parents to take me to the gym but in the end, they always did. They provided me with all of the resources they could to make me into the basketball player I am today.
SN – Would you ever consider coming back to play in the WNBA?
KM – If I ever was given the opportunity to come back to the US and play in the WNBA, I would jump at the chance. Playing with all of the greats who still play the game would be an honor!
SN – Can you explain to our readers the differences between American and Australian basketball?
KM – Throughout college, we would game plan and use a lot of film to strategize for each game. In Australia, there is some strategizing, but for the most part, it is about who can get up and down the court faster. The shot clock is different here as well. The shot clock starts at 24 seconds but on an offensive rebound, it resets to 14 seconds, whereas in the US it is 30 seconds and resets to a full 30 seconds on an offensive rebound. The three point line is another foot back from the college three point line and the key is wider by a foot on each side. Other than those few differences, the game remains the same and is still amazing!
SN – Looking into the future, what are your post-career aspirations?
KM – After I am finished playing basketball, I plan to finish my teaching degree. After that is finished, I would like to become a graduate assistant at a college somewhere in the US. I would love to coach as long as possible and then get into teaching elementary students from kindergarten through second grade.
SN – What do you think you can do to make 2017 a better season?
KM – Coming into my second season in Australia, I feel a lot more prepared because I know what to expect. I know the style of game so I have had a very hard preseason of running and lifting to get myself in good shape. I plan to continue running extra throughout the week along with training so I can keep my cardio at a high level. I also know I can improve my ball handling so I plan to work on that every day. After this season, I would love to travel to another team somewhere else in the world so I know I need to have a major season this season.
I would like to thank Kaitlyn Mileto for the opportunity to interview her. Good luck on the 2017 season.
If you would like to follow and learn more about the Southern Peninsula Sharks please click here http://websites.sportstg.com/team_info.cgi?id=25048657&client=1-913-15131-400894-0&compID=400894
**Photos Courtesy of Kaitlyn Mileto**