Naming an accolade Kaitlyn Read has not claimed during her time at NYU is a difficult task.
Her legacy as a member of the women’s basketball program includes an exhaustive list of conference honors, broken records and academic recognition. From being named a Freshman Athlete of the Year in 2014 to obtaining her bachelor’s degree with honors, Read’s tenure is defined by athletic and academic excellence.
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Lauren Hall-Gregory said that Read will go down as one of the most decorated individuals to ever play at the school.
“Her stats are unreal — she has a fantastic basketball skill set and IQ which, of course, all has incredible positive impacts on the program,” Hall-Gregory said. “Since the moment she stepped on the court for her first practice and every day since — she has raised the level of confidence, focus and competitiveness in this program.”
As a graduate student in Global Affairs, Read is playing out her final year of eligibility after redshirting last year due to a season ending injury that occured only eight games into her senior campaign.
However, the time spent away from competition only further fueled the two-time captain’s recovery process.
“I approached this season just as I have all my others, with a fierce passion to win, but I feel like there was more of a degree of urgency since being injured,” Read said. “I knew what it was like to sit helpless and wish I could do anything to help my team, to lace up my shoes and play, so this year knowing that made me, above all, not take anything for granted. Every early practice, long bus ride, missed weekend — none of those really bothered me this year.”
With the season coming to an end, there is no doubt about the success of her recovery. Over the course of 23 games, Read has dominated both sides of the court, averaging 20.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game, while boasting a 0.427 field goal percentage and shooting 0.726 from the free throw line.
Regardless of the numbers and acclaim that will be etched into the record books, the biggest takeaway from Read’s time with the basketball program is the network of friends and mentors that remained with her even after her time on the court.
“I feel a sense of accomplishment that I came and did what I had dreamt about doing when I committed,” Read stated. “I played my heart out and did everything I could to enjoy my time as an NYU athlete. Above that, though, I reflect and think about how I never imagined how tight-knit the team would be. All five teams I’ve been a part of at NYU have introduced me to some of the most amazing women and I wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything.”
Read’s ability to connect with her teammates on a personal level has further strengthened her leadership skills and hence augmented the team dynamic.
“In the last two years, she has grown from a good leader to a great leader,” Hall-Gregory said. “She expects excellence from herself and from her teammates. Over the last two years she has really worked on her relationship building and communication skills to get the most out of all her teammates.”
Of the many meaningful, lifelong relationships Read has formed with her teammates, coaches and affiliates of the program, one that stands out is that of her younger sister and teammate CAS sophomore Mikaela Read.
“I think playing with my sister at the collegiate level has been an unforgettable experience, and I’ll be extremely sad when she finishes the season, for her and for me,” Mikaela said. “She’s my best friend and it’s really awesome to be with someone who you’re close with when you have so much to do with basketball. It’s great to have someone who understands what you’re going through while also having fun with them. Playing basketball with my sister has just allowed for us to become closer than we already were.”
Playing together has not only strengthened the pair’s bond on and off the court. It has also elevated their performance on the court. Kaitlyn said that Mikaela is one of her biggest influences during practices and games.
“She continuously motivates me to be better and always gives it to me straight during games if my shot selection is bad, if there are better scoring opportunities I should be looking at,” Mikaela Read said. “Also, going through an injury with her on the team was a godsend; she knows just what to say or not say, to get my spirits up, to put things in perspective.”
The sisters will share the court one last time together as Violets on Feb. 24 as the team will finish its regular season on the road against Brandeis University.
Regardless of the game’s outcome, the legacy of Read’s storied career as player, teammate, captain, sister and friend will be officially cemented at NYU.
Following season’s end, Read has one more year of school left before completing a master’s degree in global affairs. She hopes to stay in New York post-graduation.
A version of this article was published in the Tuesday, Feb. 20 print edition. Email Warner Radliff at [email protected]