Kathleen Doyle has been flying in rare air among basketball players for a while now.
The La Grange Park resident led Benet to its first two state championships in 2015 and 2016 and was named Illinois Ms. Basketball as a senior.
Last winter she started 29 games at point guard for Iowa and was a Big Ten All-Freshman team selection after leading the Hawkeyes in assists (4.4 per game) and steals (2.1) while averaging 9.2 points.
As big as those previous accolades were, Doyle literally reached new heights in late May when she was one of 32 players invited to the U-19 United States national team trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The four day camp, which featured some of the best players from around the country, featured six sessions of grueling practices and scrimmages.
“It was a very competitive atmosphere,” Doyle said. “It was an honor to be selected.
“Just being around all those great players really helped me bring out the best in my game.”
The players were put through single training sessions on the first and last day of the camp, with two-a-day sessions on the other days.
“It was exhausting but an amazing experience,” Doyle said. “The talent level was ridiculous. Everyone there was a tremendous player.”
Doyle was not among the 12 players selected to compete for the U.S. at the 2017 FIBA U-19 World Championships, which will be held July 22-30 in Italy. But she received encouragement from the coaching staff and hopes to be invited to future national team camps.
“I plan on getting more [feedback] in the future, but one of the ladies that ran the camp came up to me and told me the coaches were really proud of the effort and energy I provided,” Doyle said. “She wanted to make sure I was holding my head high because it is really disappointing for those who didn’t get picked.
“I was really appreciative of the opportunity. I went out there and got better.”
After the camp, Doyle returned home and spent two weeks resting her body before returning to Iowa for training and summer school classes. She is double majoring in communications and Spanish with the goal of becoming a college coach or broadcaster.
In the meantime, she has plans to help elevate the Hawkeyes to the ranks of the elite. They went 20-14 last season and advanced to the Women's NIT quarterfinals.
“Next winter, hopefully we’ll win the Big Ten title,” Doyle said.