North Allegheny’s Kellie McConnell follows familiar path, commits to Duquesne basketball

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Friday, July 7, 2023 | 9:57 PM


Kellie McConnell’s family is already linked with Duquesne basketball’s past and present, so she decided to help shape the program’s future as well.

The rising senior point guard at North Allegheny has committed to the Dukes, which is somewhat of a family tradition.

Her mother Sherri (Hannan) McConnell played basketball at Duquesne in the 1990s and cousin Megan McConnell is the team’s point guard nowadays. Another cousin, T.J. McConnell, played two seasons for the men’s team.

“Whenever I was there, it just felt like home,” said Kellie McConnell, who announced her commitment Thursday on social media.

She told Duquesne coach Dan Burt about her decision a week earlier while visiting the campus.

“We were in Coach Burt’s office and he said, ‘I want you to be a Duquesne Duke.’ My response was, ‘I want to be a Duquesne Duke as well,’” McConnell said. “He was super excited. He gave me and both of my parents a hug. It was great.”

The college commitment is the latest milestone in McConnell’s comeback since missing her sophomore season with a torn ACL. After surgery and rehab, the 5-foot-5 point guard returned as a junior and helped North Allegheny win a WPIAL Class 6A title last winter.

She earned second-team all-section honors.

“Getting back was definitely hard, but it was a challenge I was going to accomplish,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work to get back. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

It wasn’t until July of last summer that doctors fully cleared her to return to the basketball court. She has spent time traveling this summer to play AAU basketball, including tournaments this month in Indianapolis and Louisville.

“My knee is great,” she said. “I haven’t had any issues or anything, which I’m super thankful for.”

Her mother, Sherri, who was a four-year starter at Duquesne from 1995-99, holds a couple of spots in the team’s record book. She ranks ninth all-time in career steals (205) and 10th in assists (392).

McConnell said her mom was happy about her decision, especially since the school is close to home.

“She had a great experience (at Duquesne),” McConnell said. “She studied elementary education there, which is what I want to do as well.”

The Dukes went 19-12 last season and reached the Atlantic 10 second round. Burt and his staff have recruited Western Pennsylvania well in recent years. Seven players on last season’s roster had WPIAL roots.

McConnell said the knee injury likely complicated her recruiting process, but added that she’s happy and relieved to have that college question answered.

“Duquesne is a place I have looked at for a while now,” she said. “Whenever I got the offer and got on campus and saw everything, I just knew that was where I wanted to go.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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