Sitting beside the one person who’s been at her side from the start, Kenesha Saygo confirmed her commitment to staying close for the next four years.
The only daughter to a single mother, the Ellison senior point guard picked her future college landing spot based on one simple criterion — it couldn’t be more than a 3-hour drive away from her mother, Sarita Saygo.
“She’s my best friend — she’s everything to me. She’s my mom, my dad, my grandma, my enemy sometimes,” Kenesha Saygo said. “We’re very, very close and I love her.”
With her mother at her side once again, Saygo signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Texas Woman’s University during a ceremony Wednesday, the first day of early signing period for senior basketball players. TWU is located in Denton, fitting well within her 3-hour drive proximity.
“I want to be able to come back and visit everybody from Ellison, come to the games, see my mom, I think I made the right choice,” Saygo said.
Saygo, who emerged last season as one of the first off the bench for the Lady Eagles, has come into her own as Ellison’s starting point guard and top scoring option, even drawing high praise from longtime Lady Eagles coach Sherry McKinnon.
“She wants to lead a legacy here,” McKinnon said. “Her heart is always going to be for this team first and she’s going to get her’s because she’s unstoppable.”
A competitor with a high-speed motor when she first got to Ellison, it took Saygo a few years to settle into her role and become the player many thought she was capable of being.
“I kept telling her it takes time to get where you want to be,” said her mother, Sarita, who played college basketball at a private school in Nebraska. “And the last couple of years she really worked hard at it, and I always said, ‘Kenesha, you need to take your time.’ ... But she’d always go to the gym, ... and that’s her — I can’t stop her.”
Added McKinnon: “The one thing that concerned me in the past was she had one speed and that was to go fast, and sometimes you have to slow it down, and that’s what I see in her now. She can read the defense and she plays within the game.”
This season, Saygo is already averaging 11 points, nearly four assists and three rebounds per game in helping the Lady Eagles to a 6-1 start, including 16 points and five steals in Tuesday’s 52-36 upset of 4A No. 3 Georgetown.
“It’s time for me to carry this team too, so whatever I have to do, (be it) yell, hoop and holler, I’m going to do that,” Saygo said.
After splashing on the AAU scene this summer, Saygo’s college decision made what was a trying period in her life simple.
“The recruiting process was so hectic and stressful, everybody was like, ‘You should go here, you should go here,’ and I was like, ‘I want something close to home,’” Saygo said. “And when I went to TWU, it felt like home, and it was real close to my mom and I didn’t want to leave her.”