It takes a village to raise a child.
That village was front and center Wednesday at Manteca High’s Winter Gym, as Loretta Kakala signed her National Letter of Intent to play major college basketball for the University of Louisville Cardinals.
“She’s going to a top-notched program,” said Manteca athletic director/vice principal Bill Slikker. “Something like this doesn’t happen here very often.”
Kakala’s signing on to Louisville might be the biggest one to date in MHS history, he noted. ESPN rated the Cardinals’ recruiting class as No. 1 in the country.
At 6-foot-3, she’s projected to play a ‘stretch-four’ forward or the ‘three’ spot.
Kakala, who was sought by several major colleges, did a recruiting visit to Louisville last spring, and also immediately found comfort in new surroundings.
At an early age, she found the hardwood to her liking.
“She was 5-7 back then and towered over everyone,” said her travel team coach Que Ngo, who coached plenty of Division I college players, including Manteca product Chelsea Gray of the WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks and former Manteca standout Courtney Range.
He had Kakala for five years.
Jim Agostini, who is the longtime coach at East Union, had Kakala as a freshman.
He along with Ngo were on hand for Kakala’s signing event as well as her junior high principal Dale Borgeson at McParland Elementary School and her new Manteca head coach Ryan Bono.
Kakala played varsity for the Lancers under Agostini, earning all-Valley Oak League honors as a ninth grader.
She moved over to Manteca, playing for the Buffaloes program under Mary Ann Tolbert for her sophomore and junior years.
Kakala also shares her special occasion with friends, teammates and family, including her folks and siblings.
Most in attendance played major roles in her life. Kakala made sure to acknowledge each and every one.