When you hear Bradley senior guard Shunseere Kent speak, it’s impossible to miss the confidence in her voice.
That same confidence was apparent in her first season as a Brave, as Kent started the first 20 games and finished third on the team in scoring with 8.6 points per game.
“I actually did [think I’d have success from the start], I always worked hard so I felt like it was time to put the pieces together,” Kent said.
Hard work is what brought Kent to Bradley as a junior college transfer from East Georgia State in 2017. Kent has never been the biggest player on the floor. At 5-foot-7-inches, she relies on her quick first step and speed to get past defenders and create shots for herself.
“I think she felt she got pushed around a little bit last year and she really spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer,” head coach Andrea Gorski said. “You can just tell on the court she’s a lot sturdier. She’ll play a lot of minutes for us, so it’s important that she is able to handle it.”
Kent hopes that the added strength in her upper body and base will help her finish through more contact in the lane this season.
“I was really skinny, no type of muscles last year,” Kent said. “I’ve gained at least 10-15 more pounds and I weigh about 145 now. I’ll be able to stay up and not fall when I go and attack. [I’ll] be able to finish stronger.”
Gorski praised Kent for being one of the team’s most dynamic players, citing her “deadly” pull-up jumper, consistent three-point shot and ability to put pressure on opposing ball handlers for the length of the court.
“Overall she’s just a really well rounded player,” Gorski said. “[She’s] very competitive. [As] a senior her job is not only to carry us in terms of we want her to score, we want her to be one of our better on-ball defenders, also as a senior you want to make sure you are focusing on making your teammates better.”
Adjusting to the Division I level has been more than just a physical transformation for Kent. It’s also been about becoming more comfortable in a leadership role on the team and helping the younger players around her fulfill their potential.
“Last year I was terrible at leadership, but it’s coming easier now considering I’m a senior and just knowing I have a good team that has a chance of winning,” Kent said. “I’ve been way more vocal, leading by example and just making sure I do every drill hard.”
After her final season at Bradley expires, Kent aspires to play overseas and knows that scouts pay the most attention to winning teams.
“If I’m scoring more and my team actually isn’t winning, it doesn’t matter because I’m not going to get any looks,” Kent said. “I’ve just got to think team-based and just keep going as a team together.”
As a transfer, Kent has been put in the unique situation of having her last season at Bradley come immediately after her first, but she possesses the drive to make this final season count.
“I’m definitely going out with a bang,” Kent said. “I expect to go even harder this year.”
Her confidence never wavers.