Dream Come True
Katstra walks into UVA hoops scholarship
March 5, 2019
Austin Katstra, former Albemarle High School basketball star, has made a big splash into the pool of college basketball.
Katstra (‘17), who is currently a second year, debated between attending a D2 or D3 school with more playing time verses coming to the University of Virginia as a walk-on.
“I chose to go to UVA for three reasons; one being the education… that was definitely a big factor in that,” Katstra said. “The coaching staff is just incredible, I have the best coaches in the country. The way they treat everyone the same, no matter what, really speaks to how they interact with us. Lastly, I grew up in Charlottesville and I’ve always wanted to play for UVA, so being able to fulfill that dream is just another reason.”
The 6’6” Katstra played for only 19 minutes over 10 games his first season, a far cry from his Patriot days where he was a four-year starter.
“The biggest difference is just the physicality… I went from playing against pretty much no one that was taller than me to playing against most people taller than me,” Katstra said.
Despite limited time on the hardwood, Katstra felt positive about his first year on the team.
“It’s a blessing being able to play basketball at this high of a level and, at prestigious institution like UVA, is just a blessing in itself and being able to play with these guys is just something I wouldn’t trade.”
All of Katstra’s hard work and team dedication paid off on Jan. 16 when he received a scholarship from head coach Tony Bennett.
In a video posted to the team’s Twitter account, Bennett surprised Katstra with news of the scholarship after completing a free throw during practice. Immediately, the team surrounded Katstra with hugs of appreciation and congratulations.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Katstra said. “I was kind of shocked for probably a whole day… I was extremely thankful for the whole coaching staff for doing that for me.”
Basketball has taught Katstra other things than perfect form when shooting including, “Time management is probably the biggest thing.”
Both Albemarles Coach Greg Maynard, or UVAs Coach Tony Bennett, have had great experience with Katstra and his dedication towards basketball.
“One of the best players I’ve ever coached, very intense, really payed attention to detail, wanted to be very good, and worked hard,” said Coach Maynard.
“Austin done a great job representing our University, Charlottesville and certainly Albemarle High School,” said Coach Bennett.
Coach Maynard adds his favorite memory with Katstra was, “When he had a buzzer beater dunk to beat Varina in the Virginia Preps Classic.”
Albemarle has not only taught Katstra basketball, but has taught them things he has carried over into college.
“If you surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed, for me on the court, or in the classroom or just in general then that’s going to help you in such a positive way… Coach Maynard, the guys on my team, Mr. Lindsay, Coach S., and Ms. Tyson, just to name a few, they all wanted the best for me, no matter what that was.They weren’t going to jeopardize what I wanted to do, they were always looking out for me. Being able to surround yourself with those people is something I carried over into college to make sure to always surround myself with people who also want to see me succeed,” Katstra said.
Once a Patriot Always a Patriot lives inside Katstra.
“It’s the ability to always be able to come back and feel like you’re at home and able to reach out to people at Albemarle if you need help anything or just to reach out to talk and people at albemarle are always there for you and are always rooting for you. They’ve always got your back no matter what.