It’s all about effort: Klatt’s tenacious attitude leads to record-setting four years grabbing rebounds for Stevenson

Stevenson senior guard Kendell Williams recalls a time her and classmate/teammate Emory Klatt wandered over to an Evanston-New Trier basketball game.

Only problem: The game was a sellout.

“We had nothing to do in Evanston,” Williams recalled. “We ended up driving around, going to a couple of dessert shops, walking around the beach and the rocks by the beach. We found a way to have fun in an area we weren’t too familiar with, which is what is so fun about Emory. She is always willing to try something new and go on adventures.”

Klatt and her Patriots teammates had plenty of fun and adventures this past season, going 28-4 overall, winning the North Suburban Conference title with a 14-0 record and advancing to a Class 4A sectional title game before losing to eventual state third-place finisher Fremd.

The DePaul-bound Klatt, the captain of the 2024 Daily Herald Lake County All-Area girls basketball team, averaged a double-double (14.6 points and 11.4 rebounds) on her way to being named the NSC player of the year. She leaves Stevenson as the program’s second all-time leading scorer (1,706 points) and finishes as the program’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,321 (surpassing great Tauja Catchings). She ranks 18th all-time in IHSA history for career rebounds.

Over the last two years, the 6-foot-1 Klatt averaged a double-double and had 85 double-doubles during her Lincolnshire residency.

Thus, it’s no coincidence folks want to talk about Klatt’s love of the glass.

“She’s super athletic and probably one of the better offensive rebounders we have played,” Fremd coach Dave Yates said. “If she’s going up, there’s a pretty high chance she’s going right back and scoring it.”

Klatt, an IBCA Class 4A all-state second-team selection, had 164 rebounds and 133 second-chance points this season.

“What makes her elite is her pursuit of the basketball,” first-year Stevenson coach Regan Carmichael said. “I have never seen anything like it. She is fearless when it comes to rebounding, and this season we really worked with her on her inside game. It’s crazy to think she had never really been taught true post moves before this season. Credit to assistant coach Eric Lueder, who really emphasized that this season with Emory.”

Stevenson junior guard Nisha Musunuri said it comes down to physicality and strength with Klatt.

“She’s so dominant on the boards and in the paint overall, making it extremely difficult for anyone playing against her to gain position and keep her from scoring,” she said.

Klatt, who enjoys playing the piano and guitar and likes music in general, has the simple and highly effective attitude of see ball, go for it.

“I always want to go for the ball,” she said. “Rebounding is one of those things you can do if you love it. It gives everybody a second chance at things if they don’t go well the first time. I love giving my teammates second opportunities and giving myself another opportunity and then take away another opportunity from the other team. It starts with want and then you do the little things. You fight through contact to go get it. I think of it like going after a loose ball and sacrificing your body to get that ball.”

Klatt, who turns 18 today, is blown away by breaking Catchings’ rebounding record at Stevenson, calling her “an idol of mine and one of the greatest basketball players to walk.” However, Klatt said there’s more to her time at Stevenson than pure numbers.

“The people,” she said. “Records are records, but the people here are the ones who helped me. The coaches and past teammates made me who I am. They made me enjoy the game and made me want to continue it in college. It was a long four years, but so much fun. We won state (in 2022) which was one of the most fun moments in my life.”

Williams said Klatt excelled for four years at Stevenson because she was “in love with the grind.”

“Emory never once has complained about waking up before school to go get a workout in and then going to practice after school,” said Williams, who also has a fond memory of making macaroni and cheese from scratch with Klatt during a Stevenson Black Student Union-Stevenson Cooking Club mac-n-cheese competition. “She is willing to do anything necessary to put the work in, which I believe is what separates her from others and makes her elite.”

Carmichael said DePaul is getting a gem next season.

“Emory has committed to adding so many more aspects to her game and she hasn’t even scratched the surface,” she said. “She is so explosive and strong, yet so agile, too. It makes her tremendously difficult to guard. Her physicality will match up well in the Big East and she is playing for a legendary coach (Doug Bruno) with a great coaching staff. I live in the city and will be at every game possible.”

Williams said the rebounding theme will pay off for Klatt at the next level.

“Her desire to rebound will truly separate her from others in college and allow her to become a star,” she said. “Some people want to be flashy and get all the spotlight, but Emory is willing to put in the dirty work which you don’t find in everyone. Emory’s potential has no ceiling.”

Musunuri added: “One of the largest aspects people mention about the jump from high school to college is the physicality required at the college level, but Emory already has that advantage, so she’ll be even more prepared and be able to compete with college girls right off the bat. She has a lot of potential.”

  Stevenson’s Emory Klatt is the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area captain. John Starks/
  Stevenson’s Emory Klatt is the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area captain. John Starks/
  Stevenson’s Emory Klatt is the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area captain. John Starks/
  Stevenson’s Emory Klatt shoots as she is fouled by Warren’s Nari Powers during Friday’s game in Lincolnshire. Joe Lewnard/
  Stevenson’s Emory Klatt gets a rebound last year against St. Viator. Klatt recently became the second Stevenson player ever to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. John Starks/
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