Dream becomes reality for Hampton's Stout

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   It has been Kari Stout's dream to play for the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes. Now just a few days before her graduation from Hampton High School, Stout's dream has become a reality.
   "My dream has come true because I have always wanted to play for them," Stout said after she signed a letter of intent on Monday to play for Milligan College. "Now God has given me that right to be able to go there. I thank Him for everything, and He's helped me through it all."
   Stout was an elusive scorer for the Lady Bulldogs, as she averaged 18 points-per-game during the 2001-2002 season. Her performance this past season earned her the Elizabethton Star Player-of-the-Year, and she was also named Upper East Tennessee Player-of-the-Year by one publication.
   Stout definitely has a love for the Milligan campus.
   "I like where it's a Christian liberal arts college," Stout said. "I like the people there, and it's close by where I can still be with my family. And I like the basketball program they have."
   Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey took notice of Stout's scoring ability, and he believes that she can help increase the Lady Buffaloes scoring output next season.
   "We really feel like she is going to help, especially offensively," Aubrey said. "This past season we were a pretty solid defensive team, but we didn't have quite enough options in terms of when we needed a basket.
   "Kari is able to score and create opportunities for teammates. And she's also going to be a very solid defender in our system. We think she's going to help us on both ends."
   Stout continues the Hampton connection for the Lady Buffaloes. Ginny White, Amanda Greene and Miranda Greene all played for the Lady Dogs, and are now shining stars at Milligan.
   "It's been very good to us," Aubrey said about Hampton's program. "This has been a very successful program, and anytime you can get players from successful programs it increases your chance of having success."
   Stout won the respect of her two head high school basketball coaches for her leadership.
   "She's as fine of a kid as you would ever hope to have around," former Hampton head coach Doug Phillips said. She's a good kid."
   Current Hampton head coach Leslie Campbell thought Stout had the respect of her teammates.
   "The girls respected her, and she respected them," Campbell said. "They worked well together. Not only she's a good player, but she's a nice young lady on and off the floor. And actually that's what matters most."
   With high school now almost behind her, Stout is looking forward to the task ahead at Milligan.
   Stout can't wait to play for Aubrey, who has had a ton of success in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
   "He seems like a nice man," Aubrey said. "I think I'm really going to like him. He's going to be a great coach."
   Stout hopes she can have the same success that she did in high school at Milligan.
   Stout will at least give it her best effort.
   "I'm going to try and do my best in all that I can," Stout said. "Just work hard, and see what I can do with God's help."
   Stout will see a familiar face when AAC play starts next fall. Stout's teammate, Kelly Shoun, signed with Virginia Intermont a couple of weeks ago.
   "I just wish Kelly all the luck," Stout said. "I'm glad that she got to go somewhere, and I'm very proud of her. I want her to know that I'm here for her."
   Overall, Stout can smile about her career at Hampton. Stout and the Lady Bulldogs won three district titles, and went to the state tournament twice during her tenure at Hampton.
   "I'm really proud of what our teams have achieved over the past four years," Stout said. "I'm really proud of everyone, and it's not just one person that does it, it's the whole team. So I'm very proud of everybody."