Byron's Kendra Harvey will realize her hoop dreams at the University of North Dakota

Mar. 18—BYRON, Minn. — Kendra Harvey's eight-year dream is going to become a reality.

Harvey, a

Byron junior basketball star,

has since the fourth grade focused on becoming a Division I college player.

On Sunday, Harvey made a commitment to make that happen, the 5-foot-10 dynamic guard verbally agreeing to a full-ride scholarship to Division I program University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

The Fighting Hawks began recruiting Harvey in early May and in June offered her a full-ride scholarship.

What Harvey appreciates most is that UND is offering her an opportunity, one that might kick in as soon as she arrives.

"They believe that I can be a huge aspect of the team as soon as I get there," Harvey said. "They said that I'll get a chance to play right away."

That's never something an athlete can completely count on. But Harvey likes her chances, and judging from her long-standing commitment to the game, she'll have put herself in the best possible position once she gets there.

Harvey is a self-professed gym rat and someone whose quest to improve all aspects of her game never wanes.

The already fourth-year starter for Byron did plenty this season to show her advancements, her improved speed and quickness showing up most. The honorable-mention All-State selection finished this season averaging 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.7 assists per game for 24-5 Byron, which was ranked fifth in Class 3A and lost to Stewartville in the Section 1-3A title game.

Harvey ran the court like never before and showed off explosive drives to the hoop.

Hardly a day goes by that she's not working on some aspect of her game, whether that be in the weight-room or shooting and ball handling in the gymnasium. Harvey never stops.

"Since the seventh grade, I've been in either the gym or the weight room every day," Harvey said. "The only reason I don't end up in the gym is if I can't get in there (because it's locked)."

In joining the Fighting Hawks, she'll be a part of a program that struggled this season, finishing 5-11 in the Summit League and 9-21 overall. They were 11-7, 19-13 the season before that. UND is directed by fourth-year coach Mallory Bernhard.

Harvey likes what she's seen and heard from Bernhard and the rest of her staff.

"What really sold me on UND was its coaching staff and I wanted to go to a school that is not too far away, but not too close, either," Harvey said. "They struggled this season but are going through a process to change things up and have some good recruits coming in."

Byron first-year head coach Ben Pollock knows that the Fighting Hawks are getting someone in Harvey who's "all-in" when it comes to basketball.

"Kendra loves to play," Pollock said. "Right after we lost our (section title game), she was asking if she could go to open gym with the boys. You can't keep her out of the gym."

At UND, Harvey's hope is that the Fighting Hawks can't keep her off of the floor.