Destrehan guard Cara Ursin joined some exclusive company Thursday, becoming just the fourth girls basketball player to be named Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year in back-to-back years.
And as Ursin is quick to point out, the honor feels just as special the second time around.
“It’s one of those feelings that you can’t explain when it happens,” Ursin said. “I have to give a lot of credit to all the people around me supporting me.”
She’s just a junior, so she could possibly win the honor again next season and become the state’s first three-time winner.
“That would just be beyond many blessings,” Ursin said about a possible Gatorade three-peat.
She joins Theresa Plaisance (Vandebilt Catholic), Whitney Jones (West Monroe) and Seimone Augustus (Capitol) as the state’s two-time winners. She also continues what has been a New Orleans-area reign for the award.
It’s the fifth straight year a local player has won it. Her repeat follows Salmen’s Kalani Brown, McDonogh 35’s Kaitlyn Pratt and Kuaneshia Baker of Helen Cox.
“What a huge statement this is for her,” Destrehan coach Angi Butler said. “It’s her dedication to the sport that has paid off. It’s her ability and passion for the game that stands above and beyond.”
Ursin, a 5-foot-7 guard, averaged 25 points, 12.9 rebounds, 7.3 steals, 6.0 assists and 5.5 blocks in leading the Wildcats (25-3) to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. She was named District 7-5A MVP for a third straight season after recording 19 double-doubles, four triple-doubles and one quadruple-double.
The quadruple double was a 24 points, 12 assists, 12 steals and 10 rebounds outing in a victory over St. Katherine Drexel Prep.
“The thing that makes Cara so dangerous is her explosiveness and her unselfishness,” Terrebonne High coach Gus Brown said. “She can take over a game when needed. She is the Wildcats’ everything.”
Butler said Ursin continues to make strides on the court.
“When you look at her stats from last year to this year, everything has gone up,” Butler said. “So she’s still making progress, and that’s what she has to do. We want to continue seeing growth. She averaged one turnover again, but we want to get it to where she doesn’t have any, to where she’s almost flawless Nobody’s perfect because the game isn’t perfect. But we want to get her as close as we can.”
In the classroom, she’s been perfect, posting numbers that are even more impressive than what she’s done on the court.
Gatorade recognizes both, as well as community involvement.
Ursin is a straight A student. The last time she made a B was in the eighth-grade.
“It was an algebra class,” she recalled.
She admits it’s not always easy balancing basketball and her books.
“It’s really hard, and it’s been a challenge,” Ursin said. “I make a schedule for myself, but it’s not as easy as it seems. I’ve been doing it for so long, making As since elementary so I want to just continue doing it.”
And now she has something else to try to make time for: college recruiters. She has offers from some of the top basketball programs in the country, including Baylor and South Carolina.
“It feels crazy to have coaches texting me and checking on me every day,” Ursin said. “It’s fun, though. I try to let my coach and my mom handle that.”
Ursin said she will decide on what college she will attend sometime during her senior year. She admitted she would gladly give up a third Gatorade for a state championship.
She helped Destrehan reach the title game as a freshman. The Wildcats lost in the semifinals her sophomore year.
“It’s not even close,” Ursin said when asked if she preferred a third Gatorade award or a state championship. “It just has to be done.
“I’ve gotten the individual awards. Now we deserve a ring.”