K.C. Waters isn't the tallest post player around, but her skill, strength and aggression around the basket makes that pretty easy to forget.
The Bishop O'Dowd High junior, who stands just over 6-foot-1, consistently set the tone on both ends of the floor and delivered in big games for the Dragons girls basketball team, which won the first California Interscholastic Federation state championship in program history.
Waters' season statistics were solid for a team loaded with Division I college prospects. She led O'Dowd in scoring (14 points), rebounding (12) and secured a double-double in just about every key game.
That, combined with her defense and strong leadership, has earned Waters East Bay Player
"I had to step in and be the big sister, the punisher and the nice one all in one," Waters said. "Every gap that we had, I tried to help fill."
Waters has been a starter since the very beginning of her Bishop O'Dowd career and was Cal-Hi Sports' State Freshman of the Year in 2010, but coach Malik McCord thinks her play has blossomed recently. He's particularly pleased with her assertiveness and developing mid-range game.
"Sky's the limit for that girl with her being as talented as she is and so unselfish," McCord said. "She really wants to be the best. As a team first and as an individual second."
Not many players can match Waters' toughness, either. She broke her nose in an AAU game last summer,
She says having a big brother and playing against older, bigger players growing up helped make her the fearless power forward she is today. Going against a pair of 6-foot-4 teammates, Oderah Chidom and Breanna Brown, in practice every day has also been beneficial.
"I love guarding bigger people," she said. "I love being aggressive and I love to push people around."
This summer, Waters plans to hone her guard skills in preparation for possibly playing the "three" in college. Where that will be is still up in the air, but she has plenty of options as the No. 34 rated prospect in the nation.
She mentioned Cal, Duke, USC, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia and UCLA as favorites at the moment, but is still looking around.
Before moving on, Waters and the Dragons aim to add to their growing collection of section and state banners. With four starters and several key reserves returning next year, O'Dowd also wants to boost its No. 14 national ranking.
"We want to do it all over again, but better," Waters said.