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Winner's Bella Swedlund commits to Division I Kansas women's basketball team

“That’s the basketball capital of the world,” Bella Swedlund told the Mitchell Republic. “I loved it down there and I am so excited to be around a basketball town. It’s just going to be insane.”

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Winner High School's Bella Swedlund is the Mitchell Republic's 2021 Girls Basketball Player of the Year. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade
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Bella Swedlund’s official visit to the University of Kansas cemented her college decision.

The Winner High School standout visited the basketball-crazed university in Lawrence, Kansas, from June 1-3 and that’s all it took. She wanted to be a Jayhawk.

“That’s the basketball capital of the world,” Swedlund told the Mitchell Republic. “I loved it down there and I am so excited to be around a basketball town. It’s just going to be insane.”

Born to ball: Winner’s Bella Swedlund is Mitchell Republic’s girls basketball player of the year

Swedlund had taken unofficial visits in previous years. But this was her first and only official visit, which she said blew her away and it included a stop at legendary Allen Fieldhouse.

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“Allen Fieldhouse was amazing,” Swedlund said. “It doesn’t even feel like it should be a basketball court. It should just be a big museum. It’s just insane and just being there. I walked out onto the court and I was like ‘Wow.’ ”

She tweeted her intentions to be a Jayhawk late Monday night. The 5-foot-8 guard received offers from 20 Division I programs, including both Power 5 and mid-major schools. She said Illinois State was her second choice.

Kansas coach Brandon Schneider offered Swedlund in late April and it was largely due to his new assistant coaches. New assistant coaches -- Morgan Paige (North Dakota State University) and Karyla Middlebrook (Grand Canyon) -- had previously recruited Swedlund during their last stints.

Those prior relationships helped Swedlund pick Kansas and she committed during a visit to coach Schneider’s house.

“I told them I was going to be a Jayhawk and it was celebrating and cheering all around,” said Swedlund, who was the 2021 Mitchell Republic girls basketball player of the year. “It was awesome.”

Class A girls all-state hoops team filled with versatile scoring threats

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Swedlund said now she can focus on her final season with the Warriors. The all-stater guided Winner to a third-place finish at the state tournament this past season. Winner won the state championship when Swedlund was a freshman.

That’s another item on her to-do list before she heads to Kansas.

“I want to go win a state championship now and of course I have my future planned out,” Swedlund said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I can just go play basketball for the fun of it and have one last year in a Winner jersey and go out with a bang.”

This past season, she became Winner’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Lisa Carlson (1,484). With her senior season left, Swedlund has 1,745 career points and a school record 249 3-pointers. She also broke season school records for most points (565), field goals made (219) and 3-pointers made (72).

The 5-foot-8 point guard averaged 22.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game this season. She’s a three-star prospect and the 28th-ranked point guard in the 2022 class, according to espn.com.

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Winner High School's Bella Swedlund is the Mitchell Republic's 2021 Girls Basketball Player of the Year. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mitchell Republic file photo

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