It’s seems like weeks ago that McKenna Karlson committed to the UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. It’s taking awhile to write about it. That really shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. That’s because it seems McKenna Karlson has always been asked to WAIT. Whether it was to earn playing time or to be acknowledged. It’s just seems she has always been asked to wait. She even had to wait for college coaches to recognize, she was a Division One player. In the end the good news is this, it seems everyone always comes  around. They always do in the case of McKenna Karlson. It’s why UNH is the happiest coaching staff in the American East these days.


I remember when McKenna Karlson was in 8th grade getting ready to choose a high school. She was long, athletic and had a strong body at an early age. She was explosive at the rim and was packed with talent. She told me that day, she wanted to score a 1000 points and play as a freshman. I told her that was not going to happen at Manasquan. I told her she would have to wait a few years to get real minutes. I still remember the look on her face. It was one of disappointment. But she decided to prove me and everyone else wrong. She got a few minutes as freshman at Manasquan who was stacked with D1 talent. You see McKenna Karlson was asked to wait to prove herself. In her sophomore  year McKenna clearly was starting to bloom. She got real minutes but had to wait to play a prime time role. So she waited and then last year as a junior, she started for Manasquan and became one of the most important players on the team. McKenna had went prime time and once again and another wait was over.


Last year McKenna Karlson did it all for Manasquan. There is a case to be made she was their most consistent player. She was a lock down defender and could score. She was explosive at the rim and a terror on defense. She hit big, big shots, in big and important moments on big stages. Yet once again, nobody seemed to want to give her credit. So McKenna went about the business of being one of the best players nobody seemed to want to talk about. She had to wait to be acknowledged by folks like Tiny Green and the media. For some reason we just didn’t want to give her the credit she deserved. But slowly folks did come around as they started to notice McKenna Karlson was one of the best defenders not in the Shore but the state. Finally the waiting was over once again and people starting giving McKenna some love. She was named FIRST TEAM ALL DEFENSE and FIRST TEAM MOST IMPROVED on just about everyone’s post season awards. The waiting was over yet again.



I remember during COVID that NBS CAMP was only allowed 60 players. McKenna Karlson didn’t get invited. She was a sophomore at the time. Her father was upset, he was in fact angry and disappointed. I knew this but I also know parents love their kids. Yet McKenna was always respectful, kind and nice when we crossed paths. You see McKenna Karlson is one of the nicest kids you will meet. This will be the biggest skill set she brings to UNH. She will instantly be one of the favorites on the team. McKenna will root for everyone. She will be that kid in 4 years the coaches will cry about when she graduates. Her impact will be felt not only on the basketball court. But on the campus, in the classroom and by alumni. The entire town will embrace McKenna.  How do I know this? Ask anyone that has met her and they will tell you her biggest attribute is her smile and kind heart ❤️ UNH will not have to wait to see this side of McKenna Karlson.




I have watched McKenna from a distance the past 3 years. I’ve watched her on tape for hours. I knew she was a Division one player. But it seems as always in her case. She had wait for college coaches to wake up and see the light. I remember after I put out my D1 Early Bird List. A D1 asst coach called me and said “Do you really believe McKenna Karlson is a D1 player” . I laughed and said “the video don’t lie”.  When McKenna Karlson went on a D1 visit, the Head Coach of that school called me and said “give me your thoughts on McKenna, she’s on campus right now”. Again I laughed and said “she starts for you from day one”. This was not talk, this was real talk,  You see I knew something about McKenna most don’t know and it’s this. She is going to be a big scorer in college. I’m talking that 100o point scorer she wanted to be in high school will happen in college. Again she is going to have to wait.  Now those may be strong words but it’s a fact. That’s because what everyone overlooks about McKenna is this. In high school Manasquan has lots of scorers and everything McKenna gets is though hard work. She gets on the offensive boards, runs in transition, forces turnovers and is the most underrated shooter in the shore by a mile. She does all this without  a single set run for her. Manasquan doesn’t feature her. McKenna features herself by creating her own offense though blood and guts. She is a true WARRIOR IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD.. When McKenna gets to UNH the waiting for someone to feature her game will be over… trust me I know a few things about such things.



The asst athletic director at UNH is one of my best friends, Ken Dempsey. I told him McKenna will be one of his favorite kids. My two nephews in the NHL played at UNH. They wanted to know if McKenna Karlson was good. I told them you going to want her autograph one day😁 UNH will not have to wait to see the tools McKenna Karlson brings to the table. You see McKenna Karlson has been coached up. Her high school coach Lisa Kukoda is one of the best coaches in the state. She is a master at bringing kids along slowly without destroying their confidence. McKenna’s AAU team the  NJ RISE is blessed with some of the best AAU coaches on the East Coast. McKenna has been loyal to the RISE  since the very start as a younger player. Her trust in the organization has been marrow deep to the bone and now her trust has been rewarded. Ellen Masonious and Ali Napolitano have rewarded her with great development and featured  her to college coaches on the AAU circuit. The RISE that gave McKenna the platform all kids need to gain the name recognition and exposure in recruiting. McKenna Karlson’s bag is full and she will be a two way killer for years at UNH. 



Mckenna Karlson dad Christina has been a force in her life. His belief and trust in his daughter has been the biggest key to all that is happening these days. Her mother Jen, has stood by her side and been her biggest cheerleader. Both have watched at times their daughter be disrespected, dismissed or not given credit for her efforts and sacrifices . Yet they never let his daughter take the easy way out. He knew McKenna could stand on her own feet. They have watched her turn into, not just a great basketball player but a GREAT PERSON AS WELL. You see that’s the one thing we never had to wait on. McKenna Karlson has always been a great friend, teammate and daughter. Who else would show up at practice on Christmas Eve dressed as the Grinch? Only a kid with a great personality and love of life. She also doesn’t have to wait on being a DIVISION ONE PLAYER ANYMORE AS WELL
























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