By Kaleb Carter
Lenee Beaumont has never backed down from playing the best. She’s reaped the rewards of playing around strong competition for years.
For one, her Benet squad plays in arguably the strongest league in the state: the East Suburban Conference, which hosts the 2021-22 3A state champs and runner-ups (Carmel Catholic and Nazareth Academy). She’s played against strong internal competition since arriving at Benet as a freshman. She’s played at an extremely high level in travel ball and is set to do more of that this summer in the Midwest EYBL circuit.
The 2023 point guard verbally committed to Indiana University, a rising program in the Big Ten.
I’m extremely excited and grateful to announce that I have committed to Indiana University to continue my academic and athletic career!! Thank you to all my family, coaches, teammates, and friends for their constant support! Go Hoosiers!!🔴⚪️ @IndianaWBB @mwehoops @BenetGBB pic.twitter.com/vFWpIhhtCy— Lenee (@leneebeaumont30) April 14, 2022
“Starting up as a freshman, when I was a freshman, I think we had four or five Division I players,” Beaumont said. “Looking up to them it was always a goal of mine, like, that would be awesome. I would love to be in their shoes. Being in their position is a great feeling, a dream come true basically. I think it’s going to prepare me well, always having those types of players around me, being exposed to that level of competition.”
Beaumont said she was happy to have a decision made before the upcoming live period. She can focus on her game and helping her team win.
“I love to win no matter what. I hate losing,” Beaumont said. “That was definitely something that factored into my decision. I was paying really close attention to them this past season. They had a great successful season and most of the time they were a top-10, top-15 program. They’re heading in the right direction for sure.”
The junior noted that, just like the Benet coaching staff, she feels that the Hoosiers’ staff will refuse to allow her to be comfortable with her current abilities. She has a drive to be great.
“I think everyone there has the same goal,” Beaumont said of Indiana. “They’re all very level-minded. … Everyone was super sweet, understanding and very kind. Grace Berger, she’s probably one of the best players in the country, but you would not have gotten that vibe from her. Everyone there is very good people. They’re all about their motto, ‘Do the work.’”
Indiana women’s basketball’s newest commit, Lenee Beaumont (’23), also had offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Princeton and Tennessee (to name just a few).— Amanda Foster (@amandafoster_15) April 14, 2022
Yet another big pickup for the Hoosiers. #iuwbb @ids_sports
An IBCA all-state first-team selection as a junior (honorable mention as a sophomore) and second-team all-stater for the Associated Press this past season, Beaumont has wowed her coaches and opponents alike since walking into the gym her freshman year.
“She was playing against (Lexi) Moriarty, and Brooke Schramek and (Kendall) Holmes and those kids, and you could tell in a hurry she just knows how to play the game,” Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. “I personally think she has a WNBA-level skillset. She doesn’t have a WNBA body yet, but she had a WNBA skill-set.”
Kilbride says this having coached a former Big Ten Player of the Year and WNBA player Kathleen Doyle. He said Beaumont’s recruitment process exploded ‘like a grenade’ when college coaches were able to get out and see her live in the summer of 2021, following less live evaluation during the first summer during the pandemic.
“She’s such a fluid athlete,” Kilbride said. “When she shoots the ball, she’s got a beautiful shot. Literally a beautiful shot. I enjoy just watching her in practice during our shooting drills. It’s fun to just watch her shoot the ball, partly because of the way it looks, but partly because it’s just fun watching it go in so often.”
The long-successful Redwings coach said that Indiana made Beaumont feel like a priority.
“Back in the fall, I told her, ‘You really can’t screw this up.’ Because you could pick out of a hat and you’re not going wrong,” Kilbride said of her college shortlist. “There’s no bad options here.”
Beaumont will head to USA Basketball’s U18 National Team Trials May 31 through June 4. Also getting invitations from Illinois were Lisa Thompson (Joliet West) and Alyssa Latham (Homewood-Flossmoor).
“I just want to show that I can compete against some of the best in the country and do whatever I can to help my team be successful this summer,” Beaumont said. “Also, I’m really looking forward to the USA trials so that should be a great experience as it is and just give it my all.”
After the summer, the goal remains the same. She wants the 2021-22 4A fourth-place Redwings to have a better experience at the IHSA state finals in 2023.
“The goal is to get back to Redbird Arena,” Beaumont said. “That was just a great experience and I know I am and the rest of the team, no matter who is on it, is willing to do that, even though it’s a ways away.”