Caitlyn Alldredge’s first basketball game in four years is going to be played in Prague in a BYU uniform.
To get there has been a pretty amazing ride.
Alldredge was an all-state softball and basketball player at Viewmont High School in Centerville, in 2012 and 2013. She chose to accept a scholarship offer to play softball at BYU and had a great career as a third baseman, winning West Coast Conference Player of the Year as a junior. The Cougars were eliminated from the 2018 NCAA Tournament by Drake on May 18.
Alldredge wasn’t done being a college athlete.
Having never taken a redshirt year, Alldredge has one year of eligibility to play another sport and is walking on to the BYU women’s basketball team. She’s paying her own way to join a young team where her college athletic experience can be a big asset. The Cougars are taking a 12-day European tour later in August, playing games in Prague, Vienna, Slovenia and Italy, and you won’t be able to wipe the smile off of Alldredge’s face when she walks onto the court for the first time.
So here’s the story:
BYU women’s basketball associate head coach Dan Nielson said he got a text from Deputy Athletic Director Brian Santiago during the middle of softball season.
“He told me Caitlyn wanted to see if there was interest in her playing basketball for us,” Nielson said. “We had watched her play at Viewmont and knew she was a good player. I called her the next day and told her to come see me when her season was over. The morning after they got back from the NCAAs, she was in my office. We invited her to come play some pickup games with us and told her we’d go from there.”
Alldredge – who got married while at BYU – said she has complete support from her husband, Jordan.
“He loves basketball,” she said. “Learning softball was new for him, but he knows basketball inside and out. He was excited for me to play.”
Alldredge said she had shot around a little bit in the past four years but had played very little basketball during that time.
“I really didn’t know any of the girls on the team,” she said. “I was really nervous but they were super cool and inclusive.”
Alldredge was in pretty good condition from playing college softball for four years but admitted getting used to the pace of basketball was a challenge when the team met for summer workouts in July.
“There is so much more running in basketball,” she said. “It was like I went on a mission for four years and had to get back in shape. It took me a while to get back to playing basketball and remembering what to do.”
Alldredge impressed the coaches on the very first day of summer workouts, tying with three other players in a rigorous conditioning test.
Neilson said he can see her timing and skills coming back. Alldredge connected on a pull-up 3-pointer in transition for a game-winner during a recent scrimmage, something she would have struggled with earlier in the month.
“She can still play basketball,” Neilson said. “It was really a no-brainer to keep her around. She had already been a senior for a very successful team and she can play a big leadership role with us. Her approach is what we need on this team. She’s disciplined and she knows how to work. The girls really respect her.”
As for her basketball skills, Alldredge is a shooting guard who averaged 18 points a game in high school and is also a tough defender.
“She’s the most talented walk-on we’ve ever had,” Neilson said.
Alldredge was co-Academic Player of the Year for BYU in 2018, holding a 3.78 grade point average in Communications with a news media emphasis. The Cougars clinched the WCC softball title in May with a two-game sweep of Loyola Marymount. In a tense 3-2 first game win for BYU, Alldredge made the defensive play of the year on a foul ball. She sprinted full speed into the railing near the Cougars dugout, making the catch and doing a handstand to keep from flipping over to make the final out of the game.
She’d like to make that kind of impact with the basketball team as well.
Alldredge will be one of two seniors for BYU. The roster is also comprised of three juniors and 11 underclassmen, including eight freshmen. While her experience and leadership will be critical to the team’s success there’s no guarantee that she will play a lot minutes.
Alldredge is OK with that.
“If I play, that’s great,” she said. “If I’m not playing I’m going to be the best bench player you’ve ever seen.”