Kasa Yalenchka

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Kasa Yalenchka
(Snow Leopard, G)
ID#335
Kasa Yalenchka.png
Illustrated by JTigerclaw
No. 0 – Edmonton Totems
Position Guard
Species Snow Leopard ( Felidae )
Gender Female
Nickname(s)
KY
White Russian
Personal information
Born (1986-02-01) February 1, 1986 (age 33)
Chelyabinsk, RUS
Nationality Russian
Listed height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Listed weight 145 lb (66 kg)
Shoots Right
Career information
FBA draft 2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Selected by the Alaska Arctics
Pro playing career 2007–present
Career history
2006-2012 Alaska Arctics
2012-Mar 2013 Edmonton Totems
Mar 2013-2016 Plymouth Taproots
2016-present Edmonton Totems
Contract information
Contract year 2015
2019 Salary $9.5 million
Player Contacts
(IC) Agent Unknown
(OOC) Creator JTigerclaw
(OOC) Actor JTigerclaw
(OOC) Usage Ask me before any use

This entry is a work in progress.

Kasa "KY" Yalenchka is a female snow leopard guard, currently with the FBA's Plymouth Taproots. An intriguing foreign prospect from Russia, Yalenchka was drafted 10th overall in 2006 by the Alaska Arctics after the Russian team she was under contract with, the Moscow Cosmonauts, came to Alaska as part of a multi-game stateside tour, catching the attention of then-Arctics coach and fellow Russian, Vladimir Tabanov.

A stoic, reserved, and some may say cold youngster

A two-time All-Star in her professional career. One of the hardest players to keep in front of you, she can slide and squirm her way to the hoop at will, and will nail the open (or contested) 3-pointer. Wears her lower-back length hair in a Tomb Raider style braid. Has a flair for the dramatic, and isn't afraid to try a flashy move or take the big shot. Fearless in the paint for a short gal. Game somewhat resembles Gilbert Arenas (when healthy). Very popular for her circus layups in traffic, jaw dropping passes, and drop-dead good looks.... and fluffy tail.


1986 - 2000: Humble Beginnings

Kasa Sergeyevna Yalenchka was born in a derelict, Soviet-era housing project in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in a violent urban neighborhood largely controlled by rival gangs. The oldest of seven brothers and sisters, Kasa never knew a childhood. Her father absent since before she could talk, young Kasa was forced to care for her ailing mother from as early as 6 years old. Her mother suffered from alcoholism and depression, which meant Kasa was largely responsible for raising her younger siblings, and she felt constant pressure as their only role model and provider. It was during these grim times that the leopard kitten cultivated her “take-charge, no-nonsense” style of leadership, helping her family survive by doing odd jobs, begging and occasionally stealing when there was no other choice. By the time she was 10, Kasa had perfected the art of pickpocketing out of necessity, hanging out in the larger, business district of Chelyabinsk and preying on sympathetic or obtuse businessmen and passers-by. She would spend hours "working" the city streets, sometimes in fear of her life or imprisonment, only to come home to a sobbing, drunken mother and a brood of starving snow leopard siblings. Yet throughout it all, she remained loyal to her loved ones, doing whatever it took to keep her family fed and with some manner of roof over their heads, even to the detriment of herself.

But exploring the streets alone did provide an unexpected source of enjoyment, as it was during this time Kasa discovered a pickup game of basketball being played on a run-down court behind an old toy factory. An 11-year-old Kasa would watch with fascination as the older furs, mostly stronger, rough-looking males, battled it out on the cracked concrete, playing for cash, cigarettes and pride. The games would often devolve into shouting matches and violence, resulting in stabbings or brawls. Yet this did little to deter the hardened youngster from coming to the courts to watch and study the games. One day, Kasa showed up to find a spare basketball which had rolled about 3 meters down the street from the court. In a move that could have ended badly if she had been seen, Kasa snatched the errant ball and snuck off silently. She would bounce that ball down the streets of Chelyabinsk for hours a day as she traversed the city in search of food or money... something to bring home to her family.

At the age of 14, Kasa decided to try for a job at the same toy factory where she had watched the games. She got the job, and was immediately placed on a factory assembly line. The 12 hour daily shifts were physical and grueling, especially for a child. Yet adults with years of experience were stunned by the young snow leopard's incredible speed, strength, dexterity, and stamina. Her iron work ethic honed from years of just surviving, Kasa would simply show up and do her job, day in and day out, without a single complaint and hardly a sound. Standoffish and self-reliant, Kasa would avoid talking to her co-workers at any cost. The only time she cracked a smile was during breaks and after work, when she went out back to those very same broken down hoops in back of the factory, where she developed a long-distance stroke with deadly precision.

In her rare leisure time as a teenager, Kasa would play pick-up ball in the back streets of Chelyabinsk. On the cracked pavement of these courts, which were often littered and overrun with weeds, Kasa often made short work of competition twice her age. As word-of-mouth increased, she began to emerge as something of a local celebrity within her Oblast.

Fun Facts?

With little to work with and mouths to feed, Kasa learned to cook huge meals with a wide variety of dissonant ingredients. She has published her own cookbook since arriving in America, and has said cooking is her favorite way to comfort others. Working in a toy factory, Kasa would occasionally risk her job by smuggling stuffed animals, dolls, and puzzle games for her younger siblings Kasa was once stabbed in the shoulder during an attempted rape. She still has a large scar. Kasa values family above all else in life. As her reputation grew, Kasa came to the attention of several neighborhood gangsters. She was often pressured into high-stakes street games, for which she received little or no compensation.

2000 - 2005: Touring with the Cosmonauts

Kasa’s big break came at the age of 15. Rumors of Chelyabinsk’s street urchin prodigy reached legendary coach Sonja Pashkov, who decided to see for herself. The performance she witnessed left even the big-talking Sonja speechless. She immediately signed Kasa, in a deal which made Kasa the youngest player for the prestigious Moscow Cosmonauts club.

For the next five years, Kasa toured with the Cosmonauts and developed under the close mentorship of Pashkov. Despite the vast increase in her quality of life, her first year with the team was fraught with bouts of homesickness. She would think constantly of her brothers and sisters, and decorated her locker with photos of them. Much of her paycheck was sent to cover living expenses back home.

It was during this time that the shy, silent Kasa, who was even thought by some in her neighborhood to be mute, began to emerge from her shell. The ice hardly melted overnight, however, and it was months before Coach Pashkov and her teammates could build a close, intimate connection with the stoic youngster.

Kasa learned more than just trick moves and fancy ballhandling skills from her new family on the road. These years taught her to smile, to laugh, and to eventually open herself to others. The tough little girl developed into a clever, vivacious personality, and her dynamic presence on the court (no matches were ever staged) eventually won her the team captaincy.

Fun Facts?

Since their inception in 1956, the Cosmonauts have been lauded in Russia as celebrities, often referred to as “The Red Menace.” They have played exhibition matches against amateur, semi-pro, and pro league teams from around the world, with a record of 4,286 wins in 5,024 games. Their record against FBA competition is 2-4, beating the Tuscon Demons in 1968 and the Hamilton Mariners in 1985. Kasa’s #0 jersey has been retired by the Cosmonauts. Her signature tricks generally involved absurdly long distance shots, trick passes, and twirling circus layups in traffic.

2006 - Present: FBA Stardom

Without a professional league past, Kasa remained off the radar of FBA scouts for years. This would all change, however, during the Cosmonauts’ much-publicized first Stateside tour. Alaska Arctics head coach, Vladimir Tabanov was introduced to Kasa as “basketball’s best kept secret” by Sonja. Tabanov was captivated by the grace and maturity of the captain, and was further impressed by her disciplined theatrics and uncompromising leadership on the court (the Cosmonauts thrashed U. of Alaska-Fairbanks, 96-58, with Kasa recording 39 pts, 15 assists). Under pressure from Tabanov, and with Pashkov’s blessing, then-GM Yurii Milodanovich signed Kasa to a lucrative professional contract.

It was, however, a bittersweet time for Yalenchka. She would receive notice only three days later that her mother and two of her sisters had were killed in a gang-related shooting. Worse still, she would learn during her first trip home that her mother had squandered the money Kasa had sent for years on alcohol and narcotics. Her surviving siblings, whom she still loved dearly, denounced her for “abandoning” her family – unaware of her sacrifices to support them.

The next few years would be a roller coaster. Kasa would meet, and begin to reconcile and reconnect with her estranged family, a couple of whom had fallen into alcoholism and prostitution. She would also, for the first time, reunite with her long lost father, Dr. Pavel Yalenchka: an MIT professor in statistics and Soviet defector. Many would find Kasa’s affection towards her father uncharacteristic and absurd, considering his frosty treatment and disregard for his daughter, but she would find a great deal of herself in the ornery old academic.

It was from her father, a chess grandmaster who won several Soviet and international tournaments in the 1970s, that she would inherit her calculating, competitive nature. “I never understood my mind until I knew papa,” mused an English-fluent Yalenchka in 2010, “people wonder ‘she is so small! such a shrimp! how does she compete?’ but they don’t see what passes through my mind in a half-second before a shot: angle, trajectory, speed, timing. It’s an instinct, and everything becomes clarity. Like my body is just the mechanism for the mind!” Her father, too, would grudgingly acknowledge his daughter’s ability: “she is a warrior, my Kasa, yes, and a scholar. In a chess match, fools see just pieces and squares, great players use strategy, but genius…genius sees 10 moves in advance, and that is Kasa.”

Kasa has notably kept her personal life fiercely private. She does not trust social media, does not own a computer or television, and did not even own her own cell phone until 2005. She has never learned to drive. Her lack of schooling has been her one secret source of personal shame, and she has always wanted to pusue her academic interests. Kasa is happily single, and even her sexual preference remains a mystery.

Fun Facts?

Kasa is known for her uncompromising work ethic and maturity. Shane Rufus once derisively referred to her as “Milk and Cookies Yalenchka,” for her quiet off-court lifestyle. A rumored Arctics romance between Yalenchka and Umaechi surfaced at one point, which Kasa denied angrily. Poking fun at the extremity of her response, a rueful Umaechi laughed, “sheesh, methinks the leopard doth protest too much!” Kasa has come under some criticism for her “elitist” approach to leadership. Players have anonymously complained about her dismissive treatment of bench players, and outright disdain for reserves.