I'm currently typing on the bus as
we're headed to Drake, which means one thing - sweet, sweet season is in full
This is the time of the year to
iron out our kinks as a team on the court and more importantly, to improve. I
remember during my freshman year, this was the time everything started to sink
in. This is when I started to feel like a real college athlete.
Season is in full swing and school
work starts throwing better curveballs than Sandy Koufax. Oh, plus there is a
very good chance we are traveling all weekend. Let me tell y'all, it is no
So, this week I sat down with our
freshmen, Roichelle Marble and Cayla McMorris, to see how they were handling
The other day I walked into the NJP
(our practice gym) and was facing the opposite direction of the door. All of a
sudden I heard Coach Bobbie yell "Oh, there's Trouble 1 and Trouble
2!" I didn't have to turn around to know who she was talking about.
It is an extremely rare occasion to
spot Roichelle without Cayla and vice versa. They are more attached at the hip
than Michala and Malayna, which is ironic because Michala and Malayna are actual
sisters. Needless to say, if I ever see one, I know the other is not far
behind. So far, the only place Cayla can go without Roichelle is the court.
Having torn her Achilles in the summer, Roichelle is still not released to play
yet but that hasn't stopped her from experiencing all that college has to
When I asked Roichelle how she
would sum up college as a whole so far, she replied as only Roichelle could.
"It's definitely very different than what I'm used to, especially the
walking. I've never had to walk to class before. My classes are just really
spread out across campus"
If any of you have visited UW, I'm
sure you can relate. I promise this isn't a freshman just being a freshman,
this campus is huge, y'all and unfortunately, getting to class isn't the
This university prides itself on its
curriculum and the type of students it admits. Sometimes getting a paper turned
in on time means we don't sleep one night, but hey, that's the price we pay! We
all have to learn to adjust.
Roichelle says so far the hardest
part for her has been "the classes and "how the teachers aren't as guiding.
In high school, the teacher explains what is expected. In college, you're just
in a lecture and he talks, and you have to take notes and in a few weeks you
have a paper due on what he said."
I know for a fact that I can barely
remember what I ate for breakfast most days, so you can imagine how difficult
it can be for us to recall what our professors said three weeks ago.
On a lighter note, I asked
Roichelle what the easiest part of college has been. She paused to ponder,
sighed, looked me dead in the face and said "There's really no easy part
I immediately laughed because
although I have only spent a few months with Roichelle, I still know a few very
solid attributes about her - she can nap ANYWHERE (and I mean anywhere y'all,
as a fellow napper myself, I am often quite impressed) and also, every word
that comes out of her mouth is exactly what she is thinking. It is funny,
honest, and real. And for that, we love her.
Roichelle says for now she is
focused on fully rehabbing her Achilles and is working toward a 3.0 GPA for her
freshman year. As all freshman eventually do, she has learned the "do not
I would say that means she's already
half way to that goal. Her situation is a little different due to her injury,
but for now she says her role is to "encourage everyone". If what I
have observed already continues, I have no doubt 'Trouble 1' will not only
achieve, but surpass all of her freshman year goals.
As for having to watch 'Trouble 2'
play everyday while she has to sit, Roichelle says "I'm happy for Cayla!
She's my friend and I want her to do well."
Personally, I'm very happy I get
another year to play with this girl. She is goofy and quick to give her
opinion, but she is a hard worker, a great teammate, and she is going to do
amazing things in a Badger jersey.
If any of y'all watched the
Vanderbilt game or looked at a stat sheet, you can tell Cayla McMorris is adjusting
quite well on the court. Our little diaper dandy finished with 11 points and grabbed
four rebounds in just 18 minutes.
When we sat down, she mentioned the
college style of play made her a little nervous. "The bigger girls, and
how strong they are" was the biggest difference college basketball has
shown her so far.
She already has the speed and
skills that college basketball demands, which gave her a huge advantage coming
to Madison, but it is rare for a freshman to have the strength required to
That's what the summer before our
freshman year is for. She agrees all of those early mornings will be worth it
"to win a Big Ten tournament and to get to the NCAA tournament."
But the reigning Minnesota AAA
state champion doesn't want to stop there, with dreams of earning first-team
All-Big Ten honors one day. I would have to say she is on the right track.
If there was a Ms. Popular award in
college, she would probably be on the right track for that too.
I had a hunch about what she would
say the easiest adjustment to college was. "Meeting new people, it's easy
to get to know other athletes, because we spend so much time in the same
places." Needless to say, I wasn't surprised.
If you've ever had a conversation
with Cayla, then you've probably heard her laugh, or make some joke (probably
about you). If you've ever seen her play, then you should be excited for the
future of Badger women's basketball.
Our squad returns quite a few
veterans this year, but Cayla's age hasn't proved to be the slightest of a
problem on the court. In fact, she says its "helpful because it brings maturity
to the team, and I look up to them. It means I have to step up. I know the bar
is set at a high level."
There aren't many of them, but our
freshman are more than ready and able to take on the responsibilities of
college basketball. Both of these players described being a Badger as a
blessing and I could not agree more. College is a journey, but college
basketball is a journey for the tough, the disciplined, and the talented
future. If I were y'all, I would get your season tickets now.
Catch y'all next week!
Oh and Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble