(In late 2013, Kapiti’s Jacinta Beckley won a scholarship to play basketball in the US. In April 2014 she began studies at Seattle University and joined the Seattle Redhawks squad in the Western Athletic Conference.)
On the bench then a break-through
By Jacinta Beckley
This year has been full of ups and downs.
It all started with our old coaching staff being replaced with four new coaches.
Initially the chief coach saw me as the starting short forward in the 4 position, but I didn’t quite fulfil her expectations and quickly became the sixth one off the bench.
I was putting up solid numbers, but nothing great.
So I worked really hard to prove my coach wrong to see me as the player that I can be.
Unfortunately our starting centre suffered from a concussion in our first game before conference play started and I was the next option.
Making an impact, an injury and awards
So from then out I took that opportunity in the starting five to make an impact. During the ten games I started, I was averaging points in double figures, until our second round of conference play when I suffered from a bad fracture in my hand.
This resulted in a need for surgery: a plate and 8 screws. Because of this I was out for the rest of season. It sucked to watch, being on the bench and not being able to contribute is so hard.
However, I still worked out every day, I did conditioning and still lifted weights. This lead to me receiving the iron hawk award for commitment to my strength and conditioning.
Also my impact on the court during the time I did play, lead me to receiving the most improved award for the season too. Both of these rewards were incredibly humbling to receive, I felt really good being recognized for how hard I work for the benefit of the team.
The team did well
Our Seattle team came second in conference and second during our tournament. Because of this we got a bid into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT.)
My hand recovered in about 5 weeks, and the day I was cleared I played a game in a post season WNIT tournament. I was a little rusty having only one practice using both hands, previously I had been doing one hand basketball workouts.
Unfortunately we lost this game and did not advance to the second round.
Our team goal was to make top four, as we were voted to finish seventh. We exceeded our expectations by coming second and advancing to post season play.
Future plans and goals
I have committed to playing here for one more year. I have completed my first degree in criminal justice and will be using my fourth and final year to complete my second degree in psychology.
I am loving the academics here, it is so much fun and I was actually announced as an all Western Athletic Conference (WAC) conference academic achiever, which is given to those who achieve a certain goal points average.
With 12 more months here, I am hoping that I will have a great senior year which will give me the statistics to hopefully have the opportunity to play somewhere overseas in Europe,and then also in Australia one day too. I am still aiming to play for the NZ Tall Ferns again, nothing feels better than representing your country with pride.
Successful minor surgery
I recently also had a heart procedure for my super ventricular tachycardia which is basically an irregular heartbeat.
I had been dealing with it all year, and was on medication for it, so I decided after season I would go through the minor surgery so that I wouldn’t have to take medication and monitor it for the rest of my life.
The surgery was super low risk, they went up through a vein in my groin and burned the tissue where the arrhythmia was occurring and then I was good as new.
The surgery led me to one day in hospital with a 3 day recovery before I could be back in full action. I was lucky enough that my sister could be here for me during this time.
Right now we are in spring training which consists of weights, conditioning, open gym, and individuals.
I have also been blessed to find an incredible trainer who I work with every day to develop my individual skills. I met him last year coaching at a summer camp, and since then he has made a great impact on my game.
I will be home in June for a few weeks. And I am so excited to see my family and friends. I haven’t been home in 2 years so it is long overdue.
(PS from KBA’s Angelo Robinson. On a personal note Jacinta has done extremely well in the USA both in Basketball and academically. It is not an easy transition leaving everything you know here in NZ and being immersed totally in a very foreign system.
She has coped and adjusted extremely well.
She has and still continues to do extremely well and we are so proud of her and her successes and achievements.)