Saturday, April 22, 2006

KU women’s hoops signee shines


The Kansas Relays can carry just as much pressure as a last-second, game-winning shot in basketball.

For that reason, Kansas University women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson can't wait for Olathe East's Danielle McCray to step onto the court next year.

"She gets excited about the pressure of the competition," Henrickson said. "I was joking with her mom that it looks like we might need to get the ball in her hands in a last-second shot. She looks like she likes drama, so that's good."

It wasn't just her future coach supporting McCray on Friday. A few of her future KU teammates were pulling out the slow clap before McCray launched her shot-put attempts.

"I wasn't used to that, but, actually, when they were clapping, I threw my furthest one," the future Jayhawk said. "So that was good. And having my college coaches watch me play, I liked that, also."

McCray said that she did seek out the spotlight and that it helped fuel her competitiveness.

"With shot put and triple jump, someone's ahead of you, you want it, you want to push yourself to get it and be the best that you can," she said. "So I'm getting the experience from this, to want to push it and want to win and compete. So this is just good stuff for me to get ready for college and basketball, also - mentally ready and everything."

She got a taste of both standing atop one medal stand - and having to look up at the top spot on another.

McCray won the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 37-feet, 61â2-inches.

But after getting personal best in the preliminaries of the shot put, McCray had to settle for second place after falling three inches short of Bellevue (Neb.) East's Jasmine Mosley.

"Yeah, I got second, but that was an awesome throw that I did today," McCray said. "I'm very happy, actually, to P.R. by about three feet."

Though basketball is her first love, McCray said she would miss track when she turned her focus to improving the KU women's basketball team.

"I like to show everyone that I not just do basketball but that I do track, too," McCray said. "My love is with basketball, so, I mean, track can come and go, but not basketball."

There is no doubt that Henrickson is glad that basketball is McCray's passion and is picking the sport over track.


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