Kesha Buckner has shown very few problems adjusting from high school basketball to the college level after eight games of play for the Dodge City Lady Conquistadors.
The freshman post player is averaging 9.1 points, a team-leading 9.6 rebounds per game and recorded three double-doubles going into this afternoon's game against Iowa Lakes in the Hutchinson Ramada Classic.
"It's not really a responsibility, but it's what my team has set me up for," Buckner said. "I see what my coach tells me to look for like the drive because I need to get in there for the rebound. I'm a (power/small forward), so I have to look for both (shooting and rebounding)."
Buckner is taking nothing for granted in what would be her second chance in basketball.
The freshman was player of the year as a junior for Dodge City High, averaging 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 steals a game. She didn't play her senior season because of a tear in her anterior cruciate ligament on her leg.
Dodge City Community College head coach Lucas McDonald decided to go ahead and signed Buckner. She spent the summer playing AAU ball to prepare for the upcoming season and to get rid of her fears of possibly getting injured again.
"This is actually my first season back after the tear," Buckner said. "I spent my adjustments during AAU like being scared to drive. Now I can take the contact. My goal is to play my game like I did my junior year, have no fear and to believe in my teammates."
Buckner said it really hasn't been the larger players she's gone up against during the collegiate career that's been the biggest adjustment, but the speed of the game along with a shot clock.
"It's different because if you don't do things right in high school, you can go back and set the play up again," Buckner said. "Here, you have to set the play solid one time, and that's all you get.
"I also had to adjust how teams attack the goal. In high school, I could out-jump anybody and everybody. Now I have to really find my player and box out."
McDonald said it wasn't really taking a chance when it came to signing Buckner because he already knew what she could do on the floor and saw her play during her junior season and in the AAU after that campaign. He said that her hustle and play has been a huge positive so far this season.
"We definitely knew she was capable of great things," McDonald said. "The one thing about Kesha, not only that she knows she has to work on things every day, but that she has a huge heart and is a great teammate.
"Her leadership on the floor and off the floor is also a big part of our program. We took a chance in some ways, but in others ways, you can't go wrong with that. We're definitely glad she decided to stay home."