Nov. 16, 2011
By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra
Mix red and blue and one eventually gets purple.
At least that's the case for Tasha Dickey, who was a member of the red and blue University of Arizona Wildcat basketball team for four years, but now is a Kansas State Wildcat hoopster.
Dickey debuted last Saturday with a 20-point effort, which tied the team total of Dartmouth in a 54-20 Wildcat victory. The scoring effort in a debuting performance was the most at K-State since Laurie Koehn poured home 27 against Georgia Tech in 2001.
"Tasha is a tremendous athlete with play-making ability. She has great anticipation, has great quickness and is an excellent defender," said K-State Coach Deb Patterson on her newest Wildcat. "She's one who has a great upside in our gym. She comes with great focus every day."
Dickey earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honors in 2007-08 when she averaged 6.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in starting 21 of 28 games for Arizona. Torn tendons in her left ankle, plus the removal of a cyst, sidelined her in 2008-09, while her scoring average was a modest 1.9 points per game as a sophomore and junior.
"I just wasn't sure of myself (after the surgery)," said Dickey, who is the daughter of Charlie Dickey, K-State's offensive line coach, and Lisa Dickey, a former Arizona basketball standout in the mid-1980s. "Mentally, I just went through an adjustment time with my body. I never fully got back to trusting myself."
Dickey graduated from Arizona last spring in religious studies, but by NCAA rule she also had one additional year of eligibility.
With her parents in Manhattan, Dickey said, "I wanted to finish my career. I wanted to start on my masters because I want to coach. I know someday I will want to tell my players to push through and finish it out. How can I tell my future players that when I didn't finish my career? I wanted to hold myself to the same standard that I want to hold my girls to when that time comes."
After contacting Patterson, Dickey quipped, "I'm sure she spent some time checking me out. Who is she and what does she want?"
Patterson, in fact, did do a character check, and what she found was all good.
"It was easy to tell that she had a passion," said Patterson, who gave Dickey a scholarship. "It was easy to tell that she was a high character individual and she would be a great fit for us."
The fit went both ways.
"I've never felt more welcome in all my life than by this team," said Dickey, who was the 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year in Utah where she was playing for Brighton High School in Sandy, Utah. "Honestly, I was shocked at how the team welcomed me. Here this strange girl was joining a team that had already bonded, but they were super nice and accepted me from the very first pickup game. I know all of that started with Coach Patterson.
"Maybe it's because I'm where my parents are for the first time in a long time, but it just feels homier here," said Dickey. "The fans are so dedicated and you sense a real passion for our team."
A 5-foot-10 off-guard, Dickey scouts her own game by saying she "... likes to drive and get to the rim. I love defense. I want to do whatever the team needs."
In the Dartmouth game, that need was scoring. Dickey netted seven of the team's 20 field goals and was true on 7-of-14 from the field on a night that the rest of the team connected on just 29 percent from the field.
But to continue those scoring ways, she knows, will be tough. "They keep telling me that basketball in the Big 12 is the best of the best, so I'm sure it will be challenging. But the coaches have been great trying to fit me into the system. They don't just yell at you. They don't just yell at you that you're losing it, but they teach you what you're doing wrong, and how to correct it. It's been a wonderful experience."
Oh, could daughter Tasha take mom Lisa on the court?
Laughing, Tasha said, "She would debate that, but I could take her. She may have been a better shooter, but athletically I can take her any day. It would be no match."
TONIGHT'S GAME: Kansas State puts its 1-0 record on the line with BYU serving as the Wildcats' guest tonight for a 7 p.m. start in Bramlage Coliseum. K-State won its opener 54-20 over Dartmouth, while BYU is 1-1 with the loss coming to No. 8 Duke, 61-55, and the victory on Monday night at Tulsa, 64-61.
The Wildcats next game will be on Friday at 7 p.m. against Missouri State in Bramlage Coliseum.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at email@example.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.