I told everyone when I did the last piece on UK Hoops concerning the coaching staff that I was going to take the players one at a time, so we are going to be off and running. I hope to do this over the next three or four weeks so that I can start breaking down the schedule as soon as it is completed and in place. I wanted to start this off with a bang, so the place to start is pretty obvious, so here we go, let's talk A'Dia Mathies, the heart and soul of this squad.
Where do we begin? Everyone knows that A'dia can carry this team on some nights, but the true growth of the UK Hoops Squad started when A'dia stopped making herself do it all. The minute she realized that it was going to take everyone on the floor contributing, the pieces started falling into place.
A'Dia Mathies is a Kentucky girl, born and bred. Growing up in Louisville, and then coming to UK to play basketball when many thought she would stay with hometown UL was her first step into a much larger world. She has missed 1 start at UK since arriving, and with her Senior season coming up, don't count on her missing another. I can quote you stats all day long, but that's not really the purpose of this piece. If you want to see a complete breakdown of the numbers, fell free to look them over at this link right here.
So, what do we talk about when it comes to A'Dia? Let's talk leadership. Let's talk clutch, let's talk about all the things that the WNBA is going to want to see when she gets her shot at being UK's second 1st Round draft pick on the women's side. Let's talk about the fact that A'Dia is already helping to bring on the next generation of UK students by teaching character lessons to 3rd graders at local Lexington elementary schools. And let's talk about the fact that A'Dia Mathies has taken her place already among the UK elite in Women's Hoops, and there is still a season to go. Most of the Draft Experts put her right now at the low end of Round 1. If she has another outstanding season, and avoids injury, expect her stock to rise. She is not going to challenge Brittney Griner for the #1 pick, but playing her way into the mid-early first round is not out of the question. A first Women's National Championship would go a long way to securing that place.
From a girl who's dream job is to be a clinical psychiatrist, you might be surprised to hear her answer when asked who she would want to have the last shot when the game is one the line. A'Dia wants it to be herself. But the reason why is the most interesting part. She wants to take the shot to alleviate the rest of her teammates from having to do it. She "wants them to know she has their back and that they have mine". Sounds just like a leader, doesn't it? A'Dia Mathies backs down from nothing. And that may be the difference for this team going into the 2012-2013 season. She has had three years to get better. Three years for the coaching staff to surround her with the pieces it will take to win it all. Three years for the right opportunity to present itself. And in about three months it will happen. A'Dia Mathies will lead this group of extremely talented young women into what may very well be the NCAA Championship. A lot of stress? A big challenge? Sure is. And A'Dia Mathies wouldn't have it any other way.