All-area girls basketball player of the year: Buck’s career on upward pathSeated in his office at Twin Bluff Middle School, Red Wing girls basketball coach Kraig Ulveling held his hand out and diagrammed possible career paths for young standouts in midair.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
Published March 31, 2010
Seated in his office at Twin Bluff Middle School, Red Wing girls basketball coach Kraig Ulveling held his hand out and diagrammed possible career paths for young standouts in midair.
Ulveling’s hand mimicked the rise of a plane at takeoff to show the trajectory of players who demonstrate continuous improvement. He also traced the arc of a young athlete’s career that levels off. Wingers freshman Tesha Buck — the Republican Eagle’s Player of the Year — demonstrated throughout the 2009-10 season that she remains on the rise.
“She’s just (like this),” Ulveling said as he raised his hand at a 45-degree angle, “seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade. Now the key — and I’m sure the college coaches are looking at the same thing — is will she be able to make the next jump and differentiate herself (from) the other 30 to 35 ninth-grade girls in the state that all have aspirations.
“She’s definitely got the whole package.”
Buck’s statistics emphasized that point. She averaged 16.6 points per game to lead the Wingers in scoring for a second consecutive season. Buck made 47.1 percent of her 3-point attempts (73 of 155) and 49.7 percent of her shots inside the arc (88-for-177).
The 5-foot-11 point forward grabbed more offensive and defensive rebounds than anyone else on her team, averaging 6.9 boards per contest. Buck tied for the team lead in assists (4.2) and she was second in steals (3.4).
“To me its not all about the points,” Buck said. “It’s more about the rebounds, the assists — the little things that people don’t always see but make a really big impact on the game.”
Her passing, in particular, was an area in which she demonstrated improvement this season, according to Ulveling.
He said he felt the Wingers were at their best when she approached double-digit assists.
Buck registered eight assists in an 84-57 victory over Faribault in the section semifinals.
She also showed mental growth this season. Buck’s countenance and actions reveal her emotions on the court. After missing a shot in a key sequence she is apt to slap her hands together in disgust; however, she’s gotten better at moving past miscues and misses.
“She’s getting older and she’s realizing you do make mistakes,” sophomore teammate Abby Ulveling said. “She knows that we need her throughout the whole game and she can’t just get mad over one play.”
The section finals were an example of Buck’s progress.
She struggled to knock down good looks in the first half and had just two points after 18 minutes. Buck moved past that and finished with nine points.
While always serious on the court, Buck is easygoing away from basketball. When she talks about her pink “Dora the Explorer” backpack her face lights up.
Coach Ulveling said he would like to see that smile more often during games.
For Buck, that’s a hard concept to embrace.
“Basketball I take really seriously,” Buck said. “Basketball is like my best friend. It’s my life, pretty much. And sometimes when I get frustrated, it’s not the easiest thing to do — to shake things off because I know the level I can play at. And I know when I’m not playing at that level I get frustrated.
“It’s hard to have fun when I’m not playing as best as I can.”
That drive to reach her potential bodes well for Buck’s future.
“If she can maintain her passion — and even a better word than passion is commitment — to getting better, the sky is the limit for her,” coach Ulveling said.