For the returning players on the team, it's an old story, one they've all been through at least once. But for the incoming freshmen, the past week has been not only their introduction to an NCAA Division I basketball program; it's also been their first week as college students. The verdict? So far, so good.
"It's a little bit better than I expected," said Jordan Coleman, a 5-11 wing from Longwood, Florida. "I didn't expect anything too fun, but I've been having a lot of fun, actually."
The team's other freshman, Tia Gibbs, a 5-9 guard from Louisville, Kentucky, agreed. "It's a lot of fun so far," she said, "but the classes do require a lot of study."
Both of the freshmen are taking two classes. Gibbs is taking English and Sociology, and Coleman is taking English and Roman Civilization. "They're tough," said Coleman. "But I'm getting through it."
A typical day begins early for the players on the team, including the freshmen. "We get up around 6:15, and we go straight to workouts until 7:55," said Gibbs.
The workouts are an experience in themselves. "It's enough to say that they're in the mornings," said Coleman. "I wasn't really a morning person before this."
"They're intense," she continued. "Some of them, like the track workouts, are really intense." Coleman had been lifting weights before she came, but says that the lifting under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Tasha Weddle is "pretty intense, but we're working through it."
"And after that, we have to be in class around 8:00," Gibbs said. "We're in class from 8 to 12. Then we eat lunch until about 12:45 and go to study hall till 1:45 or 2. Then we come home and study and shower and study some more and watch TV and go to bed."
Besides all that, four days a week there are afternoon pickup games, which help with conditioning, and also give the returning players a chance to teach the freshmen some of the ropes – and hopefully to give everybody the chance to relax and have some fun playing the game that they love.
Freshmen Tia Gibbs and Jordan Coleman
Photos copyright 2008 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com