Chairwoman of the boards
Hartselle grad is UNA's top rebounder
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The top scorer on the basketball court usually gets the fan's accolades and the media's attention. The top rebounders however, take care of the work that wins the respect of coaches and teammates and can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Yachte McGrady, a Hartselle High graduate, knows both sides of that story. She was the leading scorer and center of attention in high school. Now, she is a rebounder first and scorer second for The University of North Alabama Lady Lions.
"Playing at Hartselle was my glory days," McGrady said. "My team really counted on me to score and I got the ball and scored a lot. I got all the trophies and all the press then.
Things are different in college. My role has changed, my team needs me to rebound."
McGrady, who enters her senior season at UNA this fall, won several awards while leading the Lady Tigers in high school. She was named MVP of the Morgan County tournament her senior season, in addition to being named All-State second team and being selected to play in the North-South All-Star game.
Her role with the Lady Lions is far different than the one she played with Hartselle High.
"We used her as a spark off the bench the past two seasons," UNA head basketball coach Flora Willie said.
"She gave a our team a lot of energy when she came in. She would score if we needed her to.
"But, she always got on the boards and rebounded well."
"I fell in love with rebounding when I got to college," McGrady said. "I say it was harder to score in college, because I was facing a lot of taller players. I wanted to do something that would affect the game. That's why I love rebounding. I can help us win without having to be the top scorer."
McGrady has been the Lady Lions third leading scorer the past two seasons, averaging 9.3 points as a sophomore and 8.8 points in her junior year. Her love for rebounding has helped her lead the team the past two years on the boards. In 2002, she averaged 6.5 rebounds a game and then averaged seven rebounds a game last season.
"Yachte will probably be a starter this year," Willie said. "I think she could be a top scorer in our league. However, I expect her to be the top rebounder in the conference with the extra minutes."
"I love her to death for the confidence she has in me," McGrady said.
"Coach Willie has always believed in me since I got her. She thinks I might be able to play professionally overseas after I graduate."
Willie has contact with professional scouts and coaches in Europe and is planning on arranging a tryout for McGrady after her college career ends. Before she can embark on a pro career however, McGrady thinks she needs to improve three aspects of her game.
"I need to get better at ball handling," McGrady said. "I want my outside shot to get better. I want to be a three-point threat. And I need to lose 10 or 15 pounds so I can be a little quicker."
McGrady, who is a fitness management major, is shooting around 200 jump shots a day this summer in hopes of improving her scoring.
But her main goals still focus on her work under the boards.
"I want to average 10 or 12 rebounds a game this year," McGrady said.
"I want to average a double-double, double digits in points and rebounds each game. I plan on having a great senior season."
Should her scoring increase this season, McGrady says offense will still not her favorite part of the game.
"I love rebounding, it's what I do" McGrady said. "You can score on a put back or you can start a fast break for your team-good things can happen if you rebound."