Jenna Smith will give fans an inside look at Illinois basketball this summer.
June 13, 2008
All-American center Jenna Smith will be keeping Illini fans up-to-date on Illinois basketball this summer. In the first installment of "Posting Up," Smith talks about her time at home, her trip to the east coast and returning to campus for summer school and workouts.
Summer Time in May
My summer so far has been pretty relaxing. I came home to Minnesota to see my family and see some old teammates. As the years go on I seem to notice that I talk to less and less people, but it's still nice to catch-up with everyone back here. Enjoying home was a big part of my trip because we rarely get to go home during the year. I was ready to take advantage of being able to sleep 14 hours a day if I want to and enjoy home cooked meals and being spoiled by the parents.
After a week at home I went on a trip to the east coast, making multiple stops. First I went to Jersey to see former teammate Danyel Crutcher. She was having a big graduation party so I decided to go see her and celebrate her accomplishments in her four years with her. Some other teammates attended this bash like Lacey Simpson and Audrey Tabon. It was a lot of fun to see where she grew up and spend quality time with teammates that I love.
After I spent some time in New Jersey, I headed to New York to visit Charlotte Cooke, a friend from the Illini soccer team. Enjoying some time with her made me realize that New York City is different from my Minnesota city. Mainly, I couldn't deal with that traffic everyday! That was horrible, I could never drive through packs of traffic everyday just to get to the city! My last stop on this trip was to see my friend from Wisconsin's basketball team, Jolene Anderson, who graduated and is now playing professional basketball with the Connecticut Suns. I went to a game and enjoyed watching her play professionally and meeting her teammates.
So my trip was pretty entertaining and I was able to try lots of new things. As far as home as been, I kept it pretty low key. I didn't really do anything but workout and relax, which was great! I enjoyed as much sleep and relaxation time as I could before coming back to campus this week to start workouts and classes.
Heading Back to School
Heading back to school has always brought a lot mixed of feelings. As the seniors leave and teammates Lori Bjork and Chelsea Buher move on, it's going to be a lot different. Each of them left something with us that will be tough to forget. I was probably the closest with the senior class last year, so seeing them leave was devastating (if you were at senior night, you probably saw me cry like a big ole baby). I think about going to go see Crutch at her place and having Audrey be there and how we all would laugh and relax after workouts. I will miss Bec's sense of humor that always made me laugh. Stephanie Chelleen was the smartest basketball-wise on our team. She would tell me things that I could do to help the team that I didn't see. She was the biggest team player I have ever met. Besides the seniors, Lori and Chelsea leaving is a tough thing also. I have never seen anyone work harder than Lori and she motivated and helped our team in many ways. I wish her the best in her next step in her life and want her to know that she was loved! Chelsea Buher, a.k.a. CB, is a great girl. I wish her the best at Indiana State and I know that we will keep in touch! There are so many great memories with all of them that will never be forgotten and they will always have a spot in my heart. I wish everyone the best in their future.
As for the newcomers joining the great Illini family this year, I am excited to meet them and get to know them off the court this summer. I'm excited to see how they play and how they will impact our season this year. I have heard nothing but great things about all of them and I think that we are truly blessed to have them be apart of our family. I know that each one of them will bring something great and they will soon learn what it takes to be an ILLINI!
The summer consists of weights and running, with conditioning a big part of things. Spending quality time with our strength and conditioning coach, Coach Price, is our favorite thing to do! ;) Hearing him blow the whistle and telling you if you made your rep or if you have to go again is something I could definitely live without and running on the track in the middle of July with Chelsea Gordon is one of my favorite things to do during the summer (yeah right)! ;) I can definitely say that I'd rather do sprints all day on the court then step ONE foot on that track!
When I think about the summer I know it will be hard, but I also know that it's the time athletes put in the time and work to get better. You push yourself to the max. Like Coach Law says, you try and get 1% better each day. I know that summer is tough, but the end result is what we're all looking forward to. I know that this team is capable of doing anything as long as we stick together, work together and get 1% better. When things get hard in the summer and I'm tired of running and about ready to quit, I look around and realize that I am here for my teammates and I can't quit because of them. That you need to contribute all you can each and every day.
The summer is not all hard work either, playing pick-up and working camps for a little cash isn't all that bad. Having no one on campus but basically athletes is the life. With all the hard work coming up, there are a lot of positives you can look at. I think about how much time I'll get to spend with my teammates and friends that will be back on campus. You have time to take some classes that you need and you can just relax on a calm campus before life gets crazy again come fall.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy summer and GO FIGHTING ILLINI!
Jenna Smith #13