More than anything, Cokie Reed’s rehab journey has been a learning experience.
Coming in as one of the most highly touted recruits of the Gail Goestenkors era, Reed’s arrival at Texas had many fans excited for the future. But she’s now two and a half years into her time as a Longhorn, and the redshirt sophomore post has hardly had a chance to prove herself.
Reed, who has continued to be in and out of the lineup this season after sitting out her entire sophomore year with a right foot injury, knows that dealing with injuries is always frustrating but emphasized the importance of staying focused and maintaining a positive attitude.
“There are times where I feel as if I should be able to do something but my injury prevents that from happening,” said Reed, who is averaging eight points and five rebounds per game in 17 starts this year. “But you have to deal with adversity with character and control your emotions when it does get frustrating.”
It’s not as if Reed doesn’t know what it’s like to be one of the best in the game. The 6-foot-4 native of Waco was one of the most decorated high school players in state history. While averaging 16.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game in her senior year, Reed led the Midway Pantherettes to their first 4A state championship in 15 years. She was a Naismith High School Player of the Year finalist and ranked fifth by ESPN HoopGurlz in a recruiting class that included Player of the Year favorite Brittney Griner and one of the top guard’s in the nation in Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins.
Reed’s great success didn’t stop at the high school level. In her first year on the 40 Acres, Reed earned Big 12 First Team All-Freshman honors after playing all 33 games and averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Her proven talent and lack of experience dealing with injury made sitting out her sophomore season that much tougher.
“It was really hard,” Reed said. “Having to deal with rehab and not being able to compete with my team was pretty challenging.”
But just as she would attack a rebound or back down a defender, Reed stayed focused and did whatever she could to make sure she would be game ready when she returned to the court.
“My love for the game kept me motivated throughout the rehab process,” Reed said. “I’ve been playing this game for a long time and it’s a hobby for me, something I really enjoy doing.”
Cokie has also relied heavily on her team for support when the going gets tough. Being able to feed off of their energy and lean on them when necessary has been vital to her recovery.
“On this team we play for each other,” Reed said. “The coaching staff and my teammates have been positive through it all, they’ve been my support system.”
Although her physical health may not quite be where she wants it to be at this point, Reed says her time away from the court allowed her to better understand what she needs to do mentally to compete at a high level.
“The biggest thing I learnt while I was out was to be a student of the game,” Reed said. “If I can focus on seeing things that most people don’t see I will be able to give myself an advantage by outsmarting my opponent.”
Printed on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 as: Injured-riddled Reed looks to take positives from time-out