Getting used to playing in the paint

Feb. 8, 2011 at 1:03 a.m.
Updated Feb. 7, 2011 at 8:08 p.m.

Treka Franklin is a gifted basketball player, that much Sandra Jimenez is sure of.

"I told Coach (Debbie) Brownson when I first saw her play, 'She's a godsent,'" said the coach for Victoria West.

This season, she's needed every bit of those gifts to learn a new position: post. Jimenez said she has also had to adjust to a new system.

"She is a natural," Jimenez said. "I think where she's come along is that she's learned and is still learning that it is a team thing. If one goes off to the right and the others go to the left, that can be detrimental.

"The team really loves her, and she loves the team. She's grown as a player, and I think she wants to do well, not so much for herself, but her team."

Franklin moved to Victoria over the summer from Athens, and has had to adjust to a lot of changes. A new school, a new level of play, and, most of all, a new position for the Warriors.

At Athens, she was strictly playing in the back court.

"At first, I didn't have a clue what to do and didn't know any moves," Franklin said. "As I played, it got easier and I learned."

But playing post in West offense gives her a chance to tap into her roots as a guard. She steps up to help in the press, and often takes advantage of her speed to create easy layups.

"You have to be quick, as fast as possible and use your jumping ability," Franklin said. "When you're a guard, you shoot a lot. So, in the post, it makes those shots easy. Also, a lot of the moves require speed and quickness."

On the roster, Franklin is listed as a guard, which isn't entirely untrue, especially considering her background. Most of the points she scores, though, are in the low post.

Being able to handle the ball also adds a big element missing in most players who play in the low post.

"It's a big plus," Jimenez said. "Most posts can't handle the ball. Most of them get the ball and turn around and shoot. If they move, its one or two steps.

"Because she is a guard, she's much more mobile post. She can jump and has good leaping ability."

This advantage was on display most often against Floresville. In the process of breaking the Jaguars press, Franklin's ability to control the ball and dribble it up court gave the Warriors a fourth player in the press break.

"They were ready for us," she said. "We came out and played how we wanted to. The intensity was there, we played good defense, and did all the little things we needed to do."

One of the biggest challenges, Jimenez said, has been helping her understand the limitations of the system. Franklin has tremendous athletic talent, and Jimenez said the sophomore has had to learn how to control that immense talent and play smart.

"She's having to learn the system, and that there are certain rules to the system and the press," Jimenez said. "A natural athlete will go off in the direction that feels automatically natural.

"In some instances, they're perfectly right. In others, it causes a mix up. I think she's grown a lot as a team player."

Having helped the Warriors surge out to a 9-0 district record and with one game left before the playoffs, Franklin said she's hoping for a long playoff run.

"We can't just stop now, we have to push through the first and second rounds," she said.



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