Dec. 8, 2006
By Ben Murphy, FSU Sports Information
The Florida State women’s basketball team has experienced rapid success over the past few years with hopes to continue the trend. The Seminoles lost four seniors to graduation last spring and entered this season looking for more impact from the young players and so far, FSU has struck gold. In the early weeks of the season, both Alysha Harvin and Jacinta Monroe have earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors. For Harvin, it was reassurance that she was doing okay.
“Earning that recognition early in the season is a big boost to my confidence,” Harvin said. “When Coach Sue told me, I was like `Wow’!”
Playing behind veterans Alicia Gladden and Tanae Davis-Cain, Harvin is seeing nearly 12 minutes of action per game which is not as much playing time as she’s used to, but she’s still taking full advantage of the opportunity. She had a season-high 10 points and season-high five rebounds at Fordham and has played in all nine games this season.
“Being that star player in high school, you play most of the game and then you get to college and play maybe play 10 or 12 minutes a game, so it’s a big change,” Harvin said. “In high school, talent is not nearly as common and the girls are not as quick so I was able to get away with more, but here my athletic abilities are put out there.”
Harvin has realized that in the college ranks, it is a considerably faster paced game and that she has a lot of learning and growing to do.
“My ball handling skills have been exposed somewhat,” Harvin said. “I struggled to even move the ball passed some of the girls in practice. I realize at this level I am going to have to focus and work hard to improve more on things that may have come easier in high school.”
Harvin has found being at Florida State and being part of the team very comfortable. When she came to FSU, there was already a familiar face on the squad. Harvin played AAU ball with teammate Jacinta Monroe and with a fellow friend alongside to experience the same challenges with, things have been easier.
“Jacinta and I are very close,” Harvin said. “If I were to talk to anybody on the team about any problems or anything, she would definitely be the one I would go to.”
Comfort was one of the things that lured the freshman guard to play basketball at Florida State. The number one point she made clear during the recruiting process was that she did not want to leave the state of Florida.
“I picked what I felt to be the best school in Florida and when I came here, the coaches and players welcomed me with open arms,” Harvin said.
From the beginning of the whole recruiting process with Florida State, there was no doubt in Harvin’s mind that the Seminoles were for real.
“When I first arrived on my visit, it was like I was already a part of the team and the way they treated me and my mom while we were up here was just great,” Harvin said.
Although a ferocious competitor on the court, basketball was not always in the plans for Harvin. She began as a cheerleader and moved on from that into boxing. People took notice of her athleticism and encouraged her to try basketball.
“In the sixth grade my cousin started taking me to a court nearby and in about the eighth grade, I started focusing seriously on basketball,” she said.
Harvin is a unique player in that she doesn’t worry about individual stats like scoring a bunch of points but rather how she can contribute to the team in a variety of ways.
“Setting up a defender and making a great pass to a post player or someone cutting through the lane for the finish is what gets my adrenaline going,” Harvin said. “Heart is the strongest part of my game. I go after it from whistle to whistle. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I am giving it my all no matter what.”