Feb. 13, 2008
Few players were more excited for the start of the 2007-08 season than sophomore Alysha Harvin. The Dania, Fla., native finished her first season at Florida State strong and was looking to make big contributions to this year’s squad, but she had to wait for her season debut.
During the first half of her freshman year, Harvin saw limited minutes as she was trying to learn a new system. An All-American her senior year after averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists at South Broward High School, a trip back home for the holidays did her a world of good.
Prior to the New Year, Harvin was averaging 2.6 points per game, 1.5 rebounds per game in 11.1 minutes. The remainder of the season she averaged 5.3 ppg., 2.2 rpg. and 18.5 minutes. She showed flashes of things to come right away in 2007. Harvin scored 10 points in each of the first two games after the break and added seven rebounds against Boston College.
During the last month of the regular season Harvin really came into her own. She scored over nine points pre game down the stretch, including a then career-high nine points in the regular-season finale at Wake Forest.
That performance against the Demon Deacons earned her spot in the starting line-up. Harvin played an important part of the Seminoles’ run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. With such a great ending to the season, there was no telling how well she would play during the start of the 2007-08 campaign.
Unfortunately, the start of the season for Harvin would not be November 9 against like the rest of the team. A violation of team standards would keep her out of the first nine games of the season. She could practice with the team, but when it came time to dress out for home games or travel with the team, Harvin was left out. She had to wear street clothes at home games and could not travel.
“Mentally I beat myself up because I felt like I let my teammates and coaches down,” Harvin said. “At first when I had to be on the scout team, I felt that I wasn’t part of the team, but the more I thought about it I realized that by being on the scout team I was helping the team prepare for the game.”
While Florida State definitely would miss her ability to knock down the outside shot, rebound relentlessly or hustle for loose balls, there was a bigger intangible that Harvin brought to the game that was missing from the start of the year.
Even though she was only a freshman last year, Harvin was the player who would rally the troops when things were going bad. She would be the one to lift everyone’s spirits and keep the mood light when things were not going the Seminoles’ way.
Despite that she couldn’t suit up or travel, Harvin’s teammates and coaches made sure she still felt a part of the team. They would send her text messages from the road or put notes in her locker letting her know much she meant to them.
“It felt good that they did that for me,” Harvin admitted. “It showed me how much they really cared for me instead of them thinking `She’s strong enough, she can get through this by herself.’ That was so important to me because I don’t care who you are, there is going to come a point in everyone’s life where they need somebody.”
It’s that’s same spirit that kept her going through the first month and half of the season before her return. A good majority of players would have needed to play several games before they were in sync with the team, but not Harvin.
In her first game back, she scored a career-high 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and had four steals against Alabama State. She has been strong on the boards, averaging 4.8 per game and has knocked down some big three pointers.
More importantly, the Seminoles have their rock to lean against when times are thin. FSU will need that as they start the tough ACC schedule today.