Dec. 14, 2004
By Kimberly Wearne, FSU sports information intern
Miles away from her hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee, true freshman guard Tiffiny Buckelew has made some major transitions. Not only has she had to step up her basketball play to keep up with the college game, but Buckelew has also had to deal with the stresses of being a college freshman.
Aggressive defensive play is something that is taking some getting used to for Buckelew. She is not used to the fast pace of college basketball and has learned she must push herself to step up to the challenge. Florida State’s system focuses greatly on defense, something that Buckelew really hadn’t seen prior to her arrival in Tallahassee.
“In high school, I never had to play it [defense] at that kind of intensity and fast pace…that was the biggest transition for me,” Buckelew said. “It made me realize that you had to be in great shape because the pace of college basketball is just sprint, sprint, sprint.”
Being one of two true freshmen on the team, Buckelew has found the most difficulty in being one of the few that has to learn the routine.
“Everything is new,” she said.
Adjusting has been a little easier on her though with the help of a teammate. Buckelew lives lives with fellow Seminole freshman Christie Lautsch and the two have learned to lean on each other.
“We are both going through the same thing and we can talk to each other about it and help each other out,” Buckelew explained.
Companionship plays a major role on the Florida State team. As if the team does not spend enough time together practicing, working out and traveling, when given a free moment they still stick together. Often times they will gather around at a teammate’s apartment and fix dinner for each other.
Buckelew had an impressive high school career and her game will only improve as she plays for the Seminoles. She earned all-district and all-region honors all four years at Bradley Central High School. Averaging 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game made her the logical choice for the most athletic by her senior class. So far this season, Buckelew has been a contributor on Florida State’s undefeated team with action in four games. Being a freshman and learning a whole new system, Buckelew understands that at times, she may have to watch and learn.
“I know I’m going to be more of a role player and I’m ready to step up and be that and let the veterans on the team take us where we need to go this year,” Buckelew said.
Buckelew’s trek to Tallahassee was not by chance as the decision to attend Florida State was an easy one for her. She has been watching Florida State sports with her father since she can remember. She was already familiar with the Florida State campus because for several years her family took frequent trips to visit Florida.
“We always came to look around campus and go to the football games,” Buckelew said. “What really made up my mind was that I really felt like I fit in.”
Like most freshmen, Buckelew has learned to overcome the challenges of being far from home and having to adjust to a completely new environment. Now she has a bit of a different perspective on being away from home.
“I came to realize that you have to make your own home and home is where you are,” she said.
Lucky for Seminole fans, where Buckelew is, is in Tallahassee.