January 16, 2001 - by
Junior Lakesha Springle Leads FSU To Early Success

Jan. 16, 2001

Junior Lakesha Springle, the starting point guard for the 11-4 Seminoles, has been a consistent floor general for Florida State this season. Associate Sports Information Director Tina Thomas sat down with Springle on a recent road trip and talked to her about this season, the team and why she and Florida State are having the year they’re having.

You seem much more focused on the court this year. What did you do in the off-season to get ready for this year? “Well, we all get summer workouts and I got up every morning before class and worked out. Then at night, I played ball for like two or three hours.”

What motivated you to work so hard over the summer? “Honestly, the Auburn game last year. I didn’t play at all and that didn’t feel too good. That was motivation enough.”

Did you look at this season as an opportunity since we were going to move April Traylor back to her natural two-guard position? “It was more of a pride thing for me. I didn’t like the way I finished last year. It was more like I know what I can do, so I need to prove it to other people. I need to let my coaches and teammates see the real Kesha, not the Kesha of last year who had a totally different attitude. I just wasn’t myself.”

Because you run the offense on the court, is this your team? “This is Coach Sue’s team. I do what she tells me to do.”

Do you think your teammates look to you when you are on the floor? “There are certain situations that I feel they look at me to calm them down or if they do something wrong, get in their face. I think they expect that of me and if I didn’t do it, they would be disappointed.”

Why did you choose FSU? “It’s close to home and when I came to visit, it was like a family atmosphere. It was like my high school team (Thomasville High). My high school team to me was my second family. I just felt comfortable with all of the players and coaches here.”

What aspect of your game do you feel you have improved the most? “I think I’ve improved in all areas of my game, but I think the most important thing I’ve improved is my defense. Defense is what keeps me on the floor as many minutes as I play right now, because defense starts with me. If I can pick my defense up, then I know my teammates can pick their defense up and that’s our bread and butter.”

What goals have you set for yourself this season? “To be the best point guard in the ACC, to lead my team to the ACC championship and the NCAA tournament.”

Last semester, you made the Dean’s List for the first time. Tell us about that. “I always knew I could do it. It’s just like basketball. I always knew I could play, I just had to do it. I always knew I could get a 3.5 or a 3.8, but I was lazy. This year, I just snapped out of it. You can’t be lazy, you have to do it on the court and in the classroom. You have to be an all-around person. I just got my act together.”

Who do you admire most in life? “My family. My mom, my dad, my aunts and uncles. I even admire my little cousin. Because, first of all, my parents are putting up with me. They work so hard at what they do and it just motivates me.”

What athlete do you admire most? “Probably Michael Jordan because he’s the best in the world at what he does. He hates to lose. I admire that about him, because I hate to lose. I think every athlete models himself or herself after him because he is the best at what he does.”

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? “Communication. I wish I could communicate things better than I do. I think I’ve gotten better at it, but I am still not where I need to be.”

How do you contribute to this team? “I encourage. I tell them when they are doing things wrong and I tell them when they are doing things right. Coach Sue speaks through me, so I think that’s a big thing. I just try to be a leader on and off the court.”

If there was one word to describe you, what would it be? “Heart. Tough. I have so many disadvantages in playing basketball. I am 5’2 ? and I have to have a lot of heart to do what I do at this level.”

Describe your team. “Fun. I’ve never been around a team like this before. We can joke around with each other. One day, we’ll hate each other, but the next minute we’ll be all right and put it behind us and we love each other again. It’s just like having a bunch of sisters.”

Describe your coaches. “Moms. Coach Heintz is like an older, older brother or an uncle. He’s not like a dad because he jokes around too much. Coach Tag is the type of person that’s going to tell you what you’re doing wrong and makes sure you are doing everything right. She won’t let you get away with anything because she’s not supposed to because you’re not going to get away with things in life. Coach J is like a mom. Coach Sue is like a sister, best friend and mom all wrapped into one.”

Are you surprised at the team’s success? “I’m not surprised at our success at all. A lot of people have been working very hard and I think that has a lot to do with it. Our attitudes are totally different. When we played NC State and we were up 12 and then went down 10, in the huddle everybody was like, `Okay, we’re not losing.’ Last year we would have been like `Keep your heads up.’ It doesn’t matter who we play. Our attitudes are that we are not losing and its like that until the end of the game. We expect to come away with a victory. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can beat anybody in the country and everybody feels like that. The coaches have always felt like that. This year, it’s not just them, it all of us now.”

If you could speak to an auditorium of people and encourage them to come see the Seminoles play, what would you tell them about this team? “We fight hard. We have a lot of heart. We won’t stop playing until the clock goes off, until they turn the lights off in the gym. We could be down by 30 or up by 30 and we’d still be fighting.”

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