Feb. 13, 2002
By Aimee Carpenter, FSU Sports Information
Everybody has their shortcomings, but LaKesha Springle, well, she’s just short. But perhaps we should say, she’s not just short. At 5’3, Springle is not what most would think of as their ideal Division I college basketball player. And most certainly not a team captain who has started 41 games in her four-year career at Florida State. But she has.
How did she do it? Springle used what everyone said wasn’t possible to help her accomplish what she wanted most.
“I had high school teammates tell me, ‘You are too small. You will never go D-I,'” Springle said. “I let that motivate me. I had to prove them wrong.”
Despite the fact that Springle grew up in Thomasville, Georgia, just 30 minutes from the campus of Florida State University, she had only attended one women’s basketball game before being recruited by the Seminoles. In fact, she didn’t really follow the Seminoles at all until Heisman Trophy winner and fellow Thomasville-native Charlie Ward, attended the school. However, once she was introduced to the university, she was hooked, and chose to come here over the ACC’s Clemson, which was also vying for the Georgia Class AA Player of the Year.
“A large reason I came here was because it is 30 minutes away from my home,” Springle explained. “I chose Florida State so that my family and friends could come and watch me play.”
And she has indeed played some good basketball over the years. Springle started every game last year for the Seminoles, who went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and had the program’s best season in a decade. In those games, she averaged 26 minutes and 3.9 points per game. She was also second on the team with 55 steals and had the highest assist to turnover ratio (1.9) on the team. It is these factors that played a large part in head coach Sue Semrau and her staff naming Springle as the team captain for this, her senior, season. The fact that she has proven herself as a leader on and off the court made her an easy candidate for the role.
“I am the type of leader who gives and demands respect,” Springle said. “I try to lead by example, but I will say something if it needs to be said. I think my teammates have learned that about me, too. They can say what they need to say to me if I am doing something wrong.”
The Seminoles have needed leaders this season with the way things have played out and although the Seminoles’ 11-11 record is not what Springle had in mind for her senior season, she is able to use it as a learning experience and apply it to other aspects of her life.
“I have learned to overcome adversity,” she said. “Basketball may be a priority right now, but there are bigger things than basketball. Life is hard. And in life, there are going to be times when things aren’t going right. It is how you react to what is going on and how you get through it that shows your character.”
And with the type of character Springle has shown, she is bound to go far in life. She is majoring in Sport Management and her dream is still to be a part of professional basketball, however she realizes she probably won’t be on the court.
“I want to work in the front office of an NBA or WNBA team,” Springle said. “I am trying to gain contacts. Who knows, I may end up somewhere else, but for right now that is what I am focusing on.”
And we have seen what Springle can do when she puts her mind to it.