Shea Ralph on Brianna Banks "she has grown up a little bit"
While I haven't been able to interview UConn sophomore guard Brianna Banks since she suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Feb. 2 win over St. John's. I have been hearing nothing but glowing reports on how she is dealing with the torn ACL emotionally.
I interviewed assistant coach Shea Ralph, no stranger to ACL tears, for another story I am working on and figured there would be no better person to discuss how Banks is handling the reality that she won't play again this season.
"Everybody wants to talk about it right after it happens and nobody wants to talk to you three months in, four months in when you are the in between (period)," Ralph said. "They want to talk to you six months in when you are about to get on the court. Right after it happens everybody is 'hey, how are you doing?' She is doing great because there are a ton of ways that you can react to something like that and she is doing awesome.
"She hasn't had surgery yet and that is kind of the reality check and the first couple weeks of rehab are hard so I think if she keeps the mindset she has now, it is going to be a lot easier for her to get through it but she always has a lot of great support. Our training staff and players are awesome with her. It is easy to cave into your own world and feel sorry for yourself and I have not seen that from her one time. She is out here involved in practice, it is kind of neat to see. She has grown up a little bit."
One thing I have noticed in the years covering UConn is that injured players are always involved with the team. You can see it on game days as players, torn ACLs and all, help shag rebounds or do whatever they can. I can't tell you how many times I have seen players on other teams sitting on the bench during pre-game warmups. I asked Ralph if that is an indication of the high quality caliber of kid the Huskies look to recruit.
"We try to do that with our recruiting, bring those type of kids in but it also tells you a lot about them but about how we expect things to be done here," Ralph said. "There have been a lot of kids here who have gone through injuries, Brianna Banks is not the first one and we will remind her of that. I told her I wasn't even good until after my second ACL and I joke with her because I don't ever talk about that stuff like that."