Senior LaKeisha Eaddy took on the job of point guard last year for the first time ever. She led the Owls with 165 assists, averaged 11.1 points per game (second on the team) and recorded 83 steals last season.
Last season was a transition year for senior point guard LaKeisha Eaddy, who made the switch from shooting guard, her natural position, to point guard. This year, she has a better feel for leading the team up and down the court.
“Being a point guard last year is really going to help me out this year because I understand the position a lot better, and the coach has really helped me out a lot with that,” Eaddy said.
Eaddy played well last year despite having to learn a new position during the season. She led the team and Atlantic Ten Conference with 165 assists and currently ranks fourth all-time in career assists with 375. This preseason, Eaddy was named to the Second-Team All-Conference team and first on the All-Conference Defensive Team. Despite all the individual accolades, Eaddy is more focused on an A-10 title.
“You always have your individual goals, but my concern is the team goals,” Eaddy said. “We’re trying to win the A-10 this year, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to do that, and if I don’t meet my individual goals and we win the A-10, that’s all that’s important to me.”
Playing point guard is one of the more cerebral positions on a basketball team, as that player is responsible for running the offense and vocally leading teammates. Second-year coach Tonya Cardoza’s specialty is teaching the guard position, and last season, she was determined to mold Eaddy into a point guard and a leader on the floor.
“She saw that I wasn’t going to let up. She probably wanted me to back off of her with all the yelling and screaming at her, and I didn’t.” Cardoza said. “She has to be an extension of me on the floor, so she has to be that leader. She has to be vocal, and that wasn’t in her nature, but seeing the success that we’ve had when she was like that, she realized, ‘OK, I have to start buying into this.’”
Eaddy said she found working with Cardoza to be very similar to working with former coach Dawn Staley, who is now coaching at the University of South Carolina.
“Coach Cardoza is more into transition defense, and I feel like Coach Staley was more into breakdowns and getting us to see things set wise, but they were similar in how they would teach us and treat us as players,” Eaddy said. “They both have taught me a lot about what it takes to be a successful guard.”
Cardoza notes that while Eaddy has developed as a point guard, she also plays a more prominent leadership role. This season, she was once again elected as a team captain, taking on a role similar to the one she shared with former forward Shenita Landry last season.
“She wants to be that that person. She wants to be the leader speaking up for the team,” Cardoza said. “She’s grown into it and matured a lot.”
“With me being a point guard, you automatically are the leader, so I think my position has given me that role,” Eaddy added.
Teammates and a few friends have compared Eaddy to former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson, bestowing the nickname “Little A.I.” on her.
“Some people call me that because I have the same demeanor on the court, the quickness, the ability to pass the ball and see the floor. That’s basically why I got that name,” Eaddy said. “It’s not a bad thing as long as it’s not his attitude that they say I have.”
Brian Dzenis can be reached at email@example.com.