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Nov. 27, 2004

Spotlight on Takisha Granberry

by Cathy Bongiovi Stewart

Last season as a high school senior, guard Takisha Granberry didn’t know if she’d ever play basketball again. She had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right leg, forcing her to miss 13 games of her final prep season.

“I’ve had two ACL injuries, one in each leg,” Granberry shared. “It’s kind of a struggle right now.”

But the freshman, who committed to UVa during the early signing period last fall, has persevered.

“The first (injury) I did was kind of easy. I was in (ninth grade),” Granberry said. “It’s hard to make the transition from high school to college and even worse with an ACL injury. I’m still recovering from it. The rehab (the second time) has been more intense and harder. The first time I did (rehab) two or three times a week. Since I’ve been (at UVa), it’s every day. I still have to do team conditioning and weight training.”

Adjusting to college life has been easier for Granberry than dealing with her injury. Rated No. 18 in the country by All-Star Girls Report and No. 22 by the Blue Star Index , she was named a Street & Smith’s All-American and Parade All-American. The 5-11 guard from Charlotte, N.C., averaged 16.8 points per game in high school. A multi-tasker, Granberry looks to add to UVa’s guard strength.

“Takisha can do it all,” head coach Debbie Ryan said upon her signing. “She has the ability to slash, to shoot the three, and to score. What makes her unique is that she has great defensive skills. She’s exactly what we needed.”

Granberry has played in each of Virginia’s games this season as a reserve. Averaging eight minutes of action, she is a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line and has a three-point bucket in the early going.

As a prep, Granberry was a member of the USA Youth Developmental Festival South Team and an Adidas Top 10 Camp Upperclass All-Star. Named North Carolina’s Miss Basketball, Granberry earned the 2003 MECA 8 Conference Player of the Year honors.

But the Scholar Athlete and honor roll student has found that time management has been the biggest change from her high school years compared to her college days.

“In high school I wasn’t required to go to pre-game meals, etc.,” she said. “Now pretty much my whole day is full. In high school it wasn’t.”

A student of the game since age eight, Granberry credits a neighborhood mom for starting her basketball career.

“I started playing with my cousins every day, but I didn’t know I was any good,” Granberry said. “A neighbor saw me play, and she invited me to come play with her team.”

A distant cousin to New York Knick Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Granberry has relied upon family to get her through the tough times.

“My mom,” Granberry said of who’s had the biggest influence on her life, “because she’s never missed one of my games. She also encourages me.”

Encouragement was another advantage she received from Virginia. One of the most highly recruited high school players, Granberry was impressed with the Cavaliers coaching staff.

“Virginia has a great head coach in Debbie Ryan, and I felt that UVa was the place that could take me to the next level,” Granberry said. “I wanted to contribute right away.”

Her contributions to the Cavaliers’ success as a true freshman so far are an early indication of the fruitful career that lies ahead of her.

Get to Know Takisha

Food: Spaghetti
Ice cream: Cookies & Cream
Color: Red
Movie: Love & Basketball
Actor: Denzel Washington
Actress: Vivica A. Fox
TV Show: Martin
Children’s Book: Goosebumps
Cartoon: Scooby-Doo

Three words that best describe me are … loyal, driven, laid-back

I’d like to switch places for one day with …
someone who is homeless and jobless
to see how it is on the other side.

My advice to a young athlete is …
don’t ever let anyone distract you
from what you want to do
and be hard on yourself.

The person I admire most is …
my mother. She’s a single parent
who always does what she needs
to do to support me.
She has never missed
one of my games,
and she always shows me
how much she loves me.

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