Entering her senior season as an Arizona Wildcat, forward Alli Gloyd was prepared to take on the responsibility of a leader and conclude her collegiate basketball career on a high note.
However, two weeks prior to the 2013 season starting, Gloyd suffered a season-ending injury during practice to her ACL, forcing her to take on a different role- a vocal leader from the sidelines.
Despite the injury, Gloyd has remained optimistic and has fully embraced her new leadership position.
“At first it was tough,” Gloyd said. “I broke down, but I knew that I had to keep pushing myself in the best way I could. I try to mentor the freshmen along the way to better themselves and the team any way they can.”
Gloyd has stepped up as a vocal leader for the Wildcats and eventually earned the nickname, “Coach Alli”, from her teammates and coaches.
“Alli’s one of our leaders because she comes from the position of being a player,” head coach Niya Butts said. “She has the vantage point of being able to look at what’s happening on the court and understand what our coaching staff is trying to do. She can now speak from the standpoint of saying the coaches are right and the players are receiving it well, because they know she’s been in their position.”
As a junior, Gloyd transferred to Arizona from Mesa Community College after receiving Arizona Junior College Player of the Year. Although her Wildcat career will soon be over, Gloyd credits her journey to Arizona as a great foundation for where she is now.
“Coming in as a junior to a Division I university is different,” Gloyd said. “I have a different perspective and growth than coming in as a freshman or sophomore. I learned the sense of teamwork and sisterhood among my teammates at Mesa. I also learned endurance and that has helped me so much to heal my knee.”
Along with the exertion of effort and time put into the physical rehabilitation of injuries, the mental aspect can be just as strenuous.
“The toughest part is not being able to be on the court for my senior season,” Gloyd said. “I rehab my knee everyday while my teammates practice and travel. I’m trying to make a full recovery and I’m learning how to remind my muscles to work properly.”
Gloyd realizes the path to recovery is a long journey, but with the help of Coach Butts, who acts as a head coach and mentor, she knows she has to step up and be the vocal leader her team expects.
“The day I found out I tore my ACL, it hit me that I wouldn’t be on the court and I started to break down,” Gloyd said. “Coach Butts told me to put my big girl pants on and fill in where my team needs me. She has helped me come a long way in being a vocal leader for our team.”
To help Gloyd maintain her vital role on the Wildcat roster, Butts has guided her through different perspectives to help turn a negative situation into a positive one.
“We talk everyday about how she’s doing and feeling,” Butts said. “I told her to look at things from different viewpoints and realize that she still brings great traits to this team. This injury has made her grow as both a basketball player and young professional because she articulates and speaks her mind.”
Although sitting out her senior season is not what she envisioned, Gloyd has embraced her newfound role as a vocal leader and continues to play an essential part for the Wildcats.