Coyne to fly with Eagles
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodayLAKE PLACID - All of the hard work and sacrifice that Alex Coyne put into becoming a better player paid off when she signed a basketball scholarship with the University of Southern Mississippi on Wednesday.
Published: November 15, 2012
Published: November 15, 2012
"It means everything to be able to play basketball in college," Coyne said. "I've been working for it and it's been a dream of mine since I was little.
"A lot of sweat and tears have gone into this moment."
Coyne, who transferred from Pennsylvania last year, is a talented point-guard with great court vision and an outstanding outside shot.
She led the Green Dragons to a district runner-up finish last year, averaged 14.5 points, 5.4 steals and 7.2 assists, and was selected to the Highlands Today All-Highlands Girls Basketball Team.
"I've been playing since I was in second grade and my parents met on a basketball court and both of them played basketball in high school and college," Coyne said. "My brother and sister played and I always had a ball in my hand when I was at their practices.
"I love basketball because when I'm in a game I get a kind of an adrenaline rush from playing."
Coyne, who has uncanny court vision and great passing ability, had numerous offers, but she decided that the Division I Golden Eagles were the right fit academically and athletically.
"I was also looking at Florida Southern, Cleveland State and the service academies," the Green Dragon athlete said. "I fell in love with Southern Mississippi's campus when we visited in September and I felt comfortable and accepted by the other players and the coaching staff.
"The team kept in touch after my visit and showed that they cared about me."
Her mother, Jackie Coyne, is the Lake Placid girls basketball coach and has seen Alex develop her game over time.
"Alex is an old-school point guard," the Green Dragon coach said. "She looks to drive and dish the ball and does a good job of pressuring the ball which makes our team defense better.
"She has excellent court vision, can score in a number of ways and does whatever it takes to make us a better team."
The University of Southern Mississippi is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the 17,000-student school competes in Conference USA against UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa, UTEP, Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane, UAB and Marshall.
The Golden Eagles have a solid women's basketball program, which has qualified for the NCAA tournament 10 times.
Coyne is hoping to see a decent amount of playing time her freshman year, while learning the Southern Mississippi offense from a senior point guard.
"I'm not going to be red-shirted," said Coyne, 17. "They have an All-Conference senior point-guard and I plan on going there and learning a lot from her.
"I can develop as I grow older and I'm looking forward to learning from one of the best players in the conference."
Making the jump to Division I is going to be an adjustment for the talented Green Dragon athlete.
"I know it's a big jump in competition, but I look forward to the challenge," Coyne said. "I think I can adapt if I work hard and learn the offense."
Having a daughter earn a college scholarship is something to be proud of as a parent.
"We couldn't be prouder of Alex," said Coach Coyne. "This is beyond our wildest expectations and going through the recruiting process the past four years has been very neat. We're pleased with her choice because we talked as a family about taking basketball out of the equation and which school would she be happiest at and it's Southern Mississippi."
Taking the next step in life and moving far away from home presents a big challenge for any youngster.
"Moving away from my family is the hardest part," Coyne said. "Becoming independent and growing up is a learning experience and one that I'm looking forward to."