The University of Connecticut will obtain a perfect fit when Bolingbrook’s Morgan Tuck hits the floor as a freshman for the 2012-2013 season.
However, the 6-foot-2 senior center doesn’t want to fit in.
“I want to be remembered,” Tuck said. “I don’t want to be forgotten. I want to make a difference.”
“I’ve told her don’t fit in,” Bolingbrook coach Tony Smith said. “Go out there and make a difference. Don’t just fit in.”
After four successful varsity seasons with the Raiders, she will not be forgotten.
Tuck, the 2011-12 Herald-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year, averaged 27.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.4 assists per game for the 27-2 Raiders, who reached the Class 4A Hinsdale Central supersectional. It was the only time in the last four years Tuck did not bring home a state crown.
“The season didn’t end like we wanted, but I think we did pretty well,” Tuck said. “My goal was to be more of a vocal leader this year and to take on a bigger leadership role.”
Tuck’s transformation from a talented, inexperienced freshman into one of the greatest players to come out of the Joliet area wasn’t easy.
“She had a great work ethic,” Smith said of his first impression of Tuck. “She put in the time. She would practice with the team, then, after practice, she’d work out another hour or two more. She worked and worked and worked. That was the biggest part of her game. Most kids work out, get it over with, go home and want to do something else. But, basketball is her true passion, seven days a week. It will be tough to fill her shoes because those kinds of kids don’t come around too often. We’re hoping her ways rubbed off on the rest of the kids because they want to be like her.”
Tuck said a lot of her development as a basketball player is largely due to Smith.
“He was hard on me as a freshman and I needed that, because I was immature,” she said. “He got me to the next level and I’m ready to play at the next level.”
While Tuck was on the floor, Bolingbrook went 110-9, won three state titles, four sectional championships and four regional crowns. However, all those numbers will be cast aside next season as a true freshman at perennial national powerhouse Connecticut.
“My goal is to get playing time,” said Tuck, who scored 2,460 points and grabbed 992 rebounds during her high school career. “I don’t necessarily have to start, but I don’t want to sit the bench the whole year. I want to play and be able to say I made a difference in the game. I want to learn, improve, get better and become a team player with all the great players they have from all around the country.”
There’s no doubt that Tuck has left her mark on Bolingbrook basketball.
“She came in here and won right away,” Smith said. “She came in here and worked hard as a younger player. She didn’t wait her turn, came in right away and proved herself. Hopefully, other girls will see that and do the same. Some kids come to me and say they want to be like Morgan Tuck. Morgan worked out twice a day, seven days a week. Are you willing to put in that kind of time?”