By Mark Janssen
Coach Deb Patterson defines the moment as "... one of those when something really good happens to you and you ask, 'How did that drop out of the sky?' "
The moment came last December when Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz made a cross-campus call with the message that her outside-hitter, JuliAnne Chisholm, had an interest in playing basketball after her volleyball career was over next year.
"I was there and ready," said Chisholm of getting four minutes of playing time this past Tuesday in a victory over South Dakota State. "If the coaches wanted to put me in, I was ready. I was nervous about remembering the plays, but at the end of the day it's basketball. It's a game I've been playing since I was a second grader. Basketball is basketball."
Well, only sort of ready. You see, Chisholm's first practice with the team was only the day before, and just two days removed from helping her K-State volleyball team to a victory over Colorado in the season finale.
"Why sit around and wait?" Chisholm said when asked if she thought about taking a short break. "I wasn't going to get any better by waiting."
A product of Hillsboro (Kan.) High School, Chisholm had the talent to be recruited by K-State in both sports.
"That was crazy," she reflected. "Never would I dream that I would be offered by multiple sports. It was tough. I loved basketball, but I loved volleyball, and I loved both coaches. At the end of the day, God had it set for me to play volleyball first, and that's what I did."
Patterson, however, faults herself a bit for nudging Chisholm into that decision.
"JuliAnne had been to our camps and we knew she was a great athlete," said Patterson. "I wish we could have snagged her, but we probably waited too long and volleyball went at her more aggressively."
In reality, Chisholm could also be helping the K-State track and field program as a multi-eventer as she won seven Class 3A state titles in the hurdles and 400-meter relay, plus continues to hold Trojan school marks in the high jump, 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and 1,600-meter run.
On Chisholm, Patterson said, "She just brings a competitive disposition with great leadership and instinct to the program. It doesn't matter whether the ball is orange or white, she understands the game."
Referring to Chisholm's brief minutes against South Dakota State, her new coach added, "The defensive instincts she showed were like she pulled them out of her pocket from high school and remembered."
Saying she knows zippo about basketball, Fritz said of what Chisholm could add to Patterson's basketball team, "Her approach will be a plus to the team. She is very focused and she is a very purpose-driven young person. Those things will take her, and whatever team she is on, a long way."
But Chisholm is the first to admit, "I have a lot to learn."
And asked if she was in basketball shape, she laughed, "Oh goodness, no. Not even close."
Oh yes, Chisholm is accomplishing all of this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in the classroom majoring in kinesiology and earning second-team Academic All-America honors in volleyball.
"I don't know how she does it," said KSU teammate Shalin Spani. "I have no clue. She has so many things going on. I have great respect for her."
NO. 12 TO NO. 21
Chisholm is changing uniform numbers from No. 12 in volleyball to No. 21 in basketball.
"Taelor's (Karr) already wearing No. 12, but No. 21 is what I wore in high school, so that wasn't a problem," said Chisholm.
WILDCATS OFF TO IOWA
K-State will put its 6-0 record on the line this afternoon at 2 against No. 18 Iowa in Iowa City as a part of the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge.
With a victory over the Hawkeyes, K-State will have its fourth-longest win streak to open a season in the history of the program.
TWO NEW WILDCATS
Kansas State has added the talents of Haley Texada and Ashia Woods to its roster for the 2011-12 basketball season.
"Haley and Ashia will both add speed and strong ball-handling abilities to our perimeter game," said Patterson. "Haley is as fast with the ball end line to end line as any player we have had at Kansas State. On the defensive end of the floor, she possesses the ability to pick up and defend well at 94-feet. Haley understands high intensity basketball and plays with a great toughness. Her ability to blow by defenders and put pressure on the rim is going to be great asset for us.
"Ashia is a tall guard who is terrific with her finishing ability at the rim. She is versatile, has quick hands and will elevate our level of athleticism on the perimeter. Her skills and 'game' are somewhat like former K-State great, Claire Coggins. Both Ashia and Haley are strong students and they will carry on the great tradition of academic excellence that is a hallmark of our K-State women's basketball program."
Texada is a 5-7 guard from Frisco, Texas, who is ranked as the 75th best guard in the nation by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
Following a 2010 season in which she helped the Wolverines to a state runner-up finish, Texada earned was named a TGCA All-State and TABC All-State recipient, garnered District 9-4A Offensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-District 9-4A first team. She also earned TABC All-Region honors after the 2010 season. For the season, she averaged 14.7 points while shooting 47 percent from the field and pulled in 4.0 rebounds per game.
Woods is a 5-11 guard from Wichita, Kan., and will begin her senior season at Wichita Collegiate High School as a McDonald's All-American candidate. She is a two-time All-State selection by the KBCA and earned All-State honors from the Wichita Eagle following the 2010 season in which she averaged 22.7 points while shooting 55 percent from the field, pulled in 7.4 rebounds and tallied 5.8 steals. Woods is also a three-time All-AVCTL first team honoree and a two-time All-Metro selection by the Wichita Eagle.