It will take another year, but when Centrese McGee finally does suit up for the DePaul University women's basketball team, it will be worth the wait for Blue Demons fans and for McGee.
The T.F. North grad transferred from the University of Illinois. She said it had nothing to do with the dismissal of coach Jolette Law, nor the hiring of Matt Bollant as the new coach, but she just wanted to be closer to home.
Per the NCAA transfer rule, McGee must sit out this coming season. She also sat out 2011-12 because of a torn ACL in her right knee.
"That was hard, not being able to play or practice," McGee said. "I couldn't practice, so I just watched and learned."
And absorbed as sort of a student-coach.
"I learned a lot and you do see things differently than when you are on the court," McGee said. "I still missed being out there."
She will not suit up again, but it is different.
"I can practice with my team," McGee said. "I won't be able to play."
She is excited to be on the Lincoln Park campus and to play for Doug Bruno.
"DePaul is a first-class program and so is Doug," McGee said. "It is a good school academically and I am excited to play."
Excitement is something that McGee never shows on the court. She was always even-keel, even in close games. She ran the show for Tim Zasada's Meteors for two seasons and before that, two years for Gerald Ewing at Washington.
"Tee Tee" will be a big asset to the Blue Demons and will be one of the players to watch in the Big East. Her demeanor is perfect for the court as she has good court sense. She is not the "rah-rah" type, but has never been shy of encouraging her teammates.
It is too bad she missed her sophomore season. She started all 32 of the Fighting Illini's games as a true freshman. She led all Big Ten freshmen in rebounding (5.3 rpg) and was second in steals (1.2 spg). She also averaged 5.7 points per game.
What is equally impressive is McGee's academic record. At Illinois, the kinesiology major was honored for academic success with her being inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. As good as she is in basketball, she is that good in the classroom.
McGee has always conducted herself well and while she will smile on occasion, she is pretty focused whether it be breaking a press or passing a test.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.