In life, confidence is needed in different aspects. Confidence allows for an individual to know that he or she can accomplish whatever is in front of them.
The same goes for the game of basketball. Whether it is the confidence to step into a pivotal three-point basket or taking a charge against the opposing team’s most intimidating threat, confidence allows one to be the best version of themselves.
After a year off due to an injury, Desiree Elmore is looking for that confidence every time she steps onto the hardwood floor of Walsh Gymnasium. The sophomore Syracuse transfer said she had lost confidence in herself as a basketball player after not playing in a game for the entire 2017-18 campaign.
Now, a vital piece off of the bench, Elmore has improved upon the belief in herself, which has increased her playing time over the past month. This is all because of the trust between her and her coach, Anthony Bozzella.
“I just want to be as productive as I am when I am on the floor,” Elmore said. “He trusts me, so as long as I am productive and doing whatever I need to do to help the team out, I believe my minutes will continue to increase and it will give my team a better chance to win.”
Bozzella has always believed Elmore to be a complete basketball player, inciting the reason why he wants to continue to have the 5-foot-10 forward on the court.
“She can do a little of everything,” Bozzella said. “She has got the best footwork of any kid I have seen in a long time. She can shoot a three, she can shoot a 15-footer. She knows how to play the game.”
Although Bozzella sees immense potential from the former McDonald’s All-American, he was unable to get the five-star recruit to sign with Seton Hall when she came out of her high school in Connecticut, as Elmore signed with Syracuse. After just one season with the Orange, Elmore decided to transfer, but would not leave behind what she learned in upstate New York.
“Being at Syracuse definitely helped me learn a lot about the game, especially playing behind a lot of seniors. I learned a lot from them,” Elmore said. “Now, playing here, although the conference is different, I am able to understand the game and take little parts of their game and implement it here when needed.”
Once Bozzella and his staff were notified of Elmore’s decision to change schools, they capitalized immediately and showed their interest as best as they could.
“We were the first people to talk to her,” Bozzella said. “We brought her in quickly, we made an adjustment to get her here quickly. I think that was important that she saw the love of us right away.”
Elmore remembered the characteristics of Bozzella during her recruiting process, and knew that he was a coach she wanted to play for.
“Coach B was also recruiting me early coming out of high school,” Elmore said. “He just has a very unique personality. It is very welcoming. He wants what he wants, and he expects a lot from me. He holds me to a specific standard and I can appreciate that coming from him because of what I have been through. He knows what I can do.”
With confidence continuing to build in Elmore, she will look to continue upping her average of 8.5 points per game and see more time on the court, especially after registering a career-high 23 minutes against DePaul. She will continue to go by Bozzella’s advice to improve and to just be her.
“He wants me to be just a basketball player,” Elmore said. “I understand the game so he knows I can score when I need to score. He knows that I can pass the ball a lot in the post in order to get a better shot. Play defense, help when help is needed. He just wants me to be a basketball player overall and feel the game.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @robert_fallo.