By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Basketball great and North Carolina native Michael Jordan once said, “My body could stand the crutches, but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.”
That mentality is shared by Timiyah Brown, an EBCI tribal member from the Yellowhill Community, who just completed her third year as a varsity member of the Cherokee Lady Braves basketball team where she was named Honorable Mention All-Big Smoky Mountain Conference.
This year was quite remarkable considering that less than six months before the start of the season, Brown suffered a torn ACL (anterior crucial ligament) and meniscus in her knee. Doctors told her to try to do five days a week of rehabilitation work on her knee. That wasn’t good enough for Brown…she did seven.
“I went to Asheville Physical Therapy three days a week,” she related, “and, on the days that I didn’t go to Asheville, I worked with Jon Mitzel, our trainer. And, Jon helped a lot. He was here on days that he didn’t have to be. He came on Saturdays too.”
Brown said the hardest part of rehab was strengthening her quadriceps muscle. She said overall, the process was hard both physically and mentally. “It was depressing. I got depressed about it. It was bad.”
When she took the floor for this season, she felt some trepidation at first. “I was scared that I was going to re-injure it because as a freshman, I rolled my ankle and missed the first part of the season. Then, sophomore year, I pulled my hamstring and missed half of the season. So, when I hurt my knee, I was determined to get back so I could play a full season, and I did play a full season this year.”
Once she got over her initial fears very early on in the season, Brown was good to go. “I just put it in the back of my mind.”
The Lady Braves finished the season at 25-3, won the Big Smoky Mountain Conference regular season title, and finished second in the conference tournament. Overall, Brown was happy with their season. “We won conference, and we battled in the (state) tournament. The younger girls stepped up a lot. We’re really going to miss Pooh (King) next year.”
Chris Mintz, Lady Braves head coach, commented on Brown’s comeback, “An ACL is a very serious injury that a lot of people struggle trying to come back from, and for her to be able to come back so fast and be able to play the whole season is a testament to her. She worked her tail off, went to rehab every day, and drove to Asheville, and did everything that she needed to do to get herself in the best position she could be. I think she’ll be twice the player next year because she’ll be so much more confident on her legs.”
Brown said being named to the Honorable Mention All-BSMC team made her feel really good. “It boosted my confidence for next year to try to get All-Conference.”
She is already looking forward to her senior season. “I’m just going to work hard over the summer and play AAU ball. I’m just going to try to stay healthy all summer and not get hurt.”
Basketball is a huge part of her life, and she enjoys all aspects of the game. “It’s just fun. You get to meet new people and get closer to people that you wouldn’t normally hang out with.”
Her positive attitude shines through, both on the court and off. “It’s a mental thing. You have to make yourself happy because if you’re down, it just makes it harder.”