Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tech's Redick Continues Family Tradition

When your last name is Redick, you are bound to turn some heads in the sport of basketball, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This is the dilemma for freshman forward Abby Redick, who enters the ACC under the shadow of her brother J.J.

If you have watched a Duke basketball game within the last five years, you know who her brother is.

J.J. is one of the most productive ACC basketball players in the past decade. After four impressive years at Duke, Redick holds the NCAA record for free throw percentage and three-pointers made. He also ranks fourth in ACC history with 2,527 career points.

He is now a guard on the Orlando Magic in the National Basketball Association.

If Abby’s brother’s stats weren’t enough for him to have a place in history, the way he was treated while on the road by opposing fans certainly was.

Redick earned a reputation in the ACC as one of the most hated players in the conference, mostly because of his great success. Fans of North Carolina and Maryland took pride in finding the most horrible things they could legally do or say to Redick.

Needless to say, most of the venom directed at Redick over the duration of his Duke career is not fit to print.

“I think the way he handled himself, where ever he went, just showed how much character he had,” Abby said.

When looking at schools to play for, Abby weighed these circumstances in her decision, but chose to play in the conference that revered and tortured her brother at the same time.

“Ultimately, ACC-wise, Tech was the only one who really recruited me, so it wasn’t really a contest,” she said.

“I can’t say that I would have gone to Maryland — no, I wouldn’t have. If the opportunity would have presented itself and I liked the campus and the players, then maybe,” she continued.

While J.J. is the most famous of the Redick children, the entire family is full of successful athletes. Older sisters Catie and Alyssa both played basketball for Campbell University. David is a tight end for Marshall’s football team and now Abby is a Hokie.

With the exception of her two older twin sisters, all of Abby’s siblings are at least three years apart. So while they all loved sports, there wasn’t a ton of competition amongst the kids.

However, Abby was helped a lot by her siblings’ support and knowledge of their past experiences.

“They were always supportive because they had already experienced what the younger one was experiencing,” Abby’s father, Ken, said. “They were always more inspiring to each other than competitive.”

In high school, Abby was Hidden Valley High School’s star player. As a junior, she averaged 11 points, almost seven rebounds and led the team in assists. That year, Hidden Valley won the group AA state championship for the second-straight year over Waynesboro, 59-45. Redick scored 16 points and had a team-high four assists in the game.

After her junior year, Redick didn’t get to enjoy another successful season, though. Instead, in August before her senior season, Redick tore her anterior cruciate ligament while in a camp at Vanderbilt.

Though she returned late in the season to help her team earn a fourth consecutive state tournament appearance, her high school career ended in a 45-57 loss to Ashby.

“I think anyone who gets injured, especially during your senior year of high school — it’s not something you want to do, but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” Redick said of the experience. “I honestly learned a lot from the injury just like a lot of athletes do. ... I learned a lot and I guess it toughened me up.”

After the injury there were a few teams that stopped calling, but Tech kept actively pursuing Abby.

“Abby had just been to our camp and had done a great job,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. “I really got to know her more as a person and a player and that is how she showed me how valuable she can be to the team. ... For me, it was a no brainer to stick with her.”

Now that she is a freshman at Tech, Abby has been able to make an immediate impact on the women’s basketball team. She has appeared in all 19 games this season as one of the first players to come off the bench for Dunkenberger.

She is averaging three points and almost four rebounds in just 15 minutes a game with her best performance coming against Longwood in her first game. To begin her career she tallied 10 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes of play.

More than scoring though, Dunkenberger has been pleased with the skills Redick displays that don’t necessarily show up in the box score.

“I think she is doing a lot of the intangibles,” Dunkenberger said. “Her stats aren’t overwhelming, but I think she is adjusting to the speed of the game, especially at the ACC level.”

While most people would try to get out of their siblings’ shadow and make a name for themselves, Abby doesn’t see it as a problem.

“I’m okay with it because of who he is and who he is going to be in the NBA,” she said. “It just goes to show you how hard of a worker he is. I’m really proud of him.

“Maybe I’ll shy away from his shadow, but I’m just going to do whatever Tech needs me to bring to the table.”

Getting out of J.J.’s shadow will be a difficult task to accomplish, but Dunkenberger thinks that she has a lot of room to grow and will continue to improve.

“I certainly think her scoring will go up and her rebounding will go up, as well as her minutes,” Dunkenberger said. “As for watching her growth over the next three years ... right now she is playing more of a power forward spot. I think as time moves on she will be able to get away from the basket a little bit.”

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