ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — From academics, to time management, to practice, to meeting new friends, to learning the way around campus, the jump from high school to college is hard for a student athlete. The break couldn’t have come at a better time for UAlbany freshman Lilly Phillips.
“It’s great having school over now, just focusing on basketball, she said.” First semester grades are in and in the subject of basketball, Phillips earned an A plus.
“She’s just been one of those players that you recruit and she’s just surprised you every day,” said UAlbany head coach Colleen Mullen, who recruited Phillips from Cambridge where she was a post player. Now the Greenwich native is the team’s starting point guard, bringing a skillset that plays well at the position.
“Her ability to break her player off the dribble, get to the rim. Her ability to pass, and really her ability to shoot the three has been just amazing,” said Mullen.
Through the first 10 games, Phillips is averaging about six points, two rebounds, and two assists, but the numbers don’t show the intangibles.
“She’s a great teammate. She’s unselfish… Her composure for a freshman, it truly is impressive,” said Mullen.
Typically defense and ball security are among the biggest adjustments all freshmen must make, let alone point guards who are the primary ball handlers. However, Phillips is handling the transition just fine. She has more assists than turnovers, and already has 13 steals.
“I’ve learned from the coaches a lot, which has really helped,” said Phillips, “and other players. Morgan [Haney] has helped a lot just being another point guard.”
Mullen is a former point guard as well, so she understands the nuances of the position. She says Phillips always gives 100%.
“She’s so coachable,” Mullen gushed. “She takes information and she processes it, and she then she can actually put it, and make changes. And that’s really hard as a young person, like hearing something and then doing something, making those changes, you don’t see that very often. I think that’s what’s allowed her to be good so quickly.”
When “good” is her floor as a freshman, her collegiate ceiling is sky high.
“We haven’t even seen her best basketball yet,” Mullen added.