WEST LAFAYETTE – From Homestead blue to Purdue old gold, Karissa McLaughlin had about a 31/2-hour car ride between the end of her high school basketball career and her new start as a Boilermaker.
After the Indiana All-Star game on June 11 in Frankfort, Kentucky, McLaughlin arrived on campus and has begun to establish a new routine, balancing conditioning, workouts and classes.
It's a new level of intensity, but the 2017 Indiana Miss Basketball is up for the challenge.
“The first week has been great,” McLaughlin said on campus Thursday. “The transition has been awesome with a lot of incredible people by my side with a great coaching staff, great teammates and I'm really excited for the future here.”
The team is allowed two hours for an organized on-court practice per week during the summer and coach Sharon Versyp wastes no time.
“Every day is intense, as it should be,” Versyp said of the morning conditioning session.
“(The conditioning is) a lot different (from high school),” McLaughlin said. “You're playing at the college level now and you're training to be in the best condition you can possibly be.”
McLaughlin is one of five newcomers and much of the first week was spent undergoing physicals and blood work and signing up for classes.
“They get along great, the energy is great,” Versyp said. “The first week is always difficult because it's a different type of intensity, it's a different type of schedule with scheduling classes and getting to class. It's a college experience, which is much different than high school.”
McLaughlin's schedule for Thursday consisted of a conditioning practice from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Mackey Arena, a speech and public class at 9 a.m., a shoot-around with teammates prior to the one-hour workout at 2 p.m. at the CoRec and study tables from 4-6 p.m.
“It's great to start your routine early to get ready for the fall,” McLaughlin said, “and I think there are a lot of great people around this program that have helped us transition, run smoothly. Having this routine is really helpful especially coming in as a freshman.”
Even in the first week, Versyp is further discovering just how well McLaughlin fits into the Boilers program.
“Very coachable, extremely coachable,” Versyp said. “Energized, always smiling, always is one that wants to do what's right for herself but right for the team so has blended right in. She and another freshman (guard Léony Boudreau) bring in a lot of energy.
“I already adjusted her shot (to release the shot higher), and she loves it immensely right now. I worked with her five minutes and she's already changed it. Obviously, the game is a lot more physical and defensively going to have to work on quickness. We're learning a lot about the group and that's all that matters right now.”
With practices, conditioning, day camps on campus and classes, McLaughlin is just focusing on improving her overall fitness and the team's chemistry before official practices begin in the fall.
“Just trying to be in the best condition I possibly can, pay attention to every detail and I have a lot of great teammates by my side who help me,” she said. “I think this coaching staff has a lot of knowledge and I'm looking forward to learning a lot from them. This summer's going to be great and I'm looking forward to it.”