Balancing basketball and school comes easily to Whitney Widaman

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | 7:56 p.m. CST; updated 10:24 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Playing basketball since the age of five, Whitney Widaman is no newcomer.

Widaman, a junior, attends Columbia College and majors in speech communication, but also focuses on her basketball career.

Widaman started playing basketball on a co-ed team at the YMCA in Mexico, Mo. and has only furthered her career to women’s basketball at Columbia College.

Widaman is the 5th woman in Columbia College’s history to score 1,000 or more points.

 Widaman hit the 1,000 mark during the Hannibal La-Grange game last Thursday.

Joining the women's basketball team in 2006, Widaman won’t stop with just 1,000 points. Only a junior, Widaman has the remainder of the 2008-09 season and her senior year ahead of her.

“It was just an awesome feeling,” said Widaman. “I have great teammates, and I think they were even more excited than I was!”
For Widaman, balancing school and basketball came easily because of how long she has done the two activities.

“It’s completely different,” said Widaman.

Going to school, then practice, then the gym and then studying became routine.

But come game time, it’s not about personal records for Widaman.

“Whitney doesn’t focus on individual stats,” said Karen Widaman, Whitney’s mom. “She was clueless that she had reached the 1,000 mark. Whitney focuses on the scoreboard.”
Widaman’s mom has been an influencing factor in her childhood career.

Karen Widaman coached her MAYB (Mid America Youth Basketball) league team in 3rd grade and again in 5th grade with the help of her grandpa.

In high school, Columbia College women's basketball coach Mike Davis coached the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team that Widaman played on. Columbia College teammates Rachel Oswald and Whitney Davis also played on this team.

(Both the MAYB league and the AAU league were not school-associated leagues. Coaches picked players from various schools that they saw potential in.)

“Coming in, knowing he was coaching was helpful,” said Widaman. “We are aggressive players and we work well together.”

Knowing Mike Davis, Whitney Davis, and Rachel Oswald was also comforting for Karen Widaman.

“It was beneficial for the girls to have known each other before college, because they know each other’s habits and they support each other,” said Karen Widaman.

Widaman chose Columbia College over several other schools including Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Colorado, and Bradley.

“I’m proud of her choice to be close to home,” Karen Widaman said.

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