Nov. 11, 2011
Editor's note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Thursday, July 28, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2011-12 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kamille Wahlin has been through the grind of three seasons as a member of the University of Iowa women's basketball team. She's a three-year starter, leading the Hawkeyes to 63 victories and three NCAA Tournament berths.
In 2011-12, Wahlin's position with the team is evolving.
"My role has gotten a little bit bigger," said Wahlin, a senior guard from Crookston, Minn. "As a senior you always want to be a good leader, you always want to be more positive and pushing your teammates to be the best they want to be.
"The leadership responsibilities that I put on my shoulders and the things I expect myself to do are to come to practice every day and give it 100 percent. I am trying to go 100 percent and be an example, as well as being more vocal; making sure my teammates are hearing my voice -- a positive voice."
Wahlin is one of four seniors on the 2011-12 roster along with Kalli Hansen, Megan Considine and Kelly Krei. As the team's starting point guard, she assumes more of the leadership responsibilities. With five true freshmen, including three guards, Wahlin's mentoring role is crucial.
"You always look to your seniors to be the example," said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. "She has to embrace those freshmen and teach them how to be an Iowa women's basketball player. That's not only putting on the uniform, but that's how to be on the court, how we act in the classroom, how we act in the community.
"Kamille really has to teach these freshmen how to act because that's the next generation of Iowa women's basketball players."
Wahlin recalls the 2008-09 season when it was her watching, listening and observing the upperclassmen, trying to learn the ropes of the college basketball landscape.
"I remember being in the freshmen's position, and I was really looking up to Kristi (Smith) and Wendy (Ausdemore)," said Wahlin. "I always watched what they did and how they went about their business both on and off the court.
"Now that I am a senior, I know those (freshmen) girls are probably doing the same thing, so I am trying to represent the program and show them how coach Bluder wants this program to be run."
Wahlin made her adjustment to the collegiate game quickly. She made her first career start on Jan. 26, 2009, against Michigan, posting a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. She is believed to be the first Hawkeye to accomplish the feat in their first career start. Wahlin went on to start the final 14 games and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team.
As a sophomore, Wahlin earned third-team All-Big Ten honors after averaging 14.2 points and 3.2 assists to go along with school-record tying 84 3-point field goals. Last season, she was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection after averaging 12 points and leading the team with 117 assists.
Being a three-year starter gives Wahlin the credibility to lead her teammates. It also gives her the complete and total trust from Iowa coaching staff.
"I think coach Bluder has a lot of trust in me, and she's communicated that to me," said Wahlin. "She tells me that I have the green light to call plays and communicate what I see on the court because her and I have to be on the same page at all times."
"Kamille has the green light; Jaime Printy has the green light," said Bluder. "There is no doubt in my mind. I have confidence when she shoots the ball, whether it is off the dribble or a 3-point shot."
Bluder's trust in Wahlin's shooting comes from the guard's unwavering commitment to put in the daily hard work.
"She has the right kind of work ethic it requires," said Bluder. "You can be a good player, but if you don't work at it, it doesn't go anywhere.
"She's gotten smarter and does the extra things. If we have a day off, she doesn't take a day off -- she takes a day off by being in the gym and putting up extra shots."
Wahlin says it is taking countless shots that has made her the shooter she is today. In 96 career games, she has made 41.4 percent (394-of-592) from the field, 167 3-pointers, and is an 82 percent (129-of-157) free-throw shooter en route to 1,084 points.
"The key to being a good and consistent shooter is always getting in the gym," said Wahlin. "There is never a day of rest. You always have to have that feel, knowing that if you practice enough and have confidence in your shot.
"It's a lot of mental things as well. Shooters get off, and they don't always make shots, but you have to consistently know that you're going to shoot it when you're open and the next one is going in."
Wahlin's goals for her final season as a Hawkeye are clear cut.
"The goal for this team is to win the Big Ten and get to the NCAA Tournament and Sweet 16," said Wahlin. "As a program we're trying to take the next step and get to somewhere we haven't been yet."
"Individually, I want to do the best as I can to make everyone around me better when we're on the court. I really want to get the most of out of the players around me since it is my last year. I hope to improve their game and hope that they can look up to me."
Wahlin continues to develop, but she has the mindset to take on the part.