While growing up, Taber Spani didn’t go to school. Instead, the classroom came to her.
The Tennessee women’s basketball freshman and her four sisters were home-schooled. In their case, it meant scattering to five different parts of their Lee’s Summit, Mo., home and watching DVDs provided by Pensacola, (Fla.) Christian Academy.
“They’d set up a camera in the back of the classroom,” the 6-foot-1 guard said. “So you’d kind of watch your classes and then you’d have all of your homework and all of your tests and my mom would oversee it.”
Spani still was able to play basketball. Since mom didn’t play teacher’s pet, there was no cutting corners on her education either.
“For me, it was built-in,” she said. “But I think it would take a lot of discipline, just because when you’re by yourself, it’s always natural to not want to do something. I loved it.”
Along with diligence, Spani has a built-in devotion to family and football, along with a desire for her faith to resonate in her life.
Q: Are you a big football fan?
A: Saturdays, if I’m not doing a workout, which I’ll probably come in and shoot, but after that it’s reserved for football.
Q: What position would you have played?
A: I’d either have been a linebacker – because that’s what my dad was and I love to hit, I love that part – or I’d be a quarterback.”
Q: Your dad (Gary) was a star player at Kansas State and with the Kansas City Chiefs. Did you hear a lot of stories growing up?
A: When I was born my dad had already been retired a couple of years. It’s mostly from people … old buddies. They’ll just start talking about it. My dad was ferocious. He was a worker. He was the ultimate worker. He’d run 50 40s every Wednesday in college. He didn’t start, I don’t think, until maybe midway through his freshman year. He didn’t get a chance. And then somebody got hurt and he went in and he had 20-some tackles his first game in college. He kind of took off from there.”
Q: You told me before of your admiration for Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. What is it about him?
A: What I love about him is he was home schooled. His beliefs are very similar. Most importantly, it’s just the way he’s an all-out leader. I love his passion for the game, the way he absolutely leads his team. He’s going to do whatever he can. Maybe people will say he’s not the most skilled athletically, but he gets the job done and he’s going to will his team to victory. I kind of want to be the Tim Tebow of women’s basketball – use my platform to influence people.”
Q: What do you think when you hear about all of the mission work he does?
A: I love it. Obviously his parents, their missionary work is a tremendous outreach. I don’t know what I want to do here, but I want to get involved somehow. I just feel like as athletes, especially at top programs like Tennessee, you only have four years. We have a platform, We have a chance to influence people. If you don’t take advantage of that, I think that’s sad, and I think that’s really selfish. I’m going to do whatever I can. Obviously it comes hand-in-hand with performance, so I’m going to work my tail off on the court.”
Q: How do you want your life to reflect your faith?
A: I want people to see Jesus through me. I want it to be clear who I am. I know that some people aren’t going to agree with that but that doesn’t really faze me. I want to be known as someone who’s the ultimate competitor but loves you to death.”
Dan Fleser covers the Lady Vols. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Daily Archives: September 24, 2009
While growing up, Taber Spani didn’t go to school. Instead, the classroom came to her.
Tennessee moved a step closer to the official start of women’s basketball practice next month by convening their first full-team workout on Thursday.
Since fall semester began, the Lady Vols had been conducting individual workouts that involved no more than four players at a time.
“We worked on all these things in individuals,” freshman Taber Spani said, “but now it’s understanding it in a team setting.”
Actually the Lady Vols spent most of the individual sessions introducing and drilling on defensive concepts. They will use the team workouts to start playing catch-up on offense.
Team workouts also introduce the use of male practice players.
“The size of the guys down low defensively surprised me,” freshman Faith Dupree said. “I’ve played some big people, but those are the biggest I’ve played.”
UT coach Pat Summitt likely will be more vocal as well. During individuals, she spent more time observing while her assistant coaches directed the drills.
Dupree was happy to report that she survived a Summitt scolding on Thursday.
“You know what? Bring it,” Dupree said. “I’m going to mess up, and she is going to tell me what I did wrong.”
Check out this star studded roster on picture day! And Amber Gray looks great! God is so good.
Whats good man? This is your friend (and since I’m a die-hard Lakers Fan, WE ARE FRIENDS) Terence Turner. I felt the need to introduce myself and thoughts now, because it might be too late by…lets say…next week.
First of all, thank you for re-signing with the team. It was touch and go for a minute, but wisdom won that battle. You couldve signed with D. Wade, but what would that have done? Exactly. That gamble wouldve not worked in your favor. You played your cards right. Honestly though Lamar, it looks like you have gone from playing poker, to playing Russian Roulette with someone who has a “slot machine” state of mind. I will explain this analogy later on.
Recently you have been all over the entertainment blogs and shows for your impending marriage to Khloe Kardashian. I dont know what has all transpired within the last couple of weeks with you guys dating, but Lamar don’t do it! I’m Keith Sweat-begging you dude, don’t do it!
Lamar, out of all the chicks with fame, you choose a Kardashian sister. I am reluctant to use the word “celebrity” because she is only known by association. Her sister gets mutted on tape, and next thing you know, we are subjected to the lives of a family that does not add anything to society. And you choose Khloe. The desperate Kardashian. She is the 2009 Jan Brady…..Always trying to do something to stress her relevance.
I don’t know what your motives are behind this move. More notoriety? Maybe. I mean you do play on the most popular basketball team in the world. That team happens to play in Hollywood. I guess you are hoping that Khloe can keep you relevant off the court, as Kim does with Reggie Bush. When you are on TMZ, more than Sportscenter, thats a problem. Money? Maybe. But you did just resign for $30 million-plus. Post game kisses like Kobe? Maybe. You want to branch into TV? Maybe. But that isn’t you dude. You aren’t that type of player. You are a star, but not a superstar. You are a good player, but you dont influence Sports and entertainment like that. Thats not a knock against you, thats just me being honest with the fact that being “That Guy” isn’t your lane. Somebody has to play the background.
Now let me explain my analogy from above.
“you have gone from playing poker, to playing Russian Roulette with someone who has a “slot machine” state of mind.”
Playing Poker: That little dance you did with the Lakers during the offseason. You knew the dealer had a the better hand, but something inside of you decided to raise the stakes. You were almost a Straight Flush (like Ariza), but the organization decided to play with a full house.
Playing Russian Roulette: This relationship with Khloe. You can be lucky and survive, or this bullet can cause some damage. Just make sure you deliver when you are suppose to. If you start falling off because of this, dont think you are above being traded. A certain player on your team will be a free agent soon, which means they will have to open the checkbook. When the Lakers look at their account, will they see a debit or credit next to your name? Just something to think about. Because whether you realize or not, you will be the first to go if the Lakers decide to make some moves this year.
Someone who has a “slot machine” State of Mind: That would be Khloe and her attempts to be like her sister. Khloe has been publicly linked to at least three ball players in the last calender year: Rashad McCants, Derrick Ward, and now you. Again, emphasis on the publicly.
Khloe is a desperate groupie who has a thirst for having the things her sister has. She will never be more than a trophy. She keeps putting coins and investing in this same machine, hoping her numbers will line up. Oddly enough, she has finally hit Lucky 7s, which happens to be your jersey number.
Anyhow Lamar, I just wanted to hit you up and let you know about a few things on my mind. I know you are probably busy getting ready for this wedding and training camp, but please keep this in consideration. Man to Man – This is not a good look at all. Fan to Man – Make sure you handle your business on the court. Kardashian sisters are like Kryptonite. Andre 3000 said it best….Too soon! Dont do it! Reconsider!
Read some litera – ture on the subject!!!