Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 03 January 2014 00:00
When you dedicate yourself to one sport for your whole life, success is truly earned. Sabre Proctor and Kori Bayne-Walker, two standout players on Stony Brook women’s basketball, are two athletes who are able to say that their accolades have come to fruition through dedication and by focusing on only basketball their whole lives.
Proctor was named America East co-player of the week for her performances through the first week of the season. The junior has led the Seawolves to a quick start while she has averaged 14.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. During a crucial victory last week, she recorded a double-double by scoring 20 points and adding 10 rebounds against St. Peters. Proctor is a very talented shooter as well, shooting 46 percent from the field, 39 percent from beyond the arc and 76 percent from the free throw line.
“I feel like I’m playing really well,” said the junior forward. “There’s still some room for improvement, though,” she added.
Proctor’s path to Stony Brook is an intriguing one. She grew up in Harrisburg, PA where she was, of course, a standout on the high school basketball team. Like most star players, she was close with her coach. Her situation was different in that the coach was her father who coached there for 20 years. Her mother was also a terrific athlete who was a swimmer.
Her collegiate career began at North Carolina A & T, who is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“The style of play is very fast in the South,” said Proctor. “It’s like go! go! go!” she added. When she felt it was time to make the switch, Proctor decided Stony Brook was a terrific fit and was impressed with the academic program and diversity of the student body.
Her decision has been a sound one. Proctor has been a tremendous contributor for the Seawolves and the team will be counting on her if they are to make a deep postseason run, which she feels the team has a strong chance of doing.
“We’re all on the same page,” said Proctor in regards to her teammates. “We are just taking it one game at a time but we have extreme talent on this team,” she added.
As far as the transition to another offense, she has been able to adapt seamlessly. “The offense is much different, it’s more about screens and learning plays,” she added.
Proctor noted that basketball has always been far and away her favorite sport, and aside from being a member of the track and field team in high school to stay in shape, it is the only sport she has ever played.
One of her teammates, Kori Bayne-Walker, is the same. Additionally, she is fresh off being named America East Rookie of the Week for her strong performance in her first week as a collegiate player. She has shot 46 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free throw line. Bayne-Walker has averaged 5.3 points per game on the young season, as she has helped the Seawolves off to one of their best 10-game starts in program history.
“We’re doing well right now,” said the Rochester native. “There’s just some small fixing to do,” she added.
Bayne-Walker also came a long way to Stony Brook from one of the most northern parts of the state. She led her team to runner-up in the state championship twice during her career. In terms of individual accolades, she was named Rochester Player of the Year as well. She was noticed at a tournament by one of the recruiting coaches near her hometown.
“It was a make-or-break game for me,” she said in regards to the importance that she performed well that day. Clearly, she made a strong impression on the coach that day.
Since that time, Bayne-Walker feels that she has improved but still has certain things to work on. “My speed needs some work,” she noted.
Despite that, the freshman feels that she has adapted well to this level of play. The speed of the game is the biggest adjustment, according to her.
“Everyone is good, and the speed and strength of the players is a big difference,” she said in regards to the transition from high school.
Bayne-Walker noted that basketball has long been her passion. Aside from an experiment with softball in her younger days, it has always been about basketball. Now, she is ready to lead the Seawolves to an America East title.