Heading into her senior year at the University of Utah, starting forward for the women’s basketball team, Tanaeya Boclair, is embracing her leadership role both on and off the court. The third-year starter and captain is expected to play as an important piece in the 2017-18 season for the Utes, and she is looking forward to improving as she fills the role she’s grown accustomed to.
“All my teammates will tell you I will be the first one to get on them, but also when they do something right, I’ll be there to encourage them and praise them,” Boclair said. “That’s who I want to be as a leader.”
With the Pac-12 conference boasting six teams in the top 25 preseason rankings, the Utes will need plenty of leadership on the court as they go up against its foes while looking to improve upon last year’s 5-13 conference record and early WNIT first-round loss to UC Davis. Head coach Lynne Roberts said there is no secret regarding how the team needs to go about this season in order to improve.
“You just have to grind and get better every year,” Roberts said. “As Dabo Swinney said at Clemson, ‘When you want to get to the penthouse, you can’t take the elevator, you got to take the stairs.’ So that is what we’re doing.”
Boclair believes the Utes are already making progress.
“Last year we knew we could be good, but this year I feel like we are finally clicking,” Boclair said. “We are meshing well on the court and learning how each other play.”
While Boclair continues to set an example for her team, she will also be learning a new position, too. After making strides to develop her game during the offseason, she will spend time at post this year. Roberts hopes Boclair’s versatile skill set will create more opportunities for the Utes.
“With the new offense she is playing a little four as well,” Roberts said. “She is kind of a mismatch problem. She can shoot like a guard, but she is really strong and can play inside and out.”
Looking to assert herself more in Utah’s offense this year, Boclair explained that she felt she shied away a little more last year than she should have. But the coaches have been encouraging her to look for her shot and when she is open, make the right read.
Boclair’s versatility isn’t exemplified only on the court, but also outside of the gymnasium. She is the student ambassador for the conference and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Boclair travels to meetings with Pac-12 officials to give feedback and input into rules and regulation changes impacting student-athletes, a role she takes pride in.
But her extracurricular endeavors don’t end there. Boclair was recently awarded a role with Teach for America, a teacher certification program aimed at developing education in low-income areas where the education gap is suffering. She starts her training next summer, and if her coach’s opinion of her is any indication, she’ll be a great asset.
“She’s just a quality human,” Roberts said. “It’s fun to have her in our program.”