Boclair beat the odds to bring her height to the women’s basketball squad

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Photo credit: Erin Burns

With a dad that stands at 5-foot-6 and a mom that measures in at 5-foot-4, one could say that Utah forward Tanaeya Boclair didn’t exactly have genes that screamed ‘basketball athlete.’ Despite the odds, the freshman from San Antonio stands at six feet tall and has been an immediate contribution for the women’s basketball team this season.

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While many college athletes are born with a love for the game, Boclair didn’t play much basketball growing up.

“I didn’t really want to play basketball,” Boclair said.

It wasn’t until the seventh grade rolled around when Boclair decided to give basketball a shot. Part of this decision came from the constant questioning of whether she played basketball simply because of her height. She tried out for the junior high school team and was quick to make an impact during her seventh-grade year.

There were some growing pains that came as she improved her game during that season at a young age. Boclair recounted a memory that happened during a contest in that same season, where she was placed on the charity stripe with the opportunity to win it for her team late in the game.

“I’m pretty sure I missed both free throws,” Boclair said, as her team went on to lose the game.

Not performing at their best is a tough thing for athletes at any level to deal with, but especially so with young players. During these times, it is typically a coach’s responsibility to help their athletes get through these difficult times to come out as a better player for the next opportunity that may arise.

That opportunity came rather quickly for Boclair. The very next year, she found herself in almost the exact same situation. Boclair’s team was playing that same rival and she had another chance to win the game for her team with two free throws at the end of the game.

Having learned and gained experience since the first time, Boclair stepped up to the line and knocked down both free throws, overcoming the memory that haunted her.

From then on, Boclair continued to excel in basketball and joined an AAU competitive basketball league. This league featured higher competition and also provided another avenue where college scouts could see athletes play. She also went on to play high school ball at Brennan High School, where she led her team to three district titles and was named the San Antonio Athlete of the Year for all sports.

The success she saw in high school led her to an eventual spot on Utah’s roster this season. Although she is a Texas native, Boclair has grown fond of her new teammates here in Salt Lake City.

“We all get along really well — we spend a lot of time together off the court,” Boclair said.

As for her coach, he has all the necessary qualities that Boclair wanted to have in a college coach — a big draw that brought her to the Beehive State.

“He’s a really good person, and he cares about you as a person,” Boclair said. “He always tells us his office is open.”

Though Boclair is just a freshman, she has contributed her share for the team. She is averaging nine points per game and nearly four rebounds. Boclair also gets a chance to showcase her range every now and then, shooting a solid 40 percent from behind the arc.

“I want to make an impact on this team. I’m definitely working harder to do that every day,” Boclair said.

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