ANNAWAN — Jayde VanHyfte knew she had work to do this summer to get ready for her sophomore basketball season at Arizona State. The Annawan graduate just never expected rehabilitation to be part of that work.
Back home in late May, VanHyfte was doing some defensive workout and she felt her right knee shift. Some swelling came soon after and the diagnosis from her doctor found a torn meniscus.
"I had just come home after playing in the USA 3-on-3 Tournament," VanHyfte said. "I've only had about three weeks at home which is kind of crazy. I had the surgery and started the road to recovery.
"I have been working hard all summer and the recovery is only three months. I'm back playing in our basketball skill workouts and I'm about 75 percent. I expect to be 100 percent in maybe another month."
She is still trying to take what she learned in her first Division I season and build on it.
VanHyfte played in 29 of the team's 33 games last season, averaging 6.8 minutes, 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. She had season highs of seven points (four times) and seven rebounds (in the season opener).
"I learned right away that I had to learn how to compete at a whole new level," she said. "I'm still working on that part of the game. My first game was kind of intimidating. It was a big adjustment but I am getting a lot more comfortable with the game."
VanHyfte has also had to learn that she doesn't have to do a lot of things on the court as she was asked to do at Annawan. As a power forward, the 6-foot-1 sophomore has fewer things to worry about but a lot more to do with those things.
"I'm basically an extended 4 which is not really different than some of what I did at Annawan," she said, "but it is different because I don't play much in the post and I don't have to bring the ball up the court like I did a lot in high school.
You have free articles remaining.
"Yeah, I don't have as many things to worry about but those couple of things I do are really tough. The biggest thing is the screens. You have to learn how to come off the right angle and things like that. The more I play, the more I get it.
"I have kind of flipped my role. At Annawan, I was the one getting the screens, now I understand how important everyone else is. The biggest thing about playing at ASU is everyone is a star and everyone just has to do what their job is and not have to do some of everything."
Her coaches told VanHyfte the things they want her to get better at is shooting from the perimeter and handling the ball.
"I've been getting a lot of jumpers off," she said. "I'm working both on my mid-range game and on my 3-pointers. During my knee recovery I have been able to spend a lot of time dribbling the ball."
As she grows her game, VanHyfte feels more and more like she belongs at this level of basketball. She's also more comfortable being in a much bigger city than Annawan.
"I want to make an impact with the team this season," she said. "I feel like I am ready to do that. I have felt all along that I belong here but I know I can only be what I want to be if I get to work on the the things I need to be better at.
"It was a big adjustment moving from home to Tempe. It was difficult being away from family and friends but I transitioned pretty quickly because my teammates are just like a family. We do everything together and I am moving into an apartment complex where almost half the team lives."
One thing she can't replicate in Arizona is those one-on-one battles at the family basketball court. Jayde has battled her older sisters Celina (graduated from Southern Illinois) and Morgan (redshirt junior at Central Missouri) and her younger brother (Drake).
"Those games get pretty competitive," Jayde said. "Most of the time the games end with someone walking off the court because they didn't like a call the other one made. Drake is so big now, it's hard for any of us to handle but I think we are all quicker than him."