Bullock brings basketball experience to volleyball court
- Aug. 20, 2012
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An already veteran Kansas volleyball team deepened with the addition of a former Miami basketball player.
Sylvia Bullock, a graduate student, transferred from University of Miami where she played played four years on the Hurricanes’ basketball team. As captain at Miami in 2011, Bullock helped lead them to a No. 8 ranking in the AP poll and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Bullock, who started playing volleyball so one of her friends would have someone to hit with, hasn’t played the sport competitively since high school, but coach Ray Bechard said Bullock can still contribute immediately because of her athletic experience.
“She was their team captain a couple of years,” Bechard said. I think she knows what leadership’s about, she knows work ethic, she knows what it takes to be a high level athlete.”
Although Bullock will be a graduate student, she is eligible to play volleyball at Kansas because of an NCAA rule that allows a graduate student-athlete to play immediately at his or her new school if that student is pursuing a graduate degree in a program not offered at the student’s original school.
Bullock is pursuing a Master’s degree in English, and according to the athletics department, she has a year left in her eligibility.
“I’d go to the Miami volleyball games and I was like ‘I can do that,’” Bullock said. “I’m competitive, and I just like getting out there and seeing that I’m able to do this.”
Bullock said playing basketball helped her quickness and jumping ability, which are also important volleyball skills.
Bullock averaged 1.4 blocks per game for the Hurricanes as a senior, which was fifth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
She said that the biggest adjustment for her right now is picking volleyball terminology back up and knowing where to be on the court.
Bullock said her new teammates have helped her in practice so far by talking to her on the court and telling her where she needs to be.
Bechard said Bullock’s volleyball ability will come back to her with practice.
“In volleyball there’s a lot of fine motor skills involved with handling the ball and getting hand contact on the ball and just hand-eye coordination,” Bechard said. “All of those things are going to come back to her, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
To get back into volleyball rhythm, Bullock has been working with Kansas assistant coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn, who was a volleyball coach at Miami during Bullock’s time on the basketball team.
“I had known Coach Bird previously,” Bullock said. “She’s close with my basketball coaches at Miami. I told them I wanted to play volleyball and they were like, ‘Oh, well coach Bird, you should look at her.’”
Even though Miami is far from her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, Bullock said she chose Miami because she felt a family atmosphere, and it was a smaller, private school with a coaching staff that was willing to give one-on-one instruction.
During her sophomore year at Miami, Bullock said the Hurricanes suffered through a number of close losses. In 2011, the Jayhawks had a 3-13 conference record and lost 42 sets, but 16 of those set losses were by three points or fewer. Bullock said she can immediately contribute to the Jayhawks by helping the team push through close matches.
One of her new teammates, redshirt junior Caroline Jarmoc, said Bullock is already pushing the Jayhawks through her dedication.
“Sylvia’s super athletic and she gets at me at the weight room all the time,” said redshirt junior Caroline Jarmoc. “She’s so strong.”
— Edited by Luke Ranker