Fontenette growing into new role for Texas Women's Basketball
Sept. 2, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- Ashleigh Fontenette spent a lot of time this summer figuring out who she wants to be, what she wants to be.
Growing up, Fontenette dreamed of one day being a lawyer, and with the help of the UT Athletics Academic Services office, she was able to spend a month shadowing an Austin-area attorney. Fontenette reported to the office bright and early every morning, and even spent some days observing in the courtroom -- all to one realization.
"It's nothing like you see in the movies," she says. "Some types of court are boring."
But her dream of one day working in a courtroom persists, and, ultimately, so does Fontenette.
She is persistent, a fighter -- traits that will help her pursue the other dream of becoming a great point guard for the Texas Women's Basketball team.
Fontenette's natural skill was apparent from the very beginning of last season, her first with the Longhorns. Quickness and aggression are married together by Fontenette's quiet inner drive.
And the quiet part is pretty literal. Even though she's a keen observer on the court, Fontenette often deferred to older players or now-graduated point guard Carla Cortijo.
"I was hesitant to believe the team would listen to me because I was a freshman," says Fontenette, who started the last 14 games of the season primarily on the wing. "But there came a point when I had to start saying something."
That was the beginning of Fontenette's mental transition to becoming a point guard, and it continued over the summer when Fontenette spent a week at Dick Devinzio's Point Guard College.
Days started at 8 a.m. and lasted until 10 p.m. They began with lessons and lectures in the classroom and ended with the application on the court.
"It wasn't about competing, just learning the game," Fontenette says. "Literally every time I went to class I learned something new."
Fontenette came away with 50 pages of notes, which she still scans every night in her room. She learned a pull-up jumper that, with her speed and driving ability, should help defy defenses, and she learned about dead zones around the sidelines and baselines.
But she mostly learned how to think, and how to think for her team.
"You're the point guard, you have to build the team up," Fontenette says. "Everyone is going to make mistakes, so it's really about how you react after you make those mistakes. I have to consider everybody else, and how what I do affects them.
"It's one for five."
Fontenette thinks of herself now as an extension of head coach Gail Goestenkors on the court, and so the communication between them has to be easy and fluid.
"The point position is the position I played when I was a player, so it's near and dear to my heart," Goestenkors says. "I feel like the point guard really needs to understand what the head coach wants and needs in every situation.
"I think her confidence has grown at that position. AT has become much more of a leader for us, and, as a great point guard, you need to be vocal. She's more vocal and more confident."