The Bendigo Bank Spirit’s hopes of making the play-offs this WNBL season don’t rest solely on Kathleen Scheer’s shoulders, but partly on her knee.
The Spirit’s US import arrived in Bendigo on Saturday under an injury cloud ahead of the team’s WNBL season opener on October 5.
Due to a recurring left knee problem, Scheer hasn’t played since her US college season ended with Duke University in April.
The 6’2” forward, who turns 23 today, had minor surgery in July last year which allowed her to play all 33 matches for Duke in her senior year.
But the problem flared up towards the end of the season and, despite a two-month break, physical therapy and an injection, it’s still causing her problems.
Before her first pre-season training session with the Spirit on Sunday, Scheer hadn’t ran for five weeks.
“If I hadn’t of got that injection I wouldn’t have been able to make it through Sunday, so that was nice,” Scheer said.
“I was in a little bit of pain, but I think that’s just my body getting used to it again.”
Scheer’s fitness will be crucial for the Spirit as she is set to provide some much-needed assistance to centre Gabe Richards against the WNBL’s tall timber.
But Scheer believes her versatility can make her more valuable than just as a post player.
A prolific scorer at high school level, Scheer was a role player at Duke and as such averaged 2.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in her senior year.
“(In high school) I could score from pretty much any position so I think (the Spirit) want me to get back into that role – be a scorer and a defensive threat – and that’s pretty much what I want for myself,” she said.
Scheer’s cousin is former Bendigo Braves import Luke Meyer, who put her in touch with the Spirit.
Just out of college, this season is Scheer’s first outside of the US, but she’s not concerned about any expectations placed on her as an import.
“I’ve never really thought about it like that, I’m just excited,” she said.
“The Spirit has been such a great club to work with…they’ve been very nice and understanding as far as my injury goes – I was very worried about that.
“But as far as expectations go I just want to get out there and play my game and develop my scoring more.”