When Frenesa Hall came to Harvard two years ago, she gave the women's basketball program its first taste of "Big Apple" basketball.
Eschewing the conservative, New England style of play, the Jamaica, N.Y. native went in for flashy lay-ups and spin dribbling. She quickly earned a reputation among her teammates as something of an individualist.
"I couldn't believe everyone thought I was a hot dog, because at home, everyone played that way," Hall explains. "As a matter of fact, in New York, I was considered a very tame player."
From the Team to a Team Player
Now a junior, Hall has lost little of her flash but has learned to incorporate it into a more team-oriented approach to the game.
Frenesa was a high school superstar; she was her high school team. Now she really knows how to use the other four players on the court," Coach Carole Kleinfelder says.
"I would never have dubbed Frenesa a hot dog, but there's no doubt that people really enjoy watching her play. She's not a showoff! she just has a lot of style."
Lately, however, a few extra pounds have team cramping Hall's style considerably, Kleinfelder says her charge is ineffective at her current weight, and Hall has been on the bench during the tipoff of several recent games.
A Tough January
In early January, when the coaching staff told her to shed seven pounds by the end of the month. Hall began a rigorous dieting and exercise program, but she failed to drop the weight.
"Carole would make a lot of jokes like, 'Gee, Frenesa, the whole floor shakes when you run!'" Hall recalls. "She probably thought it was best to make the whole situation seem amusing, but it was just like when your mother always nagged you to clean your room. Of course, you're just going to make it messier than ever."
Reading Period Blues
"I really tried to lose the weight, but it was difficult to do it during reading period," she says unapologetically.
"Frenesa's greatest asset in her quickness," Kleinfelder says. "When she was thin, she could really move on the court."
Ironically, the one time that Hall was light enough to capitalize on her speed was at the end of her first Harvard season, when she was recovering from menonucleosis. Her illness put her out of action for most of the year, and even when she returned, she couldn't participate in full workouts.