KLEE: In final days — at CU — Jeffery has Buffs on the rise

By: Paul Klee
December 21, 2012
photo - Colorado's Chucky Jeffery is a Sierra graduate Photo by COURTESY OF CU ATHLETICS
Colorado's Chucky Jeffery is a Sierra graduate Photo by COURTESY OF CU ATHLETICS 

BOULDER • I felt better after talking to Chucky Jeffery. She has a way of putting others at ease.

There’s still time, she said. Our world would not end. The Mayans were wrong.

“Me and my tutor actually talked about this,” the Colorado women’s basketball star explained in their practice gym Thursday. “There are not many ways the world can end.”

Wait, there aresomeways? The End isn’t a subject we leave room for a maybe.

“It won’t happen unless the sun burns out. And that’s in about 5 billion years. Or unless a huge asteroid hits the earth. And that’s not going to happen. Or if Yellowstone erupts and ash spreads around the earth. That’s not going to happen.

“We’re fine. We’re good to go."

Full disclosure: If the Mayan calendar had been correct, my insight on Chucky Jeffery would have been limited to one practice and a half-dozen YouTube clips.

Thank goodness we're still kickin'. The Buffs senior point guard and Sierra alum is pure entertainment — on the court or in conversation. She plays the game like she cruises around the CU campus, with an engaging personality and full of life.

Chucky’s a baller.

For at least one week — last week — Jeffery also was the best player in the country. It made her Buffs one of the Top 25 teams in the country. ESPNW named Jeffery the national player of the week. The No. 25 Buffs cracked the Associated Press poll.

Neither award seemed all that apocalyptic; both were deserved, if a few days late.

“This is, by far, the closest team we’ve had (in her four years),” Jeffery said.

The Buffs host Utah Valley today. The Earth isn’t history, but history suggests Linda Lappe, the coach, and Jeffery, the point guard, will guide the Buffs to a win. CU has won 22 straight nonconference games and is nationally ranked for the first time in five years.

All roads are leading to the college basketball’s ultimate end — the NCAA tournament. It will be a short commute.

Regardless of its seed, when CU is selected for the NCAA tournament, it will play at the Coors Events Center for first- and second-round games. The Buffs senior point guard intends to end her college career in The Dance.

“It would mean everything,” Jeffery said. “When I was a little kid, I always dreamed about going to the NCAA tournament.”

Her other dream is in reach as well. On the topic of the WNBA, Jeffery said those in the know have told her she “might have a chance” after a record-book career at CU. She’s on pace to finish among the program’s top five in rebounds and assists and near the top 10 in scoring.

“If the opportunity knocks with the WNBA, of course I’m going to take it,” she said.

Nothing about Jeffery suggests troublemaking. After learning of her one-game suspension early this season, I had to ask: What did you do?

Jeffery said she got a speeding ticket. The ensuing court date forced her to miss a practice. Lappe sat her on the bench for the season opener.

“Once you miss practice, you miss a game,” Jeffery said. “Coach suspended me because she’s been talking to me about taking care of things when I need to. When I don’t, it hurts the team. She made me sit out and realize it’s going to hurt my team. I never want to hurt my team. I learned from it.”

And I learned there’s good reason to take in a Buffs game that doesn’t involve Tad Boyle and Andre Roberson. She wears No. 23 and had a plan in case the Mayans had been accurate.

“If today was our last day? I’d probably go to BJ’s (a Boulder restaurant) and get that grilled chicken potato with Alfredo. That’s my favorite. It’s delicious.”

Final person to see?

“My mom (Alana Riley). She’s why I made it where I am. She’s taught me how to be a good person.”

Chucky’s a baller.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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