When Tiffany Bias burst into the spotlight as an Andover Central freshman in 2006, her basketball talent was obvious to the most casual fan. She had speed, and was so sure with her passes, that her potential seemed endless.
Bias was one of many freshmen who have starred, spurring folks to wonder where they'll be playing in college.
But so many young athletes with potential hit a plateau, failing to progress as far as the expectations reached.
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Bias, a senior for the state's third-ranked team, is better than ever.
"That's important to me," said Bias, who has signed with Oklahoma State and was an All-State selection as a junior. "I have to produce at the next level next year. If you don't, someone will take your spot in college."
Andover Central coach Stana Jefferson, who was an assistant coach at Wichita State, has seen plenty of young athletes hit a wall in their progression.
"A lot of times you'll see girls start out as freshmen and sophomores and they might be quicker, able to jump," Jefferson said. "I don't know if it's maturity, development, but they tend to slow down.
"With Tiffany, she has pushed enough that I haven't seen her plateau. I'm still expecting to see her get so much better."
Bias is usually the quickest player on the court. She can drive past defenders and blow through a press.
"If (guards) are quick like she is, you can't get up on them very tight," Andover coach Max Hamblin said. "If you do, they blow by you. And if you don't, they can shoot it in your eye."
Bias' shooting has improved to the point that she not only consistently hits the mid-range jumper, but she can step out several feet beyond the three-point line.
"My jump shot was a four-year process," Bias said.
Certainly she has natural ability, but hard work is her staple.
"I have always worked hard," Bias said. "I push myself no matter what we're doing, whether it's a walk-through or a game. You improve every time you go hard."
Bias, also a track star, wins every sprint in practice — and has since her freshman season — even though she wears a weighted vest. Jefferson said she doesn't ever coast into the finish of a sprint; she goes hard the whole way.
If Bias struggles shooting in a Tuesday game, Jefferson knows she'll be rebounding for Bias after practice on Wednesday.
Bad habits are easy to pick up, but Bias has fought against it. She's received help from Jefferson and her father, Francis, who coaches her summer team. They'll critique her play and show her the mistakes.
"It's pretty easy to break if I get reminded and critiqued," she said.
Bias' scoring improved her first three seasons from 13.4 points her freshman season to 17.6 to 21.0 as a junior.
She's currently averaging 20.4 points, 8.2 assists, 6.8 steals and 4.4 rebounds.
Defense is Bias' specialty. She has always preferred full-court pressure.
"Her stamina is outrageous," Jefferson said. "The whole game, she never takes a break. There are great players and they will take possessions off. She won't. Ever. They might mosey down, but she never does."
As much as Bias works, she understands why others have hit a plateau. Opponents throw junk defenses to frustrate the top players and expectations can topple the best.
"It's a lot of pressure," she said. "A lot of people are looking at you. You want to have a good game, but you're kind of jinxing yourself. It's just a lot of pressure.
"'Hey, I saw you in the paper,' blah, blah. You don't want to make a mistake. That's where a lot of athletes go wrong. They play not to make mistakes."