Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State’s Diamond Lockhart toughens her routine to keep her knees healthy

Wichita State's Diamond Lockhart works out with the team at the Wichita Sports Forum on Monday.
Wichita State's Diamond Lockhart works out with the team at the Wichita Sports Forum on Monday. The Wichita Eagle

Diamond Lockhart is an exercise science major who is working on her Master of Business Administration with plans to become a physical therapist and own a business.

Lockhart’s current client is herself and her surgically repaired knees are the subject of her studies.

“I’m trying to save my knees,” she said.

Lockhart, a junior on Wichita State’s women’s basketball team, is starting fall workouts after a busy summer. Her routine included a 5 a.m. stop at Koch Arena for an hour of shooting practice, shower and a day spent at her internship at the Williamson Wellness Center. Lockhart, who completed her undergraduate degree in exercise science, changed her eating habits, omitting breads and pasta, and impressed coach Jody Adams-Birch with her discipline this summer.

“Diamond is the one you will look at and say she has changed her whole composition of how she’s been training,” Adams-Birch said. “She’s truly trained like a pro. Her schedule looks different from anyone else’s. When you see someone work like that … you’re seeing a pretty special young lady to dedicate herself to do that.”

Lockhart, a 5-foot-5 guard, is motivated to help WSU improve after last season’s 7-22 record and by her goal to play in WNBA. She underwent surgery on her left knee after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament during high school. In March 2015, after her redshirt season at WSU, she tore the ACL in her right knee.

To keep playing and keep improving, she must reduce wear on her knees.

“The more weight you have to carry around, the harder it is,” she said. “I really wanted to take on that professional mindset. I know I only have two years left and I knew I had to change something.”

Lockhart started 21 games for WSU last season and averaged 7.4 points and a team-leading 2.6 assists. The knee injury kept her from working out last summer, which slowed her conditioning progress when she returned in October.

“I was playing catchup,” she said. “If I want to play at the elite level, then I have to train and eat at the elite level. Quickness has improved. Strength, too.”

After last season, she stopped eating breads and rice. Her diet now consists of chicken, vegetables and fruit and she said she is down 10 pounds.

“That was really hard for me because I love breads and pastas,” she said. “I really dialed into this past March when I felt like my body wasn’t changing the way I wanted to and I wasn’t leaning out as much as I wanted to.”

Lockhart, Adams-Birch said, is one of several Shockers who improved their conditioning this summer. Five of her guards completed a mile run in under 6 minutes, 15 seconds.

“She’s much better as far as a cardiovascular motor,” Adams-Birch said. “You’re looking at a great cardiovascular group. It has a lot to do with toughness and where they are with their training.”

Women’s newcomer — Adams-Birch sees newcomer Keyuana Thompson fitting in to the rotation quickly. Thompson is a guard from Shelton (Ala.) State Community College, where she averaged 9.4 points and 5.6 assists.

“A very competitive young lady and has an unbelievable motor,” Adams-Birch said. “A very selfless person. Her work is for the team. She doesn’t panic. She asks questions. She’s a problem-solver.”

WSU men set scrimmage with ORU — WSU’s men’s basketball team will scrimmage Oral Roberts on Oct. 29 at Koch Arena.

Preseason scrimmages are closed to media and fans. The closed workouts typically consist of morning and afternoon sessions. In addition to scrimmages, coaches agree to work with score-and-time situations or specific defenses.

The Shockers scrimmaged Oklahoma State last fall.

Shockers softball plays alumni game on Sept. 17 — WSU opens its fall schedule on Sept. 17 with an alumni game at 2 p.m. at Wilkins Stadium.

WSU also plays Cowley College (6 p.m., Sept. 23), Newman (6 p.m., Sept 30), Johnson County Community College (noon) and Crowder College (4 p.m.) on Oct. 1, Seminole State (4 p.m., Oct. 5), Hutchinson (6 p.m., Oct. 12 and Northern Oklahoma (Oct. 25, 5 p.m.

WSU’s intersquad scrimmages are scheduled for Oct. 19 (5 p.m.), Oct. 27 (5 p.m.) and Oct. 31 (4 p.m.).

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop