Buss making name for herself
MOUNT CARMEL — Finding information on girls' high school basketball players can prove difficult at times. Finding just about anything you'd ever want to know about Tyra Buss, a standout guard from southern Illinois' Mount Carmel High School, is a few clicks of a mouse away.
The Class of 2014 guard, who last week picked up a scholarship offer from first-year Illinois women's basketball coach Matt Bollant, has two websites — http://www.tyrabuss.com and http://www.tyrabuss3.com — devoted to keeping friends, family, media or anyone up to date on the standout athlete's latest achievements.
"Kevin Williams, a local sports enthusiast from Mount Carmel, he started the website (tyrabuss3.com) at like $25 or whatever it was. We figured we'd start putting the stats on there," said Tim Buss, Tyra's father and the superintendent of the Mount Carmel School District.
It became apparent early in Tyra's athletic career to Tim Buss, Williams and Ryan Jenkins (developer of tyrabuss.com) that there might be no shortage of information to include. Tyra was a four-time state champion in the Elks Hoop Shoot contest, she led her team to a state championship in eighth grade and was the national runner-up in the NFL's punt, pass and kick competition in 2009.
"She was involved in all these competitions, and she's basically succeeded in everything she's done back to age 5, 6, when she started playing basketball," Tim Buss said.
The success hasn't slowed in Tyra's first two years of high school. Despite competing in four varsity sports — cross-country and tennis in the fall, track and field in the spring — the 5-foot-7 guard is primed to rewrite the IHSA girls' basketball record book. The two-time all-stater set the state scoring record for a freshman with 1,025 points (32 ppg) and became the fastest player in the state to reach 2,000 points after adding 1,121 (35 ppg) this past season.
College coaches are taking notice, too. Big Ten coaches have watched Tyra play so often they can find Mount Carmel's gym with their eyes closed. Evansville was the first to offer during Tyra's freshman season. The pitch from Illinois is her second offer, with plenty more expected after the July evaluation period.
"It's just really exciting for me because I've worked hard, and it just shows that the hard work has been paying off," said Tyra, who's No. 1 in her class with a 4.0 GPA. "I'm getting excited to visit schools and getting attention from these schools is really exciting for me."
Tim Buss and his wife, Kelly, a P.E. teacher and the girls' track and field coach at Mount Carmel, have handled the dealings with the college coaches, so far. It's far too early, Tim Buss concedes, to speculate where Tyra might end up playing, but he's come away impressed with the new Illinois staff.
"Bollant seems like a great coach, has had great success and will do a great job there with that program," Tim Buss said.
Tyra doesn't seem all that concerned with rushing to make a college decision. In between grueling workouts conducted by older brothers Tyler (Mount Carmel's boys' basketball coach) and Kyle, Tyler's assistant, Tyra is starring for the Indiana Elite AAU squad while also gearing up for tennis season — where she's finished in the top 32 in the state twice while compiling a 56-3 record.
"I don't really pay too much attention to it. I just keep playing, and I let the recruiting take care of itself right now," Tyra said. "I just love playing, and I don't want to worry about that stuff right now. It's something that's down the road. It's all kind of new for me. I'm going to start visiting schools soon and then kind of see what happens from there."