DANVILLE (WCIA) — Anaya Peoples is in uncharted territory.
The Notre Dame freshman wasn’t expecting to be back home in Danville this early. She also wasn’t planning on doing a workout in her basement with resistance bands after a season ending surgery but this is progress for the former Schlarman standout after tearing her labrum.
“I’ve been playing basketball since second grade and I’ve never had an injury where I’ve had to sit out more than two days, maybe,” Peoples said during a recent FaceTime interview. “Never had surgery before.”
Peoples hurt her shoulder reaching for a ball in a game at Syracuse on January 5th. She tried to play thru it, returning to the court and playing a few games following the injury. She eventually was shut down after re-injury. After surgery, the former Top 25 national recruit is hoping to be back to full strength by August.
“I’ve never felt like this burning passion to actually be able to shoot,” she said. “I’ve had dreams, just being able to go out there. I’m so ready. Once something is taken from you, it really makes you appreciate it more so I’ve never had the game of basketball taken from me. It hurts so I’m just trying to do everything I can to get a piece of it. I sleep with my basketball.”
Other than the injury, Peoples shined in her first year of college ball, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game. The 5-foot-10 guard was named to the ACC All-Freshman team but overall, the Irish struggled, finishing with a 13-18 record. It was the first losing season for the program since 1992.
“It was not easy,” said Peoples. “No one at Notre Dame is used to losing, nobody is. We don’t like the taste, we don’t like the feeling. Everybody came from a winning program, state champions, McDonald’s All-Americans, we are not used to losing so it was completely different for us.”
For now, Peoples is focusing on school work, meditating, eating right and doing a lot of extra reading, as the two-time state champ and back-to-back WCIA 3 Player of the Year is determined to come back stronger than ever.
“My mental has been tested,” she said. “Just through surgery, being a freshman and now coming home and only being able to control what I can control.”