NORMAL, Ill. — Tyra Buss was back on a big stage on Saturday night.
It wasn’t the basketball court, where she is most famous, but instead a stage she is becoming more familiar with.
Under the glaring lights of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University, the Lady Aces junior graciously accepted the highest award she can win as a high school player in Illinois - Ms. Basketball - before over 1,200 in attendance at the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame dinner.
Buss joined Mr. Basketball Jabari Parker of Chicago Simeon on stage as the award was presented by Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Paul Skrbina. The newspaper and the IBCA co-sponsor the yearly award, which Buss and Parker won in March, the result of a statewide vote of media and schools.
“It was a real exciting moment,” said Buss, who was joined by a small circle of family and friends to mark the occasion.
Yet for the time on stage together with Parker, the two only had a brief exchange. “He said congratulations to me and I said it back to him. But that was about it,” Buss said.
Following a photo shoot to capture the moment, Buss became the center of attention for well wishers and others in attendance. More than one congratulated her on her “first” Ms. Basketball award. She said the expectations by some of a repeat next year is not adding any pressure.
“No, it doesn’t put any pressure on me at all,” Buss said. “I’m just going to go out there and play the game I love. I don’t get nervous at all or feel any pressure while I play basketball. It’s just something I love to do.”
After taking the weekend off from her Indiana Elite teammates to be in Normal for the Ms. Basketball award, Buss will take next weekend off as well for MCHS Prom, then it’s back to center stage for the summer season ahead.
Buss collected 255 votes in winning the girls award.
• Also at the IBCA banquet, District coach of the year award winners were named, including Robinson boys coach Mack Thompson, plus girls coaches Wayne Harre of IHSA Class 2A state champion Nashville, Kathy Miller of Marshall and Tracy Gray of Red Hill, whose Lady Salukis finished 16-6. Terry Andrews of Bridgeport, an official for 33 years, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Among his many accomplishments, Andrews worked three IHSA state championship games.