PEORIA, Ill. — There’s a pretty good former football player in the Bradley basketball program.
She plays on the women’s team. And Tatum Koenig thinks her current job is fantastic.
She gets to pass the basketball around to hot-shooting teammates that have pushed the Bradley women into the Missouri Valley Conference lead. The Braves (5-0) are off to their best MVC start in school history.
“Everyone out on the floor is a threat. It’s so fun playing with them,” Koenig said. “Fun winning with them, and being a part of this team. I’m having so much fun.”
Koenig has always had fun playing basketball. But she might have to credit some of her college hoops success to the sport she loved growing up.
The BU sophomore point guard even played on her high school football team in West Branch, Iowa. Alongside her brother.
“I started out as a quarterback in junior high and played a little bit in high school,” Koenig said. “I think that translates to being a point guard. You have to read the defense, read the field.”
Koenig played safety in high school and was named the defensive MVP of her junior varsity team.
“I’m sure any football player would tell you if you play tentative, you are in trouble,” said Bradley women’s basketball coach Andreea Gorski. “You can’t play looking over your shoulder, you have to go for it every play. Tatum is not tentative, she goes for it.”
Koenig is averaging 7 points and 3.9 assists per game for Bradley, which has won 14 of its first 16 games. She turned in her football helmet a long time ago but Tatum says there’s still a football player inside her.
“My physical style on the basketball floor started when I played football,” Koenig said. “My parents encouraged me to take that football aspect of the game and translate it to basketball.”
And she has.