College couldn't have come at a better time for Jennifer Trapp. It couldn't have come at a better place, either.
For that matter, Trapp, a Kansas University freshman from Lawrence, would be hard pressed to find any negatives to her college experience so far.
"It's going pretty good," she said. "It's a lot of fun."
Trapp led Lawrence High to the past two Class 6A state basketball championship games. The Lions won the title in 1992 and finished runners-up last year.
Consistently double- and sometimes even triple-teamed, Trapp still managed to lead LHS in almost all offensive categories.
The challenge had all but gone out of the high school game.
"I'm not saying I was so much better than everybody else, but I wanted to get challenged more," said Trapp, the Gatorade player of the year in Kansas.
Then she came to hometown KU where, in part because of injuries, Trapp became an instant starter. She has started all 10 of the Jayhawks' games, helping Kansas to a 9-1 record and No. 12 national ranking.
"Actually, it's not that much of a surprise," Trapp said. "I think I was ready for a more fast-paced game."
She certainly has found some success. Only three players -- Angela Aycock, Charisse Sampson and Lisa Tate -- average more minutes.
Trapp ranks No. 5 in scoring at 10.2 points per game. She's third in free throw percentage (64.9 percent), fourth in rebounds (49) and fifth in field goal percentage (45.9 percent).
That success is no surprise to KU coach Marian Washington.
"Obviously, I recognized that she's extremely competitive," Washington said. "As we try to evaluate potential talent, one of the things they must possess is competitiveness. What I'm delighted about is that Jennifer -- and the entire freshman class -- has come in and reflected a competitive attitude."
Indeed, the freshmen have played a crucial role in KU's quick start. When injuries sidelined veterans Alana Slatter and Michelle Leathers, the frosh have come in and come on.
Freshman Angie Halbleib ranks No. 2 on the team in scoring with 13.7 points a game. Trapp is No. 5, while Tamecka Dixon, another freshman, is right behind at No. 6 with 9.1 points a game.
KU's four scholarship freshmen -- Halbleib, Trapp, Dixon and Shelly Canada -- have combined for 42 percent of the Jayhawks' points.
"We've asked them to come into some pressure situations," Washington said, "and they haven't shied away one bit."
Nor has Trapp shied away from her new role as a role player. The undisputed sparkplug in high school, she is now a cog in a much larger machine.
"It was a relief at first," Trapp said. "It's really fun when you can make a pass and someone will score off it most of the time. It's a lot of fun to see that Angela Aycock and Lisa Tate can score pretty much anytime they want. I don't need to be a leader now. I'm not a leader now. But, by the time I'm a junior or senior, I'd like to be back in that leadership role."
Now that Slatter is back, Trapp might not even have a starting role. Washington, though, downplayed the significance of starting.
"That's not something I get into or discuss with the players," she said. "We work hard to assign a starting lineup so we match up well with our opponent. Whether she continues to start or comes off the bench, Jennifer Trapp is going to contribute."