Thank goodness Olivia Tucker '19 has a brother who is four years older than she, and that he likes to play basketball. As siblings often do, Tucker tagged along when her brother had practices, especially since her dad was also the coach.
She would observe the practices and try to replicate the drills by herself on the sidelines and use the other end of the court for practice shots. So, as a 4-year-old, Tucker’s interest in basketball was ignited, the sparks grew into flames, and Tucker’s passion for the game was set on fire.
Flash forward to November 2018, when Tucker signed a National Letter of Intent to continue playing the sport she has loved her entire life at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. They will undoubtedly appreciate Tucker’s academic and athletic talents. As a Sanford Warrior, Tucker has consistently earned recognition for her achievements on the court. She has been named an All-Conference player her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She has twice earned All-State honors (Second Team as a sophomore and Third Team her junior year), been named twice as a Blue-Gold Top 10 player, and surpassed the 1,000-career point mark as a junior. She has been named, several times, as the Most Valuable Player in tournament play. Additionally, Tucker was a member of the All-USA Delaware squad in 2017.
Tucker gives credit to one of her first coaches, Dave Sterling, for setting her on the path to basketball success. She elaborated: “Coach Sterling was my coach from third–sixth grade. He was also a varsity high school coach, so he knew a lot about teaching the sport and developing players. I cannot thank him enough for teaching me to play the right way at an early age. As a result, I did not have a lot of bad habits that my middle and high school coaches had to break.”
Success often requires assistance, and Tucker is quick to give her family a big thank you for their involvement. She has been playing basketball year-round since she was in the third grade, which has required a lot of chauffeuring, schedule juggling, and cheering from the sidelines. In sixth grade, Tucker joined a national touring team, which elevated the commitment required from everyone. She mentioned how appreciative she was to have her family traveling with her and knowing that they would be in the stands cheering for her and her teammates. Tucker sought the advice of her parents as the colleges started offering her scholarships, and they were a factor in her final decision.
St. Bonaventure meets a lot of the criteria that Tucker was looking for in a college: strong academics, small, private, Division 1 sports, and within driving distance to her home. She was thrilled to receive the scholarship offer from the basketball coach, who had seen her play on several occasions. He felt Tucker would be a good fit for their program, and her campus visit solidified that same thought in her mind. Like Sanford, St. Bonaventure represents the core values that are so important to Tucker. As a “Bonnie,” Tucker hopes to pursue a major in either health sciences or psychology.
When not playing basketball, Tucker enjoys outdoor sports such as swimming, biking, rock climbing and running. She lives her life with this mantra, “Never listen to those who tell you why you will not achieve your goals; only listen to those who tell you why you will.”
We hope Olivia Tucker is listening to the supportive Warrior fans who will be cheering her on during her last season at Sanford. We wish her well and know that she will make many new fans at St. Bonaventure when she moves to the next phase of her academic and athletic careers.