A year ago, Kendall Noble was an unhappy girl, forcing herself to go to physical therapy and do the work necessary to get back on the court.
"I hated it," she said of the daily grind of rehab. "You're doing the same stuff over and over again for six months. You have to take baby steps; you can't just jump back into it like you want to."
So excuse the former Perry County Central star for jumping for joy on her reconstructed knee that she's a member of the girls' Kentucky All-Stars, who will face Indiana this weekend in the annual basketball series.
"It's been amazing being back, being 100 percent and being a part of the All-Stars," said Noble, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament during the Sweet Sixteen tournament her junior year.
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Players like Noble, a Western Kentucky signee, and Miss Basketball Sydney Moss, a Florida signee, have made this All-Stars team a bit different from most.
"They really don't have any egos," said Kentucky girls' coach Stacy Pendleton of Manual. "They don't care who gets it done as long as 'Kentucky' gets it done."
That unselfishness has made this week of practice and preparation for the two games a lot of fun, Moss said.
"On almost every All-Star team there are ball hogs and people wanting to score this many points," she said. "But we're just playing well as a team."
Pendleton likes this team, which is considered a favorite to possibly sweep Indiana for only the second time since 1991 because of the players' unselfishness.
"I'd rather have a bunch of really good kids who care about the team than a bunch of great ones who only care about themselves," he said.
Noble, who has the distinction of being the only girl in the state to play in six state tournaments, is definitely one of those players who helps set the unselfish tone.
"She's very quiet," Pendleton said. "She really doesn't want to be in the spotlight. She wants to be on the team and have the team do well. That's just the way she is. I love that about her."
Noble, who ended her high school career with 2,987 points, 1,653 rebounds, 1,014 steals and 916 assists, said she's on a team that has a similar personality to her own.
With four players from defending state champion Manual and three others from in or near Louisville, Noble wasn't so sure how she'd fit in being from Eastern Kentucky.
Other than a few jokes about her accent, Noble said it's been fun.
"Everybody's real chill," she said. "Nobody's got the big head or anything."
Another thing Pendleton liked most about Noble was her defensive prowess, but she's not alone. In a Tuesday night scrimmage against the Junior All-Stars at Paul Laurence Dunbar, the seniors held the younger group to just 46 points in 40 minutes of play.
Noble and the players say they'd love to do the same to the Hoosiers.
"We want to play hard and play together," she said when asked about the team's goals this weekend. "We'd like to kick Indiana's butt."